Camera equipment buying woes

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by alexander_c|1, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone. Me again.
    So the time has come. Next week I am heading to B&H to make a "major" purchase (major to me, not to some lol). Without going into too much detail when I round up the numbers of the purchase I am overbudget by $500 bucks. In an effort to keep cost down I pose this question...do I really have to get insurance for everything?
    Another member of this site asked a question similar to mine and the responses went mostly like this: well...if you are clumsy and drop stuff then get it. If you are not clumsy and take extra care of your gear then not necessary. I certainly fit into the NOT CLUMSY category. I have had my 40D, 3 lenses and 580EX II for a little over a year and not once have I dropped or put my gear into a situation where it might get damaged. Matter of fact...when I have been to parties and bring my gear since I drink when I notice I am a little tipsy I put my gear away. Don't like to touch it in fear of dropping it or something.
    Here is what I am getting:
    Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital Camera Kit with Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens
    Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Autofocus Lens
    Canon Normal EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Autofocus Lens
    Canon 580EX II Speedlite TTL Shoe Mount Flash
    I'm getting other accesories which I did not list because insurance is not offered. 3 year insurance for the kit is $343. For each lens it's $179 and for the flash it's 71. Now, do you agree with me? Should I opt for the insurance only on the kit and not get it for the rest of the gear? This is so mind boggling to me because I ALWAYS PREACH insure everything you buy. I do it with my friends and family all the time. Please share your thoughts.
     
  2. I NEVER buy insurance on ANYTHING.... except cars and house.. and health... but when it comes to appliances, cameras... computers... ... never. Knock on wood.. I've never needed it or wished I had it.
     
  3. Check with the agent who handles your homeowners/renters insurance. She might offer a better deal.
     
  4. I put all of my gear on my homeowners policy, from what I have heard its a better option.
     
  5. One hates to think you'd personally be the statistical exception, Alexander... but just keep in mind that there's only one reason that there is such insurance for sale in thre first place: the people selling it find it to be highly profitable to do so. The insurance provider makes lots of money, the store gets a nice piece of it, and the sales person usually makes more commission on the insurance than they do on the hardware itself.

    I'm not drawing a hard line and saying it's not worth it for anyone, but it's quite clear that the policies are priced in a way that hugely favors the seller (which is there prerogative, of course). Me? I'd take the same cash, put it aside, and keep putting $20 more on top of it every week instead of buying two fattening lunches. Before you know it, you'll have the cash it would cost to repair/replace something you drop, or have enough to add a whole new lens to the rig later, if your not-dropping-things luck holds out.
     
  6. You all have valid points. It's scary for some buying all this gear and spending so much money and not being "covered" for the what ifs.
    Matt - to your point you are so right. They will make a hefty commision on me if I insure all this gear. I asked one of the reps if I would get any sort of break when spending this amount of money and the answer was "not really" so I thought...hummm is it really worth buyin up all this insurance.
    Bob - I called my homeowners insurance agent and asked her about this. She told me that theft of ANY item in my home is included so if this ever happend I am covered (knock on wood that it won't). But, she wasn't sure about accidental damage. She said she will call me back by the end of the day with an answer.
     
  7. I purchased an Inland Marine Policy through Nationwide. It is a seperate policy with no deductables and with replacement amounts. This type policy only cost about $1.00 per hundred of value/ $10 per thousand.
    Ten thousand dollars worth of equipment at replacement value only cost me $104.00 a year.
    This is a non-pro / hobby cost. It is more if you claim to be a professional.
    Last April, a friend of mine dropped his brand new 5d mk ii into four feet of water. With the flash and grip he was looking at $3,000.00 dollars down the drink. BUT, he had insurance.
    He had never dropped any before either.
    Best Wishes
     
  8. I bought the insurance from B&H on my 500mm. A year later, I took out a "personal item" policy through Travelers on all my equipment - $0 deductible covered everything and anything that could happen to it - literally - and the insurance from Travelers was one third of the cost of the B&H one. So more coverage on ALL gear was the same cost for three years vs. cost of the one lens insured through B&H. I have never used mine, but it feels good to know I have it. It was also way cheaper than the rate through the different photographic societies which offer it too. They price it for like $7.00 for each $100 or something like that. I shopped it around and the personal item policy was by far the best deal.
     
  9. If I can get this into my homeowner's or any other policy my insurance agent finds me looks like I'll be saving $750 instead of $500 on this purchase alone. Only if they can give me a break on the taxes. Maybe that's asking for too much :)
    I am so glad I posted on here before spending all that money on the store insurance. I will report back to you all on my progress.
     
  10. If you're getting all that $500 should be chump change. I think you just wanted an excuse to show off to everyone what you're buying.
     
  11. Insurance is an outdated concept. It's really designed to prey on people's fears that any "loss" would be catastrophic, and that insurance can replace your losses for "free". This is ridiculous, since your premiums will pay to cover your own losses and then some. Insurance companies are set up like casinos and stock markets. The house always wins. In the stock market your broker gets a commission and the CEOs get their bonuses whether you win money or lose it. No matter whether you have an accident with your particular cameras or not, statistically the insurance company will come out ahead of the photographers. For every photographer that has his gear replaced by the insurance, there are 10 others that never have a reason to file a claim at all.
    My insurance policy would be to take all the money you would otherwise spend on premiums (in the neighborhood of $800 by the sound of it) and spend it on scratch lotto tickets. I believe your chances of having a payoff will be much higher.
     
  12. Hal: There's nothing outdated about the concept of insurance. What's happened is that people have started to think of insurance as a form of financing for their regular expenses. This is why the health care debate is so nonsensical.

    For a lot of photographers, having a $3,000 body and a $5,000 lens stolen or destroyed would be catastrophic. It's also not a common occurance. And that's exactly what insurance should be for. Not for replacing a $100 worn-out camera bag that you got wet and now can't use because you're worried about getting fungus in your lenses.

    ... statistically the insurance company will come out ahead of the photographers. For every photographer that has his gear replaced by the insurance, there are 10 others that never have a reason to file a claim at all.

    You make that sound like a bad thing. Why would you want to do business with an insurance company that's on shaky grounds, financially? I want my insurance company to make money, and I want the people that run it to be successful. Why? Because I want them to have the deep pockets to cover lots of losses when something bad happens. I want their agents to make enough money that they're not barely getting by and thus being unscrupulous in how they handle their business.

    If everyone could just be honest about the math on all sides of such transactions, and not resent the fact that service providers provide those services to make money, then everything would be a lot easier. A photographer shouldn't have to apologize to a bride for charging what they charge to shoot a wedding, since part of that fee goes to make sure there are backup cameras, flashes, assistants, transportation and all the rest. And insurance in case of disaster.
     
  13. Alexander,
    Order it all from a big supplier out of State and save the sales tax, on all that gear it adds up. Or order from B&H and ship to somebody you know out of State, then get them to ship it back.
    I just got a new $3,000 laptop, I was in Florida and if I got it from the local store I had to pay tax, I ordered it from B&H and it came with free shipping and no tax, saved hundreds.
    Re the insurance, get it on a credit card, that often has insurance included to an extent, and find out about adding to your home insurance (unless you do pro work, if you do then you need to have separate insurance that includes liability cover).
     
  14. ...there's only one reason that there is such insurance for sale in thre first place: the people selling it find it to be highly profitable to do so.​
    To one degree or another can't the same be said about any item a retailer sells? Comparing homeowner's insurance to the extended coverage from a company like Sagemax may not be comparing apples to apples. You need to know if your homeowner's coverage includes accidents, water damage and the like or just theft.
    You may also want to check your credit card -- some cards add additional coverage to one degree or another. Like any product we sell, insurance isn't for everyone and we don't recommend it to everyone, but for those who want/need it, it is available.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  15. Henry: remember, I didn't say that like it was bad thing. Just pointing out that it's a service, just like any other, being sold by a retailer. It has value for some people, and less so for others. Just depends on the whole picture (which, as you've just pointed out, includes lots of other possible variables).
     
  16. Hi Henry. Yes, I agree with you. Although it will be nice for me to save this chunk of change I need to make sure I have some kind of protection. I have been planning/saving for a very long time to make this purchase and I want to make sure I do the right thing. If I can't add replacement or damage protection through my homeowner's I will definately consider adding insurance AT LEAST on the kit. As I stated before I am $500 overbudget by adding insurance on all items.
    Thanks again to you all for commenting on this thread.
     
  17. All B&H prices

    Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital Camera Kit with Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens
    $3,499.95
    Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Autofocus Lens
    $1,679.95
    Canon Normal EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Autofocus Lens
    $1,599.00
    Canon 580EX II Speedlite TTL Shoe Mount Flash
    $420.00
    Total $7,198.90
    Sales tax at 8.375% = $661.63
    I just saved you all you needed and more.
     
  18. I have my equipment insured with State Farm about 20,000 for $273, hope I never need it, kinda like car insurance
     
  19. If you travel a lot with your gear I would buy the insurance, just in case of your stuff gets broken, lost or stolen.
     
  20. les

    les

    Not exactly on the subject - but close (insurance). I do not pay insurance on my photo gear (and it is worth a pretty penny by now). Statistically it is unlikely that I would ever need one - and if that happens...well, bad luck.
    I paid, however, salary insurance for the last 10 years - just in case. My salary was good, the insurance was only about $120/month, so I figured - why not ?
    Last February I got stricken by a nasty variety of pancreatitis (if there are any doctors reading it - the worst variety of it). I still haven't returned to work yet - almost 10 months now. The insurance pays 80% of my previous income, which is a lifesaver.
    So - no, I would not spend money to insure my hobby gear. But - yes, I would insure something which is really important.
     
  21. Leszek...even if your hobby gear is thousands of dollars?
    I didn't hear back from my agent. Will give her a call tomorrow.
     
  22. My insurance company (American National) will insure my gear for $10/per $1000.00 of coverage per year. So, to cover $5000 of gear it cost me $50.00 a year. They do cover the gear at replacement cost and it covers it no matter what happens. Even if I run over it with my own car.
    Of course, I also have three car, one home, and one life policy with them.
    I never buy insurance from the store. They only sell it because they make money on it, cause they know you will most likely never need it, of will not take advantage of it. Or like one I had, they made it so hard to have it honored, I gave up and "ate" the loss.
    Jason
     
  23. I know this in no way is the situation everyone or even most are in but I insure my gear against only the issues I put my gear in which i have no immediate control. I'm a diver and I have flood insurance on my camera for Dive related accidents, because diving I don't have 100% control over my camera at all times, whether it is handing my camera to someone so I can get on board, or the rocking boat knocking it onto the deck or a mechanical piece failing and the camera flooding while on a dive. Things I CANT control. If I screw up and drop it its my own dumb fault and I shoulda held on better or used the strap. I agree with one of the early responses, put the cash you'd spend on the insurance + a little bit each week away and buy a new lens in 6 months (or replace something that you dropped if that comes to be the need), but here is the real question, you take insurance out on everything... What are the chances u'll even use HALF that insurance in the life of the item? Put the money on the side and if you would have needed the insurance on ONE of the items u'll have it put away already, and you would have spent the same or maybe even less then u would have otherwise.
     
  24. Hi Alexander,
    I have "All Hazards" insurance on my photo equipment from the same company that writes my renter's insurance. It cost me approximately 1% of the retail value of the equipment per year. It not only covers me for theft and fire as my renter's insurance would, but also most forms of breakage. The only exceptions that I remember are vermin, war, and a "nuclear incident". There is no deductible, but you must declare a maximum value when you purchase the property. The value of the property is determined at time of loss e.g you buy a D300 today and declare the value as $1700 - the retail price price today. Two years from now the camera is run over by a car and unrepairable; the price of the DX00, the new Nikon replacement, has fallen to $1500. The company would pay you the $1500 for the replacement. There is no depreciation, it is just the price of a brand new camera has fallen. On the other hand, if the price goes up, you must declare a new value before any loss otherwise the maximum the company would pay is the declared value of $1700. I review my policy once a year.
    For extended warranty, check with your credit card company. Many cards double the manufacturer's warranty, up to a total of two years, at no charge. All my cards do. Yes, both MasterCard and Visa do pay off. There is a bit of paperwork.
    Some companies call the insurance "All Hazards", others call it "Inland Marine", others "Personal Article Floater"; my insurer now calls it "Valuable Personal Property".
     
  25. Hi Alexander,
    I have "All Hazards" insurance on my photo equipment from the same company that writes my renter's insurance. It cost me approximately 1% of the retail value of the equipment per year. It not only covers me for theft and fire as my renter's insurance would, but also most forms of breakage. The only exceptions that I remember are vermin, war, and a "nuclear incident". There is no deductible, but you must declare a maximum value when you purchase the property. The value of the property is determined at time of loss e.g you buy a D300 today and declare the value as $1700 - the retail price price today. Two years from now the camera is run over by a car and unrepairable; the price of the DX00, the new Nikon replacement, has fallen to $1500. The company would pay you the $1500 for the replacement. There is no depreciation, it is just the price of a brand new camera has fallen. On the other hand, if the price goes up, you must declare a new value before any loss otherwise the maximum the company would pay is the declared value of $1700. I review my policy once a year.
    For extended warranty, check with your credit card company. Many cards double the manufacturer's warranty, up to a total of two years, at no charge. All my cards do. Yes, both MasterCard and Visa do pay off. There is a bit of paperwork.
    Some companies call the insurance "All Hazards", others call it "Inland Marine", others "Personal Article Floater"; my insurer now calls it "Valuable Personal Property".
     
  26. The general rule of insurance is insure for low probability high impact events. ie house burning down, burglary of home contents, health insurance for major illness, car insurance where you risk causing expnsive damage to yourself or others for which you will be liable.
    For possible small losses (and small has to be judged relative you your yearly income or wealth) it is better to self insure, ie just wear any possible loss.
     
  27. I recognise that both terminology and practice are likely to differ as between the UK and the US, but in UK terms what you are considering buying sounds like "extended warranty" rather than "insurance". Typically, the manufacturer's warranty runs for a year and covers repair/replacement if the equipment proves to be defective during that period. An extended warranty provides similar cover for a further period, typically two further years. Neither a manufacturer's warranty nor an extended warranty covers loss or damage through accidental causes or theft.
    Extended warranties are a VERY BAD DEAL in most circumstances, for several reasons. The first is that they are grossly overpriced in actuarial terms, and the reason why retailers are so keen to sell them is that they share a very large profit with the company actually providing the extended warranty. The second is that many purchasers of extended warranties who found that they did actually need to try to invoke them, then discovered that the "small print" turned out to contain so many get-out clauses, and the companies were so obstructive, that they did not get the service they thought they were paying for.
    I would never consider buying an extended warranty on anything, and certainly not on photographic equipment, and I advise you to do the same.
    Although extended warranty is technically a type of insurance, what is usually understood by insurance is a very different matter. Commonly, it is a renewable annual contract (and is very unlikely to run for more than a year at a time), and covers you for loss or damage under defined circumstances (for example, theft from an unlocked motor vehicle, and war/civil disturbance/terrorism risks are almost always excluded, and premiums for professional use are typically much higher than for amateur use). It does NOT cover wear and tear or manufacturing defects, and so is complementary to any kind of warranty or guarantee. If you feel you need insurance, then you need it from when you walk out of the shop with your new purchases. There are a number of different bases for insurance, including actual or agreed value or like-for-like replacement, and it is important to make sure that you understand exactly what type of cover you are buying when you compare premium rates.
    Whether or not you need insurance is a matter for you, and involves striking a balance between the cost of premiums and the likelihood and impact of loss. For most amateur photographers high-end camera kit is a major "capital" purchase, and not something you would want to have to replace in an unplanned way, so insurance is worthwhile. If you have house insurance then it can be cost-effective to include your equipment on that, making sure that you are covered for use of the equipment outside the home and that you are not under-insured either in total or through a value limit on any one item.
    I hope this helps you to disentangle what seems to be some confusion in your own post and a number of other posts on this thread, although some posters are clearly well aware of the difference.
     
  28. All very good advice. Again...thank you all. I will let you know the outcome of this.
     
  29. I agree with most in the group, don't buy the insurance, pay yourself the premiums and 'insure yourself'.
    Also, I find it unusual that you will pay big bucks for the 50 1.2 but you accept a slower, variable aperture lens for the long side. Remember that fast glass is particularly useful for longer lenses, since shutter speed needs to be proportionately higher to overcome camera shake for longer lenses. Therefore I suggest you drop the 50 down to the 1.4, and save a grand. Then consider swapping your long zoom for the 70-200 2.8 (preferably) or 4. If cash is short then go for the non IS.
     
  30. Hi Dave.
    Good observation. I already own the 70-200 4L (non IS) which I will use mostly with my 40D. I don't do that much outdoor photography, mostly indoor in low light therefore I feel it a need to spend some dough on that 50 1.2 I am getting the 100-400 to add an additional 200mm to my zoom range.
    I'm still waiting on my insurance agent's call. Will give her a few and will follow up with her.
     
  31. "Bob - I called my homeowners insurance agent and asked her about this. She told me that theft of ANY item in my home is included so if this ever happend I am covered (knock on wood that it won't). But, she wasn't sure about accidental damage. She said she will call me back by the end of the day with an answer.
    Get it in writing from the agent. There may be limits on camera equipment for theft. Accidental damage is not covered by the HO policy. Contents...like cameras..are covered for damage by named perils. Accidents are not one of the perils.
    It sounds like you are looking at the Mack Diamond warranty...I would pass on that...read the 'fine print'. There is a lot of 'coverage' that is at 'their discretion'.
    You are spending a good bit of $$$ and DSLR's are theft targets. *I* would just be sure the gear is covered for theft away from your residence.
     
  32. Just heard back from the agent. Accidental damage isn't covered, only theft. So if someone breaks into my house and steals my camera gear my homeowner's insurance will replace it full cost providing that I can submit the receipts of purchase.
    Now I will have to make the decision on whether or not to buy the "extra" protection. As I stated in my first post...I am not clumsy and take extra extra extra care of my gear. I'm leaning towards insuring the kit but not the two lenses and the flash. But, I am uncertain. I'll report back after I've made my decision/purchase.
     
  33. H. Posner wrote: You may also want to check your credit card -- some cards add additional coverage to one degree or another.
    Yes indeed. Have a look at the fine print. You may be covered for a few weeks or so. You may be in a better position to make a rational decision about insurance after the initial sticker-price shock is over.
    Getting a rider on home insurance will save you $$ you pay on your premium. However be aware that, if you drop your gear in your drink and make a claim, your insurance rates will go up and you'll be paying them back. Unlike a separate insurance policy, you can't discontinue coverage after you receive your claim - you'll still want your house and contents insured, right? So, no matter how you look at it, the house always wins.
     
  34. The only thing I really worried about happening to my gear was theft,so I made a hiding spot in my home and stash it there!however usually my equipment is always with me!Do what makes you feel comfortable & get on to the joy of the photography!
     
  35. Pretty monstrous investment after only a year with the 40D. What exactly is it preventing you from doing right now? If you're snapping shots at parties, I'd definitely recommend getting some kind of insurance, you never know what might happen.
     
  36. Hi Dave.
    Perfectly happy with my 40D. Works just fine. I used a friend's 5D Mark II and fell in love with it. The higher ISO range, full frame etc.
     
  37. I think in these kinds of 'social' environments it will definitely be better to get the extra protection. Even though you are very very careful with your gear, there's a lot of people out there who are clumsy, could fall into you, who knows. If you're already dropping this much cash, it might be worth it simply for the peace of mind.
     
  38. I hear you. That is why I am leaning towards getting the insurance on the kit ONLY.
     

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