Jump to content
MattR

Check your insurance, avoid Aviva!

Recommended Posts

Hello and Happy Christmas everyone, hope you've all had a good year on Alamy.

 

I had a nasty experience in November when thieves using a key scanner opened my car and stole £20,000 of kit. I recovered £6000 of Elinchrom lights a few days later, dumped as they could figure out what they were or where to sell them I guess, but they still have a D5, D800, 4 lenses, some speedlights, filters, cards and batteries - basically the kind of kit it takes 20 years to collect.

 

I was obviously shocked and distraught but at least, I thought, Im insured so I can get back to work soon. So I called Towergate, who Ive been with for years.

 

No. Check your email print. There is a maximum payout of £5000 on thefts from a car, and after over a week of procrastination decided that as Id not emptied the car immediately it was outside work hours so didnt pay anything.

 

Im offering a warning to all other photographers - check your small print and be very wary of Towergate, underwritten by Aviva! From talking to a number of people after the event it looks like its standard policy of Aviva to find any loophole the can to avoid paying out wherever possible.

 

Its even more annoying as the D5 still has 3 years finance on it, which Ill still have to pay, as well as another, huge, loan to replace my lost kit and get back to work. Christmas is cancelled in our house!

 

Ive even set up a gofundme crown sourcing page to try and get back on top of things, if anyone can spare a pound! Its  https://www.gofundme.com/photographer-shut-down-by-robbery

 

Best

 

Matt

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That sounds disreputable. Take them to the ombudsman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Mark.  Keep going with your dispute as far as you are able.

 

Also, it is essential to check your insurance, and ensure that you comply with it's terms.

 

I had a similar theft recently; fortunately my insurance paid out in full (minus the excess) within weeks.

 

Good Luck.

 

Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before you go to the Ombudsman, who's decision is full and final (and you may lose) I would suggest you consult an independent loss adjuster with experience in assessing similar claims. Such a person or practice will have greater insight and interpretation of policy wording. They will also offer an insight as to whether or not the broker/agent excercised full due diligence as your contract advisor when placing the risk.

Edited by ReeRay
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear of your troubles ...

 

As I always tell people, you don't know how good (or how bad) an insurance company is until you make a claim. Quotes mean nothing, don't assume a higher quote will mean better results in the event of a claim. Always read the small print and assume the insurance company will follow it to the letter. 

 

As you can tell, I don't like insurance companies.

 

Marc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before you go to the Ombudsman, who's decision is full and final (and you may lose) I would suggest you consult an independent loss adjuster with experience in assessing similar claims. Such a person or practice will have greater insight and interpretation of policy wording. They will also offer an insight as to whether or not the broker/agent excercised full due diligence as your contract advisor when placing the risk.

The ombudsman's decision is only binding on the insurer.

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/faq/businesses/answers/rules_a10.html

Towergate purports to be a specialist business insurer so its duty of care is greater than for household insurance.

Edited by spacecadet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I would suggest you consult an independent loss adjuster with experience in assessing similar claims

That's really good advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outside work hours? Whose? A photographer's or an insurance agent's?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My commiserations as well. What a horrible thing to happen.

 

However, if it states in the insurance that you are not covered if you leave equipment in the vehicle at the end of your working day (their phrasing), then you may not have any comeback. I have such a clause in my insurance. I think this is probably standard for photographer insurance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The finance didn't come with an insurance?

Was any of it recently bought with a credit card that offers insurance?

Any change some of it is covered by any other insurance you may have? Regular home insurance policies have a cap on camera stuff, but if everything else fails even a modest amount will be welcome I guess.

You have probably tried this already:

http://www.stolencamerafinder.com/

http://www.cameratrace.com/trace(not sure the free trace works)

 

I found one of mine once in a shop window the next day.

 

wim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My commiserations as well. What a horrible thing to happen.

 

However, if it states in the insurance that you are not covered if you leave equipment in the vehicle at the end of your working day (their phrasing), then you may not have any comeback. I have such a clause in my insurance. I think this is probably standard for photographer insurance.

I have never seen that language in my U.S. Insurance policies. What is a workday for photographers? My shoots are at all times of day and night, as well as weekends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

My commiserations as well. What a horrible thing to happen.

 

However, if it states in the insurance that you are not covered if you leave equipment in the vehicle at the end of your working day (their phrasing), then you may not have any comeback. I have such a clause in my insurance. I think this is probably standard for photographer insurance.

I have never seen that language in my U.S. Insurance policies. What is a workday for photographers? My shoots are at all times of day and night, as well as weekends.

 

 

It's definitely standard here in my experience - it means the working day of the photographer regardless of the time - when you get home from your day's work.

 

I've seen policies which exclude theft from vehicles between the hours of 9PM and 6AM - my current policy through one of the big specialist photographer insurers in the UK (Aaduki) has this clause as standard but this has been deleted and replaced by a clause stating that they will not pay up if equipment is left in a vehicle at the end of your working day when you have arrived home or place of residence at night (presumably including the place you are staying if travelling). There is something similar in my previous insurance. I guess the wording needs to be complex to cover all situations - what about if you drop home for a bite to eat or to pick up something and leave your gear in the car? Is it ok if it's during the day but not at night? If it is at night, do you need to prove that you were not finished your work day?

 

I think the bottom line is they don't want to cover equipment left in a car at your place of temporary or permanent residence.

 

Just to add, it is not just Aviva. I think all specialist photographer insurers here have the same or similar clauses.

Edited by MDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back around 1990, I had all my gear stolen from my car while passing through New York City. My insurance covered everything but my deductible of $250. The theif got all my Nikon and Hasselblad gear, a big loss...but within two weeks, I had a check in hand. I still use that same insurance company, so they have probably recovered all the money they paid out and then some! It is good business to help the insured as best as possible. We stay loyal and we share their name to others!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what its worth, I use Erie Insurance, based in Erie, Pennsylvania.  I doubt they work outside the USA.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the replies, wow you walk away from the Mac for a couple of hours! Lots of good points there:

I now know they define the working day as travelling to and from a shoot, I define it as 'when Im still working' - I was keywording on Alamy until late and then had do do my accounts until about midnight, sadly neither give a time print but I have an appeal lodged making this point. In my case I got home early, just in time to do the school pick up, so parked and ran then left the gear while I was doing dad stuff and went back to work a couple of hours later, but it as taken while I was working in the evening.

Ive seen a couple of those recovery websites and have lodged the details somewhere and its all registered with Nikon as stolen. Its particularly galling that the wonderful D5 will be almost useless to them as it has no battery charger or instructions and uses QXD cards, so pretty much useless unless someone already has one!

Ive gone to Imaging insurance now who seem good so far, but more usefully have invested in lots of security cables, padlocks and hasps bolted to the wall so all the bags are shackled to each other and either the car or house, padlocked shut and all items marked with smart water, and the cupboard locked. And Ive fitted CCTV and more security lights. And will plant a hawthorn hedge on the vulnerable side of the house in spring.

One nice thing was that the person who found the elinchroms actually called me as they found my card in the case, and took them in as the Peli case looked interesting!

Edited by MattR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh-oh, I switched to Aviva last year.

 

I have my house and car insured with Aviva. I'm not worried and not intending to change. As I said above, the problems the OP has had are not specific to Aviva - other photographic insurers here in the UK have the exact same clauses about unattended vehicles. The £5000 max for unattended vehicle is also standard. The moral here is to read the documents carefully.

 

EDIT - I was writing this as Matt posted. I guess the problem here is interpreting the meaning of the working day and I wish him every bit of luck with the appeal but the £5000 limit is indisputable - it's up front in the policy summary document on the Towergate website.

Edited by MDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree, get good service you stay, bad service and lose a customer willing to shout his mouth off!

Id been with Towergate for 8 years, so had paid in the limited amount they might have paid out.

 

As an aside, Wex Photographic could not have been more helpful. I phoned and explained what had happened and asked what the best finance options might be, they helped out with that and were low on stock of Quadra Ranger sets so put some aside, then got the paperwork rushed through same day rather than the normal 3, so I could be back at work next day

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MDM, you are right, no hope of anything above £5000, but that would help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many photographers advise to have metal cages fitted into the boot. 

 

Still stucks though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MDM, you are right, no hope of anything above £5000, but that would help!

 

As an aside, Wex Photographic could not have been more helpful. I phoned and explained what had happened and asked what the best finance options might be, they helped out with that and were low on stock of Quadra Ranger sets so put some aside, then got the paperwork rushed through same day rather than the normal 3, so I could be back at work next day

 

I hope I'm not coming across here as cold-hearted. I actually feel really sorry for you. It's an incredibly hollow feeling to lose something by theft or loss.

 

But I don't think Aviva is the problem per se. I think it's general in the insurance industry, a lot due to all the insurance scammers out there who cause problems for us honest ones.

 

And three cheers for WEX. I keep telling people how great a company they are.

Edited by MDM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My commiserations as well. What a horrible thing to happen.

 

However, if it states in the insurance that you are not covered if you leave equipment in the vehicle at the end of your working day (their phrasing), then you may not have any comeback. I have such a clause in my insurance. I think this is probably standard for photographer insurance.

Commiserations and an expensive lesson, I have learned similarly expensive business lessons in the past). Shows why it is so important to read and understand the terms of any contract before you sign up. Which is why for the last two renewals (my broker sold their photo insurance business) I went to a lot of trouble to negotiate my insurance terms so that I was properly covered as often my equipment may be in a motorhome. I need to be able to lock my kit away in it out of sight and then maybe go out to get an evening meal, leaving the 'van unattended. Normal unattended vehicle cover simply would not work. If you don't understand, seek clarification, ask questions until you do. Ask the questions and get the answers in writing or at least by email.

 

I also checked that the amount of cover was sufficient for my entire kit, both from the on-location and unattended vehicle value insured, both are often less than full amount insured. I also made my base location Europe rather than UK as I spend 60+ days on the continent, probably even more this year. That way the 60 days of foreign cover is still available should I want to go further afield, especially now our son and daughter live in SE Asia.

 

My experience is that the extra premium has been modest.

 

That said the claim I made through Towergate, some years ago, was sorted out quickly and smoothly despite there being simultaneous claims on my car, photo and home insurances. However that was from a break in at home. The only problem was shortly after settlement the pound bombed, prices rocketed and I couldn't afford to replace my 300mm f2.8. But that was my bad luck not the insurer being difficult.

 

Edited to add: My home insurance for the break in was with Aviva and I had no difficulties with them.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many photographers advise to have metal cages fitted into the boot. 

 

Still stucks though.

 

Would not have worked when they broke into my house, stole my car keys (which would have had the cage keys on them probably)  and drove my car away :( That is quite a common mode of car theft, I know several people who have suffered that way since car security has improved. My vehicle keys no longer live in the hall.

 

That said my insurers have never asked for secure cage or safe at home even when I had upwards of £20k of kit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Martin, it might just deter the "occasional" thief in a public place without moving the car. 

 

Wex is great. Fixation is now part of it. Speak to Donal if you need any specialist advice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.