Co-insurance Penalty Explained - Know Your Coverage

Co-insurance Penalty Explained – Know Your Photography Coverage

As a professional photographer, your equipment is essential to your livelihood. Whether it’s cameras, lenses, lights, or props, your gear represents a significant investment. Protecting your business and equipment from potential losses is crucial, which is where photography insurance comes into play.

Many photography insurance policies include a co-insurance clause. This clause requires policyholders to insure their equipment to a specific percentage of the total replacement cost value. If you fail to meet this requirement, your payout in the event of a claim may be penalized. Co-insurance may seem overwhelming initially, but it plays a crucial role in your insurance policy and is worth fully understanding.

The co-insurance clause ensures that you have adequate coverage for your equipment. It prevents you from underinsuring your gear and potentially facing financial losses in the event of a claim. By insuring to the required percentage, you protect yourself from partial and catastrophic total losses.


The Importance of Co-insurance in Photography Insurance

People often assume that they won’t experience a total loss and, therefore, don’t need to insure the full value of their equipment. However, this is a misconception. Insurance aims to protect you from both partial and total losses. Insurance companies collect premiums based on the total value of your insured property, ensuring that funds are available to pay out when losses occur.

Co-insurance ensures that you have an adequate level of coverage for your equipment. By insuring to the required percentage, you ensure that the insurance company will fully compensate you for any damages or losses up to the policy limit.


Calculating Co-insurance Requirements in Photography Insurance

Each insurance company may have different co-insurance requirements. When reviewing your insurance, ask your insurance advisor to review your policy so you can understand the specific percentage you need to insure your equipment to. To calculate the minimum amount you should insure your equipment for, you can use the following formula:

Total Replacement Value x Co-insurance Percentage = Minimum Insurable Amount

For example, if your equipment’s total replacement value is $30,000, and your policy has an 80% co-insurance clause, the minimum insurable amount would be:

$30,000 x 80% = $24,000

It’s always advisable to insure your equipment for the complete replacement value to ensure you are fully protected in the event of a loss.


Co-insurance Penalty in Photography Insurance

If you fail to meet the co-insurance requirements and underinsure your equipment, you will face a co-insurance penalty. This penalty reduces the payout you receive in the event of a claim.

The co-insurance penalty is calculated by dividing the amount you insured by the amount you should have insured and multiplying it by your loss. The resulting amount is your reduced payout.

It’s essential to understand that underinsuring your equipment can have significant financial consequences. By paying a slightly higher premium to be fully insured, you protect yourself from incurring substantial out-of-pocket expenses in the event of a loss.


Co-Insurance Peanly Example:

To understand how co-insurance works, let’s consider an example. Suppose you have $30,000 worth of photography equipment, and your policy has a 90% co-insurance clause. This means you must insure your equipment to at least $27,000, although complete replacement is recommended.

If you experience a partial loss and are insured to the co-insurance requirement, no co-insurance penalty will be applied to the settlement. You will receive the amount you are insured for in the event of a total loss, as listed on your policy declaration.

Partial Loss example: Let’s say you only insure that equipment for $15,000 instead of the minimum 90% of $27,000.  In this case, the insurance company will penalize your payout by applying the co-insurance formula. This means they take what you DID insure too, divide this by what you SHOULD have insured to, and multiply this factor by your loss.

($15,000 / $27,000) x $15,000 = $8,333 would be the amount paid after applying the co-insurance clause.

Total Loss example: In the event of a total loss, the insurance company will only pay out to the limit on your policy declaration, which in this example is $15,000. Even though you lost $30,000 worth of equipment, you will only receive $15,000.

The additional premium you could have paid to be fully insured would have been significantly less than paying out of pocket for the difference. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing that you are adequately protected. (*Based on the 2023 rate for an additional premium of $15,000 additional equipment limit).

Photography Insurance for New Equipment

As a photographer, you may frequently upgrade or purchase new equipment. It’s crucial to update your insurance policy to reflect any changes in your equipment’s total value. Most insurance policies have a newly acquired equipment clause that provides coverage for a specified period after the purchase.

If the total value of your equipment increases, it would bring you under the co-insurance 90% threshold. From the date of purchase, you have 30 days with $10,000 additional coverage. During this period, you must notify your insurance provider of the purchase so that they can add the increase to your equipment limit. The additional premium will be prorated for the remainder of your insurance term.

It’s essential to stay proactive and update your insurance policy whenever you acquire new equipment to maintain adequate coverage.



Choosing the Right Photography Insurance Policy

When selecting a photography insurance policy, it’s essential to consider several factors:

  1. Coverage Limits: Ensure that the policy provides adequate coverage for your specific photography equipment and business needs.
  2. Co-insurance Requirements: Understand the co-insurance percentage and insure your equipment to at least the minimum required amount.
  3. Additional Coverages: Consider additional coverages such as liability insurance, equipment breakdown coverage, and business interruption insurance to protect your photography business comprehensively.
  4. Deductibles: Evaluate the deductibles associated with the policy and choose one that aligns with your risk tolerance and financial capabilities.
  5. Claims Process: Research the insurance company’s reputation for handling claims efficiently and providing prompt payouts.


As a Canadian photographer, protecting your business and equipment with photography insurance is essential. Understanding co-insurance and its impact on your coverage is crucial to avoid financial losses in the event of a claim. By insuring your equipment to the required percentage, you ensure that you have adequate protection and receive the full payout in the event of a total loss or partial loss. Stay proactive in updating your insurance policy as your equipment changes, and regularly review your coverage limits to maintain comprehensive protection for your photography business. With the right insurance policy in place, you can focus on capturing stunning images while having peace of mind, knowing that your equipment and business are well-protected.

HWI branded lined breaker

Thanks for reading our article; I hope you enjoyed this month’s topic on the co-insurance clause on photography insurance policies. Here are some more ways to access more insurance information and tips:

  1. Visit our Blog/article page each month, where we publish various insurance articles and share information on specific industry products:

→ To learn more about or get a quote for Photographer Insurance and visit our PRODUCT PAGE

2. Follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date on the latest business insurance articles and follow our company updates: