Top 5 Insurance Tips For Renting Out Your Camera Gear
By: Katherine Wong, President of Athos Insurance Services
Published on: 4/29/2021 11:19:00 AM
Safely earn a little extra income in between projects.
So, you’ve invested in some good film and camera equipment, and managed to build up a solid collection of cameras, lenses, and gear. Now you want to rent it out between your own projects and pick up a little extra cash. Why not, right?
Great idea! But before you start, there are some important things to know about renting out your gear. These five tips can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle.
1. You’ll need a rental agreement
I know, I know, it sounds all official, and you’re just renting it out to your roommate’s cousin’s friend Bobby. I’m sure it’s fine, right? NOPE!
You’re going to want to have a rental agreement written up for every rental, even if it’s between friends or family, and even if you’re just lending it to someone and no money is being exchanged (very nice of you to do that, by the way).
This way, if there is some kind of dispute, you have legal ground to stand on. It also legitimizes the rental in the eyes of your insurance company, so there are no issues with insurance claim payouts if something goes wrong.
There are two key things to remember here:
The rental agreement needs to be created before any gear is picked up.
The name on the rental contract has to match the policyholder name on the renter’s insurance policy.
Wait! Your renter needs insurance! Let’s talk about that.
2. Your renter needs a Certificate of Insurance to show they’re insured
Whoever is renting your camera or photography equipment will need to have equipment rental insurance.
More specifically, they’ll need to have an Inland Marine Equipment Floater Insurance, an Equipment Floater, a DICE Production Insurance Package, or Miscellaneous Equipment Floater. We’ll discuss these different types of insurance packages in another post, but for now, just know that your renter needs to have one of them or it’s a “no” from you.
You’ll need a certificate of insurance from them that names you as a loss payee. The limit should be at least the value of your rented equipment. And if the renter is renting from anyone else, the limit needs to cover the total of all rented equipment being rented from everyone.
A quick note about expiration: an insurance policy will always expire at 12:01 am. This means that the expiration date should always be listed as the day after the gear is returned.
I know, it seems like we are getting very technical here, and that’s because we are! We are an insurance company and it’s our job to look out for all the little details (and think about all the little things that could go wrong) so you don’t have to.
3. You need gear insurance too!
Well guess who else needs camera equipment insurance? You!
That’s right. You have to protect your gear, even if the renter has insurance, for a few reasons.
If your renter is fraudulent, their insurance will not pay for your equipment, because the renter is duping you into giving them the equipment. This is considered fraud or criminal activity, which is never covered by an insurance policy when committed by the policyholder.
Make sure to add “Voluntary Parting on False Pretense” coverage to your insurance policy, to protect against fraudulent renters. We’ll cover sketchy renters more below.
4. You’ll need to do an official gear inspection
It’s important to inspect and test your gear before and after the rental, so you’ll be able to tell if anything has been damaged or broken.
The last thing you want is a disagreement regarding damages. We recommend inspecting, testing, and documenting your inspection on video (you don’t need to make a Ken Burns documentary, just pull out your iPhone) with the renter before they leave with your gear. That way, you’re both on the same page about any scratches or pre-existing damages, which can prevent conflict later. Upon return, you’ll want to do the same thing.
It’s always a good idea to do a deeper inspection within a few days of the equipment being returned, and to let the renter know you’ll be doing it. Don’t wait weeks to do this. The longer you wait, the easier it is for the renter to claim they had nothing to do with it.
When the renter returns the equipment, ask if there were any problems or issues to allow them to explain anything unusual. And of course, document all feedback in writing.
5. You’ll have to be a little discerning about who you rent your camera gear to
I told you we’d return to the topic of “sketchy renters” and here we are. It’s so important to vet and research anyone you’re considering renting to. Fraud is on the rise lately, and being scammed is no one’s idea of a good time (except maybe the scammer).
We recommend getting references, checking ID, asking for their social media profiles and scanning them to make sure they look real. Don’t worry, we won’t make you take a trip to their hometown and interview their elementary school teachers, but at least the same due diligence you’d do if you were hiring someone for a job, or vetting potential tinder matches for your sister.
You need to be able to trust the person, at least to a certain degree. Always ask how they found you, and if they were referred by someone you know, ask that person about them too!
Find out as much as you can before entrusting them with your valuable camera equipment. And if something seems fishy or doesn’t add up, ditch them. There will be other opportunities, and it’s not worth the trouble or risk.
You worked hard to pay for all your gear, and renting it out can be a great way to make a few extra bucks. But just following these simple steps before jumping into a rental agreement with someone can help safeguard those valuable assets.
Hopefully everything goes smoothly, but if anything goes wrong, you’ll be happy you were prepared!
If you have any questions about gear rental insurance or need a gear rental policy for your camera equipment, our entertainment insurance agents at Athos Insurance is standing buy to make magic happen for you.
Rent your gear with no worries with Athos Insurance!