We insure thousands of photographers, and handle hundreds of photographic claims every year. We have never witnessed the volume of theft claims as we did in the last year. In particular, we’re seeing a huge rise in theft from vehicles.
Who knows why this trend is happening. Perhaps the pandemic pushes criminals that bit further. Or perhaps criminals believe the police don’t take theft as seriously as they once did.
We are based in London. My partner is a member of our local committee Facebook group. In the last few weeks there have been 5-6 reports of thefts of prams from cars, and that’s just those reported on the group for a very small town in Southeast London. You wouldn’t think prams were attractive to thieves, but then again if a £500 pram can be sold for £50 on eBay, that’s still £50 they didn’t have earlier that day.
We’re telling you this as a stark warning for photographers. If criminals in London are now willing to commit a crime for low value items such as prams, criminals will not hesitate if they believe a vehicle contains photographic equipment.
How often do you see a van which states ‘no tools left overnight’? These crimes are on the rise drastically, whether it’s the theft of a pram, tools, IT or photographic equipment. We must take vehicle crime seriously. The simplest way to prevent vehicle crime is prevention. For every house theft, we hear about roughly 50 car thefts. Clearly your kit is safer inside than out.
Our policies include some of the industry’s broadest cover for vehicle theft. However they do not include theft from vehicles. As well as a high excess, strict conditions apply to theft from vehicles claims; for example, the vehicle should have an alarm and items should not be left on display. These conditions exist to protect the insurers, but more importantly to encourage photographers to proactively protect their valuable kit.
No photographer wants their kit stolen.
Our advice to all photographers is to avoid leaving any kit in the car, even for short periods. Yes, you might leave heavy rigging in the car whilst you nip to the garage to top up with fuel. But items like camera bodies and lenses, which are small and lightweight, should not be left unattended, even for a short period of time. You can’t tell who might be a criminal, many are simple opportunists. It only takes a split second to smash a window and grab a bag. If you leave your photographic kit in your car overnight, please don’t expect it to be there the following morning. Check eBay and your local pawnbrokers & cash converters, and do it quickly!
Whilst we always try to make the claims process simple, it still requires effort and could result in a premium increase on your policy. Plus your photographic kit is your livelihood, please please please don’t leave anything to chance.
We hope this is useful information. Williamson Carson are experts in insurance and passionate about supporting the creative industries. Discover how we can help protect you from risk, with bespoke cover for your industry. Contact us now. Read more insights and interviews by Williamson Carson.