Looking to improve their service and entice more people to rent instead of buy, LensRentals has released a new damage waiver program to help take liability off of you, the customer, in the event your rented gear gets damaged. Read more…
Last week we reported on how photographers and a magazine are being sued for $300,000 for allegedly breaking a 2,630-year-old statue while photographing it for an assignment. While many people, including us, pointed to it as an example of why carrying liability insurance is a good idea for photographers, a more appropriate question is: does a typical insurance plan even cover something like that? David Walker over at PDN writes that it doesn’t:
And as it turns out, standard liability insurance typically carried by photographers would NOT cover the accidental dropping of, say, a $300,000 Nok figurine on the set. That’s because liability insurance policies typically exclude damage claims “for property of others in the care, custody or control of the insured,” says Scott Taylor of Taylor & Taylor Associates
[...] The Nok figurine, or any other prop or object being photographed as part of the shoot, would almost certainly fall under one of those exclusions. Architectural photographer Peter Aaron says he found out about those exclusions after an assignment some years ago where an assistant mishandled an architect’s model of a skyscraper. “It pancaked,” Aaron says. The architect demanded $5,000 in compensation. Aaron turned to his insurance company. “They said that’s not something we cover,” Aaron says. He had to pay out of pocket (though he negotiated a lower settlement).
So how can you protect yourself against damage to extremely valuable items? You can either purchase third-party property insurance in addition to your liability insurance, or just have the owners move their own valuables.
Here’s a good example of why photographers should think about carrying liability insurance: Art + Auction magazine is being sued for $300,000 by art collector Corice Amran after its photographers accidentally knocked over a 2,630-year-old Nigerian Nok statue. The magazine was photographing the terracotta statue — the oldest known figurative sculpture south of the Sahara — at Amran’s house in May 2011 when the photographers decided to pick it up and move it to the opposite side of the room. According to the lawsuit,
During the photographers’ move of the Nok figure, the Nok figure fell onto the floor and was smashed into a myriad of pieces, cannot be restored and is a total loss. Defendant, through the photographers, acted negligently and without the due care necessary with respect to the Nok figure, particularly in light of its rarity, value and fragility. As the result of defendant’s negligence, the 2,630-year-old Nok figure owned by plaintiff was destroyed.
At least it was an inanimate statue and not a baby…