How to Protect Your Camera Gear from Theft While in the Car
By: Lauren Castillo, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance
Published on: 11/4/2020 10:07:00 AM
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.
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:
Unload your equipment and take it inside whenever possible
If you have to unload in multiple trips, have someone you trust to stay with the gear while you unload your gear
If you must leave equipment in a car, never leave equipment visibly in a car - Put it in the trunk
Designate a watchman for any gear that will be left in a production vehicle for an extended time
Park in a well-lit secure and guarded (24/7) location
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:
File a police report
Take pictures - Be sure to include signs of break-in like broken windows
Take inventory of what was stolen
If there were witnesses, try to get statements
Contact your insurance company
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.