Insuring Your Camera? Here’s What You Need To Know

Learn how to protect your investment, including adding coverage for damage and loss.

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade

Picture this: You trek to Antelope Canyon to capture its curvy red rocks with your DSLR camera. After snapping some killer shots, you head to the bar to treat yourself to a Moral Hazard IPA. But when you’re not paying attention, a sticky-fingered thief snags your camera.

If the angst of losing your pictures wasn’t bad enough, you also need to buy yourself a new camera. But here’s some good news: In this hypothetical scenario, your Canon was insured through your renters or homeowners insurance policy.

Turns out that your policy can insure your camera for a wide range of scenarios, from theft to fire—and even accidental damage, with a bit of extra coverage.

Lemonader Andrew Y., living on the edge with his camera.
Lemonader Andrew Y., living on the edge with his camera.

You probably have specific questions about how this all works. What happens if you break your lens? Or if you leave your camera behind on the subway? Are you covered if you make money as a photographer, and use your camera professionally?

Here’s what we’ll be discussing:

Does renters & homeowners insurance cover cameras?

It sure does! Under your base policy your camera is covered for theft, vandalism, fire damage, and other ‘named perils.’

But if you also want to insure it against accidental damage (like cracks in your lens) and mysterious disappearance (as in, you lost your camera and have no idea how), you’ll need a bit of oomph added to our policy. At Lemonade we call it ‘Extra Coverage’ (the industry refers to it as ‘scheduled personal property coverage,’ which is a bit of a mouthful).

What’s Extra Coverage? It’s additional coverage for your particularly valuable items—things like jewelry, bicycles, or art worth over $351. That includes cameras and camera lenses.

The main benefits of adding Extra Coverage for your camera are:

  • Coverage against accidental loss (mysterious disappearance)
  • Coverage against any accidental physical damage
  • Zero deductible

So if your lens smashes or you leave your Canon in a Lyft, your Extra Coverage may cover the cost to get your camera repaired or replaced. Plus, you won’t have to pay a deductible—your insurance company can pay you the full replacement cost.

"I want peace of mind knowing my gear will be covered in case of accidental damage or theft," says Lemonade policyholder Peter G.

“I have quite valuable gear and love taking pictures of wildlife, so I want peace of mind knowing my gear will be covered in case of accidental damage or theft,” says Lemonade policyholder Peter G.

Can I insure my camera gear or equipment?

Any camera gear you own—such as a tripod, remote shutter release, lens, or external flash—is automatically covered under your base home insurance policy against for theft, fire, vandalism, and other specific perils.

Extra Coverage, however, can only be added to your camera body and lens, not any supplementary gear. One small but important point: If you want to add Extra Coverage to a lens, you first must have Extra Coverage applied to the camera body itself.

Josh W. has Extra Coverage for his camera and lenses.

“I carry a camera every day so I can document my life, take pictures of the beautiful city I live in, and take photos of my one-year-old son as he grows up,” says Josh W., who has Extra Coverage for his camera and lenses.

Can I insure my camera and gear as a professional photographer?

If you use your camera professionally, it will be covered, to a certain extent, under your base homeowners or renters insurance policy.

However, cameras that are used professionally, or for business—even once in a blue moon!—are not eligible for Extra Coverage. 

Most home and renters insurance policies can cover your professionally used camera and gear up to a set amount (in insurance speak, this is called a ‘sublimit’). If the damage occurs at home, you’ll be covered up to $2,500; if it happens outside of your home—say, while on a photo assignment for National Geographic in Yosemite—your gear will be covered up to $1,500.

Hmmm, okay. Can you give me an example?

Picture this: You have a Lemonade renters insurance policy with a $250 deductible. You’re live in New York, but you’re off in L.A., shooting an advertising campaign for Munchy Yum-Yum Tacos. Since this is a paid gig, and you’re not at home, the sublimit to keep in mind is $1,500.

While you’re on lunch break, someone sneaks into the photo studio and makes off with your $10,000 camera body. You curse the heavens and your terrible luck (plus the creative execs at Munchy Yum-Yum are not very happy). After filing a police report, you file an insurance claim for the loss.

If your claim is approved, you’d receive up to $1,500 for the camera body.

However, let’s say what had been stolen was a single camera lens, valued at $1,000. In this case you’d receive $750 for the lens—the $250 deductible kicks in before the sublimit.

Someone sneaks into the photo studio and steals your $10,000 camera body. You file a claim. If it’s approved, you’d receive up to $1,500 for the camera body. However, if someone had only stolen a $1,000 lens from the studio, you’d receive only up to $750 for the lens (your deductible kicks in before the sublimit, in this case).

If you need more robust coverage for your professional camera, you may want to look into a business owners policy, which is a commercial policy for small and freelance business owners. That type of policy is better suited for property that’s used for paying gigs.

How much does it cost to insure a camera?

The cost to insure your camera with renters or homeowners insurance depends on a few different factors.

If you aren’t adding Extra Coverage for your cameras or lenses, your photographic gear will be covered under your base insurance policy, under the umbrella of your personal property coverage. When you sign up for your renters or homeowners policy you’re able to set different limits for this coverage.

Basic policies typically start with $10,000 worth of personal property coverage—meaning, if a fire ravaged your apartment, your insurance company could pay you a maximum of $10,000 to replace all of your belongings, from your clothing to your couch, laptop, camera, and so on.

Take a look at all of the stuff you own in your home. All together, is it worth more than $10,000? If so, you’ll want to increase the limit you’ve chosen for personal property coverage. (If you’re not sure what your belongings are worth, here’s a helpful guide to figuring that out.)

Depending on your insurance company, increasing your amount personal property coverage will likely increase your premium.

If you add Extra Coverage by “scheduling” specific cameras or lenses, your cost will also go up. The exact amount will depend on the value of what you’re insuring.

How do I insure my camera?

Protecting your camera with Lemonade renters or homeowners insurance is easy, and can be done right from your phone.

Signing up for a basic insurance policy happens via the Lemonade app. And if you want to add Extra Coverage for camera bodies or lenses, you just have to follow a few additional steps:

  • Tap ‘Activate Extra Coverage.’ (If you already have an existing policy, simply head to the app and tap the ‘Exta Coverage’ button under ‘Add-Ons.’)
  • You’ll receive an email from our lovable chatbot Maya. Open it, and click where it says ‘Add Extra Coverage.’
  • You’ll be asked to answer a few basic questions, as well as providing photos of your camera; a picture of the receipt; and (perhaps) a shot of the camera or lens alongside the receipt.

Don’t have a receipt? No stress. As an alternative, you can provide the camera’s model and serial number, along with a screenshot of an online retailer that shows the current value. This makes it easy for Lemonade to determine the item’s replacement value.

After you’ve submitted everything our team will get in touch via email to let you know the status of your request. You can add Extra Coverage for additional items at any point in the future.

Good to know: If you decide to add Extra Coverage when you first get your policy, Lemonade will automatically grant you temporary Extra Coverage for 14 days. This will give you time to send over the necessary info, and for our team to review it.

How much is my camera worth?

If you’re getting Extra Coverage for your camera, you’ll need to provide its exact value. The easiest way, of course, is to refer to your original sales receipt (this could be in the form of a confirmation email, if you bought your camera online).

Lemonade only accepts receipts that are no more than 5 years old. If you bought your camera before that cut-off, try Googling your camera’s serial and model number to pull up what it’s currently selling for. Like many things, cameras are likely to depreciate over time. What you paid $3,000 for back in 2017 might have a replacement cost of $2,000 in 2021 (and that’s the value you’d be reimbursed for in the event of a covered claim).

Insure your camera in a… snap (sorry, we had to)

“The problem with cameras is that they’re expensive,” says Lemonader James A. “If I was worried about how much they cost all the time, I wouldn’t take them with me—which would completely defeat the purpose!”

With a Lemonade renters or homeowners insurance policy—plus the cushion of Extra Coverage for your camera—you’ll be able to trot the globe, stress-free. Click below to get started.

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Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.