Insurance: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Taking Risk 

 November 5, 2015

By  Pascal Depuhl


You can shift some of the risk by paying someone else to assume some of it. Liability Insurance, Indemnification Insurance, Equipment Insurance, Travel Insurance … just make sure you read the fine print and talk with your insurance agent.

Sometimes insurance is not a policy you buy. It’s an immunization or a local person you trust, that can guide you through a culture you are unfamiliar with. You don’t want to say no to a client, because you couldn’t afford the risk.

Travel Insurance

Yesterday we talked about redundancy, but what about the things that are out of your control? Take for example travel: you can plan as much as you want, but if a delay causes you to miss a connecting flight, what do you do? What about if you get seriously hurt? Would you want to know that you’re medevac is covered? Delayed luggage, trip interruption, sickness, the list goes on and on.

It's warm in the Hangar - travel insurance warms my heart Case in point: Travel Insurance is a wonderful thing to have, I got stranded in a blizzard in Afghanistan for 3 days and its great feeling to know that the costs of rebooking flights, extra expenses in country ect. are covered. I don’t travel internationally without buying travel insurance. 

Tech Tip: don’t buy the travel insurance add-on when you book your travel. Go directly to the insurance company’s website and buy your coverage (you’ll spend about the same for much better coverage). I’ve used AIG for my travels and been thrilled with the service I’ve received from them. Here are the things I want covered in my travel insurance policy:

  • 100% Trip Cost Trip Cancellation & 150% Trip Cost Trip Interruption
  • $500 Missed Connection
  • $2,500 Baggage & Personal Effects
  • $1,000,000 Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains
  • Car Rental Collision Coverage

Read the fine print to see what you get – sometimes equipment is only covered to a certain limit, or coverage is broken down to a certain amount for a certain number of days, but it’s nice to know that someone else is covering you.

Equipment Insurance

There are a lot of options to insure your equipment. Many photo organizations like ASMP, APA and PPA offer deals with insurance companies that specialize in insuring photographers. PPA stands out among them, since they include $15,000.- of equipment insurance as part of their yearly membership. (Read the fine print again, it’s not replacement value – but current market value, but het it’s $15K more insurance than some of the other trade organizations offer.) You can buy more riders to cover your equipment at replacement value and what I’ve found is that my yearly membership fee with PPA plus the insurance riders I’ve purchased with them, cost me less than the insurance I was buying through ASMP.

Get to know your insurance agent – they want to help you and make sure you have the correct coverage. They can add short-term riders for special equipment you need to rent, for events and workshops you’re producing, ect.

PPA also offers an indemnification trust that protects you when things go wrong. Just one more way to help spread risk.

Liability Insurance

Liability Insurance is a requirement to book locations and rent equipment as a professional photographer. All Insurance companies I’ve bought insurance through have offered this type of insurance rider.

Insurance spreads the risk to a company that can help you compensate financially when things go wrong. You don’t want to have to use your insurance, but it’s really nice to have when you need it.


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Pascal Depuhl

Miami product photographer, video producer, cinematographer and chief mindchanger at Photography by Depuhl I love to share the knowledge I've gained over the past two decades. Catching light in motion.