Friday, June 25, 2010

Are You (or your gear) Covered?

A few weeks ago, the unthinkable happened.  One of our cameras got dropped to the pavement! My wife had her camera sitting on top of her tripod and, only after attempting to pick up the tripod, discovered that the camera wasn't securely mounted. Gravity took over and the camera and lens fell 5 feet to the garage floor. As you can imagine, both the camera and the lens were damaged in the fall and had to be sent for repairs. We all know accidents happen and the best we can do is learn from the event and hope to be better prepared next time.  So, let me share what we learned so hopefully you don't have to.

  1. Always double, triple check your camera when you place it on your tripod.  If your mount has a lock, lock it. Gently attempt to pick up your camera when mounted and make sure it's secure.  Then make sure its out of the way and won't be accidentally knocked over.  OK, that was the "Homer Simpson DUH" advice (and probably the most important).
  2. Sigma service is awesome!  The lens that was damaged was a longer focal length Sigma which had the mount pulled apart from the rest of the lens barrel.  We were fortunate there was no damage to the glass.  Sigma made the repair and shipped the unit back FREE OF CHARGE.
  3. PROPERLY PACK AND INSURE YOUR PACKAGES.  Another "duh", but it proved important in this case.  Our shipping carrier of choice further damaged the broken Nikon D90 on its way back to the repair center.  Instead of being up the creek without a camera, the check for a replacement unit is on its way.
  4. Look into a separate policy for your camera gear.  I've read about "Inland Marine" policies on other blogs and how important they are in providing you with replacement cost in the event you have a claim.  My carrier was not able to offer me such a policy which left me with the option of listing the gear on my home owner's.  My agent actually talked me out of this option.  The reason, one or two claims against the camera gear and my entire home policy runs the risk of being canceled.  Instead, I checked around with other carriers and found what's called a "Personal Article" policy.  It's really the same type of policy as an Inland Marine in that each item is individually insured at a minimal rate per $100 of protection and pays replacement cost against any claim without a deductible.  Consider adding your electronics - laptops, stereo equipment, etc - as a cost effective means of additional protection.
Hopefully sharing this experience prevents you from having to go through it yourself or puts you in a better position to deal with it if you do.


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