Israel Photography Tour – Travel, medical and photographic equipment insurance for travel photographers
Israel Photography Tour blog post on travel, medical and photographic equipment insurance for travel photographers. Since the recent increase in confidence for international travel during the Coronavirus pandemic, many clients have asked for our recommendations for travel insurance, and in particular, queries relating to how the Covid-19 virus may affect their trip. While we have listed important information below on points to bear in mind when shopping for travel insurance, there is no one-stop-suits-all option as there are so many factors to consider when deciding on which policy to take and which company to use. Personally [and I think that I am not alone here], I have zero patience in reading through all the fineprint of an insurance policy [probably designed by insurance companies for this reason]. Instead, a good idea is to make a list of all your concerns regarding what is covered, make a phone call to the insurance company while noting the person’s name on the end of the line and record the conversation. This way, you can save yourself hours of reading with a magnifying glass, while having a record of the conversation should you need to make a claim.
This may well be the most boring subject I have ever written about in a blog post, however I cannot stress enough how important it is to take out insurance for a well-earned trip. This is even more relevant today, with the Coronavirus pandemic adding to any other concerns. Hopefully, you will never have the need to use travel insurance, but I will say that apart from being covered for almost any eventuality, travel insurance will offer you one of the best ways of enjoying your trip – peace of mind.
For photographers, we have the added worry of taking care of our camera equipment when travelling – especially when the trip is designed around photography. That is why I always recommend bringing a second camera body and a few lenses on a trip if at all possible. You never know when your camera gear may get damaged from being dropped or simply decide to malfunction when you are about to get your shot of the decade. In that respect, a lot will depend on if you already own a second camera body, and where you plan to visit on your trip. As an example, taking just one camera body to NYC is far less problematic than taking just one body to Australia’s outback. In New York City, you can just pop in to my idea of camera heaven at the B&H store, buy a brand new camera [or rent one], then carry on shooting! With this in mind, I will delve into my thoughts on insuring your camera equipment towards the end of this post.
When deciding on the type of policy that will suit your needs, you will first need to understand the differences between Travel insurance & Medical Travel Insurance. The aim of this post is to help you get as much relevant cover as possible, without paying for additional cover on a policy that you think will not be relevant to your individual needs.
Travel insurance will generally cover the financial investment of an international or domestic trip. If you have lost or stolen luggage or personal belongings, are forced to cancel a trip, miss a flight connection or are otherwise unable to continue with your plans, trip insurance can reimburse you for a percentage of prepaid trip costs up to the limits of your policy. Travel insurance should also cover you for emergency medical treatment in order to get you home to continue further treatment. Ideally suited for trips of up to 30 days duration, though cover for longer durations are usually offered. Personal liability is also covered. It may also cover car rental insurance, saving you extra expense on taking out cover when renting a vehicle. Non-emergency visits to a doctor for example, will typically not be covered on a regular travel insurance policy. It is important to check what is covered according to what you plan to do during your trip. For example, you should check what the insurance company considers adventure activities, as even something like snorkelling may fall under that category. You should also check if Emergency repatriation is included, and if needed, that they return you to your home country or simply somewhere nearby considered safe. It is also worth considering including a “Cancel for any reason” policy in case of anything that may arise before your trip for total trip cancellation cover. This may be especially relevant for travellers worried about issues related to changes occurring at your destination due to the Coronavirus. Regarding cover for theft, this is especially relevant for photographers as they often travel with very expensive camera equipment. You need to check the terms regarding what is covered and for how much value. Equally important are knowing the exclusions, such as leaving your photo equipment in a taxi. In general travel insurance policies offer a set limit in value for claims, and they are way below the value of what a photographer may bring on a trip. For this reason, I have noted a separate paragraph at the end of this post. In a nutshell, travel insurance is especially important for individuals or groups that have spent large sums of money on a variety of pre-paid, non-refundable, trip costs.
Travel medical insurance:
Where the possibility of long-term medical treatments or a more comprehensive cover may be needed, Travel medical insurance is your best option. Policies can often include cover for acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions. It is important to confirm wether or not known pre-existing conditions that are not stable will be covered. In some cases, it is better not to visit a physician before your trip, as if you suddenly develop an illness while abroad that existed previously without your knowledge, you will be covered as you were officially unaware of it beforehand. Travel medical insurance policies can offer cover from a few days to a year, or even years. This type of insurance is for international trips only. When purchasing Travel medical insurance, you should only include cover for potential treatments needed in order to keep the rate as low as possible. Regardless of choosing between travel insurance and travel medical insurance, you should find out the conditions of what is covered for coronavirus related illnesses. This should also include coverage of return flight changes, extra days spent at a hotel for quarantine, and any cancellations that may subsequently arise. In order to lure back tourists since the start of the Coronavirus, some countries such as Spain & Portugal are even offering free insurance for incoming tourists.
Camera equipment insurance:
When considering insuring your camera equipment for trips abroad, the first aspect to mention is if you are a commercial photographer, or if photography is simply your hobby. If it is the latter, the first thing worth checking is what your home insurance will cover. Your home insurance may cover items that can be transported from the home, and ideally offer coverage for individual photographic equipment, laptops, cellphones etc with a high enough value to cover goods for theft or damage. In this regard, you should ensure that your insurance policy includes each individual item, instead of a total value before leaving for your trip. There may only be a maximum value for individual items that are way below the value of your camera, lens, tripod or other component. If your household insurance won’t suffice, a glance on Google brings up a multitude of options from insurance companies that tailor specifically to photographers. Bespoke policies are useful for the equipment you own, where you plan to travel, travel duration and for commercial/hobbyist photographers.
Before simply booking an insurance policy online, it is worth finding out what may be covered when purchasing an optional insurance policy through your travel agency at the time of booking your flights. This may well be all you think that is necessary according to your needs. Likewise, it may be worth checking your credit card company conditions on free travel insurance when you use their card to book flights. I have heard that some travellers specifically acquired the Chase Saphire Reserve Card for this purpose, as it was supposed to offer the best coverage for travel insurance. It may be worth asking your credit card company what is and what is not covered. They may be able to offer you increased coverage at competitive rates. In any case, it is wise to check that whatever policy you decide to take through a broker, that the policy is administered by a well-established and reputable insurance company. Tokio Marine & Lloyds of London for example are 2 companies that spring to mind. Finally, it is worth finding out which insurance companies offer a credit-card type of payment in case of any need to pay out for expenses. Here in Israel, many travellers use Passportcard. While designed for Israeli travellers visiting abroad, I personally use this company as it covers my needs for multi-trip coverage annually, and the card they give allows the user to pay for expenses directly through their card, rather than paying out from your own pocket and waiting months for claims to be reimbursed.