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Old September 27th, 2008, 07:06 PM   #1
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Insurance ignorance - learn from our mistakes

Hi all,

A recent insurance claim has taught us some valuable lessons - I thought I would share them with you. This is only to do with our claim, of course, of course every situation is different.

(1) Firstly, insurance companies are SLOW to respond. In addition to your policy, make sure you have a backup ready to go in case you lose your equipment for some reason. Fortunately for me, a kind friend lent me his second camera which means I didn't lose thousands of dollars of work during the period I was without my camera.

(2) Get ready to run around and make LOTS of phone calls. In my case, the insurance company asked for repair or replace quotes so they could see if it was feasible to repair the gear, or just replace it. After harassing two other repair centers for quotes, the insurance company just went with the first one I sent them.

(3) Read the fine print. We were under the impression we would get a measly $1500 per week to cover us for hire when in fact it was only $1500 per claim. Completely useless for hiring television equipment.

(4) Don't believe they will shop around for better prices on replacement equipment. If you quote comes in under what they have insured you for, they rarely have the time to chase better prices for themselves. We got the best price we could (thinking the insurance company would go elsewhere to get a better deal) and they accepted the quote without question. In hind sight, we could have organised with the seller to go almost full retail and used the cream in the sale to buy peripheral equipment that we need now to the change.

So - do the right thing and be honest, but just realise how it all works and you might be able to use it to your advantage in some way.
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Old September 28th, 2008, 02:53 AM   #2
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I would add to that:

1) Don't assume all insurance companies will work through the exact same procedures - some will ask you send the damaged equipment to them, or to a specific company for evaluation, some will accept a letter from your local camera shop. Some will send the replacement equipment directly to you, others may ask you to buy the equipment then they'll send you the cheque when you send in the receipt.

2) It may be worth asking for cash instead of replacement equipment - again it depends on how the company or policy works. I have a replace-as-new policy. On my last claim I asked if I could put the value towards a better camera. They told me to buy all the replacement gear - including a couple of upgrades - then I had to send a receipt to show what I'd bought, and then they sent a cheque for the value of what I had lost.

3) It's worth taking the time, when your policy is due for renewal, to check the price of every item you have listed. If prices have gone down, you might save yourself some money on the premium, and it will make sure you are adequately covered if something does go wrong.

4) Don't forget to add in anything you buy, when you buy it. If you don't, and it gets broken or stolen before the next premium is due, you've lost it.
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Old September 28th, 2008, 12:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Cleverly View Post
In hind sight, we could have organised with the seller to go almost full retail and used the cream in the sale to buy peripheral equipment that we need now to the change.
Which would be fraud, at least in my neck of the woods...

Insurance (almost?) never really covers everything related to an incident. It is meant to mitigate the impact of an incident not to provide comprehensive compensation.

Making a risk assessment and having contingency plans in place to vanguard your business critical processes is good practice I can advise everyone.

Against equipment failure or loss this could be as simple as charging equipment rates (roughly) equivalent to rental rates, so you have access to alternative equipment without being "in the hole".

The smaller the company the more difficult it is to comprehensively cover all risks, and thus to warrant continuity for production(s). Once you start looking for risks you will find many and a lot won't be coverable by insurance or at least still have a significant impact on your business. Thinking about these in advance will prepare you for events we all hope not to encounter, but that are often just part of reality.

George/
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Old September 28th, 2008, 10:50 PM   #4
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I noticed taht you're not in the US, but while there can be many variables, just a quick example..had a beach wedding a few weeks ago in Delaware (US),...without going into detail, one of my cameras was knocked into the ocean and swept away.....called insurance that evening to make a claim, called as a follow-up the day after, (Monday), had a check for replacement by the weekend. I use Hartford and have always been happy with them.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 08:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by George Kroonder View Post
Which would be fraud, at least in my neck of the woods...
George/
Sorry, forgot to insert the smiley! :-)

And, of course, no one has ever done that sort of thing before, have they? ;-)

And maybe it would have been better, too, if mine had been swept into the ocean......no chance of a repair/replace assessment then, is there?

...do I need to insert another smiley?
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Old September 30th, 2008, 12:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshall Levy View Post
just a quick example..had a beach wedding a few weeks ago in Delaware (US),...without going into detail, one of my cameras was knocked into the ocean and swept away.....called insurance that evening to make a claim, called as a follow-up the day after, (Monday), had a check for replacement by the weekend. I use Hartford and have always been happy with them.
Wow! Not that I doubt you, but you would have to be thinking when you rang them that it sounds a little far fetched. Normally the voice on the other end of the call is always the suspicious type and would be thinking "pull the other one" when you were explaining what happened.

Having that quick a turn around speaks volume for the type of organisation that you are dealing with. You'd be back out ready to go that weekend - great stuff!
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Old September 30th, 2008, 07:40 AM   #7
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It's not the most common scenario by any means, but what basically happened was the wedding was the day after Hurricane Hannah, which totally shifted the sand....30' dunes, a river of sorts between the dune and the main sand area, and then a 5-6 foot cliff from the sand to the ocean. Kids were running around the sand edge, one fell over, and into the ocean, took a huge chunk of sand with it, my camera was there as well, and then when some guests rushed over and in to get the child, the total area of sand that fell in was huge...so that's more descriptive. I have a full post on VU about this - it's a good read! As far as insurance, the agent laughed on the phone, actually! I didn't have any problems, though....they have on file what I do and when I'll do certain things and one just never knows.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 09:58 PM   #8
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I'm glad it worked out for you. Did you lose much in terms of footage being shot from that cam?
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Old October 1st, 2008, 06:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Cleverly View Post
Sorry, forgot to insert the smiley! :-)
I was maybe a bit serious there, but (business) risk is one of those issues that often gets underexposed. It's never 'fun' to think of bad things that can happen to you.

Anyway, another thing is that insurance (terms & policies) can be quite different from one country to the next and between insurers as well. So always read the fine print.

Although insurance is not there to turn a bad thing around, you seem to have come out on top and that IS a good thing! And don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the sharing.

George/
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