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Digital cameras and travel insurance

Insurance might not be the first thing you think of when planning your photographic holiday but it's certainly not something to overlook. Here are some tips from Photoguard - one of the UK's top digital camera insurance providers, on what to look for, what to do and more importantly, what not to do.

Firstly it's important to recognise that a typical home contents policy often won't adequately cover digital cameras particularly digital SLRs - often there is a limit to the value that is covered particularly for cameras that are taken out of the home or overseas. High excesses and limitations such as not covering accidental damage, can often lead photographers having to pay out large sums of money for replacement gear.

It's a sad fact of life now that photographic equipment, particularly digital cameras, are now targeted for theft - they are easy to steal and can be disposed of or sold on very easily, with high resale values. Auction sites have now made it very simple to dispose of stolen goods, and as a result criminal gangs often target digital equipment.

Damage limitation

When you're abroad, ensure that you keep your gadget bag with you. Bags are frequently stolen whilst a photographer was setting up a shot and momentarily turned their back on their gadget bag.

With a little knowledge about what can happen, many photographers can reduce the risk of losing some or all of their equipment:

  • Do not have your camera on view, or carry it around your neck, when not in use
  • Ensure that, when the equipment is in transit, it is in a rigid body case to minimise damage. Alternatively take it on the plane as hand luggage where possible
  • Try to use the hotel safe to secure your camera when not in use
  • Try to stay alert when you have your equipment with you on a long journey, attach the strap or tie it to your person if you are going to be asleep for any part of the journey
  • When photographing at difficult angles put the strap over your wrist to avoid dropping the camera
  • Do not take valuable items white water rafting, bungee jumping or on a bamboo raft, where the chances of a loss occurring are hugely enhanced

Are there limits imposed by insurance companies on where you can take your digital camera?

That depends on the insurance policy. Some insurers will exclude high risk areas, Photoguard doesn't. If you choose cover for 'anywhere in the world', we mean it… if you're on this planet, you're covered! Other insurers will also cap the amount of time you're allowed out of the country, again we don't - this option provides cover for 365 days.

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