Helpful Insurance Tips

Understanding the Insurance Risks of Renting Out Your Camera Gear and How to Protect It

By: Lauren Castillo, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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In a world where peer-to-peer production equipment rentals are becoming more common, we want to provide camera equipment owners with the most robust coverages available. 

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Everything You Need to Know About Voluntary Parting or False Pretense Coverage when Renting Out Your Camera Gear  

In a world where peer-to-peer production equipment rentals are becoming more common, we want to provide camera equipment owners with the most robust coverages available. 

Overall, an amazing online community (like ShareGrid) has formed, where you can easily find and rent any piece of equipment you may need for production or photo-shoot just by doing a quick online search.

Additionally, camera equipment owners are benefitting from making some extra money by renting out their gear when it’s not being utilized. While most of the community is made up of genuine creatives, renting your camera gear out to someone you don’t know comes with risks. The biggest one is voluntarily parting with or renting your gear to fraudulent renters.

 

What is Voluntary Parting vs. Theft?

A common misunderstanding is that people think voluntary parting is the same as theft, but they are actually defined differently. Theft is defined as equipment being stolen directly from the renter against their will. An example of this is when a thief smashes the window of your car and steals the camera equipment that you left in the back seat. 

By contrast, Voluntary Parting occurs when an owner willingly gives his or her equipment to someone (the renter), and the renter never returns with your gear. The biggest misconception is that the renter’s insurance policy will pay if the renter themselves steals the gear. 

However, voluntary parting is considered a crime the renter commits, and the renter’s insurance policy is never going to cover them for fraudulent activity. In other words, an insurance policy is not meant to cover the policyholder against criminal activity. 

So when you rent out your camera gear to people you don’t know, it’s important to be aware of this possible exposure and you’d want to check with your insurance company to make sure that your insurance covers fraudulent renters on your equipment rental insurance policy

Athos Insurance has you covered when you rent your camera equipment out.

Photo by  Ricardo Resende on  Unsplash

 

The Good News About Voluntary Parting or False Pretense Coverage

At Athos, we offer an optional additional coverage called Voluntary Parting or False Pretense coverage to individual equipment owners, which is a great add-on because this is typically a coverage that’s only available to rental house businesses. 

Voluntary Parting or False Pretense coverage offers protection against fraudulent renters, and it is a coverage we highly recommend to anyone renting out their gear, especially in peer-to-peer online platforms.  On our annual equipment policies, equipment owners have the option of adding up to $100,000 of voluntary parting or false pretense coverage.  

While a sound insurance policy will help save the day, throwing all your responsibilities out the window is not encouraged.  All clients who walk through your door should be vetted and reference checked.  The Athos policies also require that a valid rental contract is in place for valid coverage.

There are plenty more stories about the great experiences people are having when they can seamlessly rent out their gear and make some extra money on the side. The bad stories are the ones that always stand out and discourage equipment owners from participating in the peer-to-peer gear rental space. And while we’d love for every rental to go smoothly, we know that even with all the measures put into place to keep these fraudulent renters out of the community, they are still a very real threat. 

It’s so important to understand what your risks are when renting out your gear, and how to protect yourself. Athos has your back and we want to help! Rented equipment owners who are renting out their gear to strangers should always feel secure in their own insurance coverage, just in case, a renter’s policy doesn’t pay out or if the renter is fraudulent. To learn more about this special coverage, you can contact our customer service support team. 

How to Protect Your Camera Gear from Theft While in the Car

By: Lauren Castillo, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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Time and time again we hear from clients who left their gear in their car and come back to find that it’s all been stolen.

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Time and time again we hear from clients who left their gear in their car and come back to find that it’s all been stolen. This is one of the most common types of thefts, and it can happen very fast! Whether you’re running into a restaurant to get a bite to eat after a long day of filming, or if the gear is being stored in a vehicle while on location, you should always have your guard up and keep your gear safe. 

Unfortunately, criminals have been known to target this industry. Fortunately, Athos’s equipment insurance can help with this.

Here are our recommendations on how to protect your camera equipment from getting stolen out of a car:

  1. Unload your equipment and take it inside whenever possible

  2. If you have to unload in multiple trips, have someone you trust to stay with the gear while you unload your gear

  3. If you must leave equipment in a car, never leave equipment visibly in a car - Put it in the trunk

  4. Designate a watchman for any gear that will be left in a production vehicle for an extended time

  5. Park in a well-lit secure and guarded (24/7) location

 

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Since this type of theft is so common in the entertainment industry, some insurance policies have an exclusion for theft from an unattended or unlocked vehicle. When shopping for insurance always talk to your broker or camera equipment insurance company to see if your policy covers theft from an unattended/unlocked vehicle. Oftentimes filmmakers end up learning about this exclusion the hard way, after equipment has been stolen out of a vehicle, and find it’s not covered on their policy.

The exclusion of theft from an unattended or unlocked vehicle will not always be clearly listed on your certificate of insurance. Some insurance certificates will specifically state if the policy includes coverage for theft from an unattended vehicle, but often the only place where you will be able to find this exclusion mentioned is in the actual policy documents. Be sure to double-check with your insurance company to be safe!

If there IS an exclusion for theft from an unattended or unlocked vehicle exclusion, ask if it can be removed so that you can rest assured that you are covered. Knowing whether or not your policy covers equipment stolen from an unattended or unlocked vehicle will help you better understand your risks. 

Additionally, if you’re renting equipment from a rental house, most vendors will require that your policy covers theft from an unattended/unlocked vehicle. They want to make sure their gear is fully covered while in your possession. You can always check the insurance requirements provided by the rental house to see if they require this exclusion to be removed. If it isn’t clearly stated in their list of insurance requirements, make sure to check your rental contract as well.  

If you do experience this type of theft, you’ll want to make sure to do the following as soon as possible:

  1. File a police report

  2. Take pictures - Be sure to include signs of break-in like broken windows

  3. Take inventory of what was stolen

  4. If there were witnesses, try to get statements 

  5. Contact your insurance company 

Photo by Ryan Graybill on Unsplash

Having all of this information will be helpful when submitting your claim to the insurance carrier. The adjuster assigned to your claim will need this type of information and being prepared can help ease the claims process. 

Knowing your risks and how to protect yourself is the best way to prepare for this theft scenario. The more you understand what your insurance covers and any exclusions that may apply, the more you can protect your business, and the better prepared you will be when deciding how to handle your gear. The Athos Team is always here to help educate and answer any questions you may have so please feel free to reach out. 

Equipment Rentals…What insurance will I need?

By: The Athos Team

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Well, it depends!

Rental houses always require their renters to have inland marine equipment insurance to cover the rented equipment itself for accident damage and theft. The equipment insurance allows renters to issue a certificate to the rental house naming them as a loss payee and with rental sites such as Sharegrid, just the equipment insurance will suffice.

However, many rental houses will also require general liability coverage in addition to the equipment insurance.  You can usually tell if a general liability policy will be needed because the rental house will ask you to name them as additional insured on your policy, and this can only be added on a general liability policy. General liability covers third party injuries associated with the equipment. For example, if you rent a light from a rental house and while you are using it, it falls and hits someone walking by (not part of your production), that person can sue everyone involved. This includes the owner of the gear which would be the rental house. Rental houses want to be protected in this case which is why they may want you to get general liability coverage along with the equipment coverage.

Are you renting any vehicles in addition to the equipment? Vehicles aren’t considered equipment so you may need to set up a non-owned hired auto policy as well.

Every rental houses is different so ultimately it’s up to you to talk with your rental house to see exactly what coverages they will be requiring. Nevertheless, no matter what coverages will be needed, Athos will be here to help with your insurance!  

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