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Insurance coverage for astro gear (AP)

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18 replies to this topic

#1 jerahian

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 02:23 AM

As I'm sure many of you will relate, the astro gear we amass over time can add up to a few pretty pennies and, for me, can be a little nerve-racking to leave out all night on an imaging session.

 

I'm wondering if any of you insure your equipment?  Do you add it to your homeowner's insurance?  My setup is not permanent, so the likelihood of it walking away is higher than if it were secured on a perma-pier, but even then, the scope itself might.  I'm lucky to live in a safe neighborhood, but it only takes one bozo to ruin my hobby.

 

I'm looking for advice, tips, your experience or just your story on safeguarding and insuring astrophotography gear (scope, mount, cameras, etc.) during a full night of imaging (while I sleep...hoping peacefully).

 

Thanks,

Ara



#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 03:35 AM

No harm in preemptively asking your insurance agent. Obviously, now would be the time to do it. I believe the contents of e.g. the house that you live in, is a standard, generous fraction of the policy basis for the house. But, once you go to the "out-buildings"... garage, sheds, etc., and their contents, the fractional allotment is generally pretty small, unless you specifically ask for added coverage, which they will likely accommodate... for a price. I'm guessing that the insurance on a $50K dome and scope would likely come in around that on a $50K car? 

 

And, because our gear is unusual, probably would further involve the cost of a formal appraisal and on-site inspection.

 

Hmmm... Just imagining. honestly telling your agent that you leave an e.g. $25K telescope out in the yard at night, while you sleep. But, on the other hand... many/most of us leave a couple of $25K cars in the driveway or out on the road, at night... while we sleep! I'll bet it comes in around the cost of car insurance (the theft part). Or that they may decline to cover it.

 

I have no idea... maybe someone here has done that. Explicitly asked ahead for specific coverage of astro-gear.    Tom



#3 sg6

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 04:22 AM

This gets asked at regular intervals and it seems that most have the equipment as part of the general household contents insurance.

 

However there have been instances where problems occurred since as is said the idea is to set it up then walk away and leave it there unattended.

 

You are likely best to ask at a club what they do and who they use, at least as a starting point. The catch is they are sort of semi-business in operation. I doubt they set equipment up and wander away for a few hours. They also tend to be well away from populated areas where people are.

 

Small print will be the killer. If it says you have to take reasomable care/steps for the security of the equipment then is leaving running unattended all by itself while you sleep reasonable care.

 

I do not think there is a specific answer as in Go talk to Astro-Ins they take care of it all.

At the cost of the equipment places could also want original invoices and proof of purchase and photographs.



#4 Migwan

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 05:26 AM

We insure our pole barn and its contents to a maximum that we set as part of our homeowners insurance.   They did require that we add dead bolts.  The cost was at the same rate as  the house and its contents, so overall, pretty affordable .  Talk to your agent.  jd



#5 StarmanDan

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 08:39 AM

I had a majority of my astro equipment stolen from my vehicle while on the way to a star party many year ago.  Homeowners insurance covered only about a third of the loss due to depreciation but it was enough to replace the more expensive items.  



#6 rottielover

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 02:57 PM

Just wanted to add to the "due care" part above...   What I did was pickup the Netgear Arlo security camera's (I'm sure you could use Ring or Nest, etc).   This covered the "due care" as the scope is setup on my property and I have setup a security system to watch over it.  Hope this helps or gives you an idea.



#7 emflocater

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 09:10 PM

I save all my astro gear receipts in a folder. This way I have proof of cost. Never hurts to take pictures as well. All this should be covered (if not say outside in a observatory) under your loss of inside home contents.

 

Cheers

Don



#8 jerahian

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 01:31 AM

Thanks everyone for the advice!  I'm calling my agent tomorrow to check out my options and will bring it up at my next astronomy club meeting.

 

Just wanted to add to the "due care" part above...   What I did was pickup the Netgear Arlo security camera's (I'm sure you could use Ring or Nest, etc).   This covered the "due care" as the scope is setup on my property and I have setup a security system to watch over it.  Hope this helps or gives you an idea.

rottielover, I think putting up a motion detector cam is a great idea, regardless!  Thanks...I'm not sure why I hadn't considered that!

 

-Ara



#9 mich_al

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 12:37 PM

I've come to think that insurance is only for catastrophes.  Think about actual payoff vs. premiums over time vs. realistic chance of loss vs increased premiums post claim.


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#10 CharlesW

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 05:18 PM

I think you may find that it is prohibitively expensive to put a rider on your homeowner’s. 



#11 mich_al

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 06:55 PM

Insurance companies all seem to have great and elaborate home offices, tens or hundreds of millions of dollars worth, money for high end advertizing campaigns that run endlessly.  Do ya think their top priority is paying off claims richly ? 


Edited by mich_al, 25 April 2019 - 06:56 PM.

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#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 03:49 AM

I've come to think that insurance is only for catastrophes.  Think about actual payoff vs. premiums over time vs. realistic chance of loss vs increased premiums post claim.

 

My father's advice is pretty standard:.

 

Don't insure for a loss that you can cover yourself.  

 

or

 

Only insure for losses you can't afford to cover yourself.

 

Makes sense to me.

 

Jon


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#13 Chucky

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 07:04 AM

<<  Do ya think their top priority is paying off claims richly ?  >>

 

Not sure exactly what you mean by 'richly'.  But the best ranked insurance companies pay claims fairly and inline with policy contract provisions.  These are the types of companies folks should seek out.  And of course, policyholders need to also find a professional and helpful insurance agent.  And yes, there is some responsiblity on the policyholder to spend time reviewing and trying to understand their policy/ies.  



#14 Svalbard

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 07:56 AM

Typically you'd need to get the items scheduled on you home insurance with receipts or appraisals. Also, scheduled items are typically no-fault (e.g., you schedule your wife's wedding ring and she loses it). You'd need to check with your insurance company to find out what the low limit on the schedule about is (typically $250-$500). You can also get an insurance policy specifically for scheduled items (I did this for my wife's ring and didn't get it scheduled on the home insurance with Travelers). 

 

Some companies have good rates on scheduled items, Travelers, Liberty Mutual, etc others are crazy with rates.



#15 millerrobe

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 10:10 AM

A colleague and I bought an existing property in an astronomy village NW of Deming, NM. The structures consist of a mobile home, attached garage, and attached roll-of-roof observatory. Getting insurance on this was no problem.

 

We're building two domed observatories and a warm room that we'll share to control our equipment from some level of comfort. We've been to several insurance agencies in Deming and Las Cruces and we can't get coverage for the new buildings and equipment either separately or as an addition to our home owners policy.

 

Have any of you had luck getting insurance on your astro gear?

 

Thanks.



#16 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:48 AM

My father's advice is pretty standard:.

 

Don't insure for a loss that you can cover yourself.  

 

or

 

Only insure for losses you can't afford to cover yourself.

 

Makes sense to me.

 

Jon

I feel the same as Jon.  I think loss is not that likely, and premiums over several years would re-buy the gear.

 

BUT:  They will cover it as "cameras and photographic equipment" with a rider.  My deductible is so high, I don't even bother.



#17 millerrobe

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Posted 09 June 2019 - 10:45 PM

Has anyone had any luck finding an agent or company that will insure astro equipment and buildings?

 

A friend and I bought an existing property in an astronomy village in SW New Mexico. We have insurance on the mobile home, garage, and attached roll-off-observatory. No problem.

 

Because of the wind in the area, roll-offs are not ideal, so we're building individual domes and a common "warm room" for remotely controlling our equipment. We've been unable to get coverage for our outbuildings and equipment and we've tried every bundling and non-bundling approach imaginary. We even went to the company that insures the equipment owned by the Las Cruces Astronomical Society without any luck. 

 

Any insights greatly appreciated.



#18 kevint1

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 06:51 PM

Insurance companies all seem to have great and elaborate home offices, tens or hundreds of millions of dollars worth, money for high end advertizing campaigns that run endlessly.  Do ya think their top priority is paying off claims richly ? 

I worked for one of the largest insurers in the US for over 20 years. Yes, paying claims fairly and promptly is their top priority.  That said, I agree with Jon and Chucky’s advice completely. 



#19 Chucky

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 07:13 PM

kevint1, like you I worked for one of the largest insurance companies in the country. A Fortune 100 company. Spent 31 years in Property Casualty Underwriting....all in Personal Lines.


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