I am thinking about renting a couple for expensive lenses ($900+) from Adorama. I'll be visiting NYC from Chicago. They state on their rental page.

We do not provide Insurance. We strongly encourage renters to obtain an insurance policy, especially if you rent frequently or when the replacement value of your orders is high.

Where can I obtain an insurance policy to cover these lenses? Will my (Chicago) home owners insurance cover it? It seems like a weird coverage because I don't technically own the lenses.

  • Here in Minnesota, my insurance company(state farm) will not insure equipment rentals of any kind. They told me technically the state requires you to lease or own it to insure camera equipment. I use lensrentals.com and buy insurance from them instead. – dpollitt Aug 15 '11 at 19:01
  • Turns our my insurance company (allstate) is in the same boat. No rental coverage at all. – Thanh Aug 15 '11 at 22:01

Most homeowners policies have a limit to the amount of photography equipment and electronics are covered under the policy, a total of $1000 is common. Also you will take a 'hit' on your homeowner's policy if you do have any sort of claim.

Call your agent or find an agent with another firm and look into getting a rider for your homeowner's policy or an inland marine policy that will cover rented equipment.

Here is a good post that explains the differences http://photo.net/learn/insurance (The comments are great)

  • Very interesting comments in that link. Thanks for that. – Thanh Aug 15 '11 at 20:34

Have you tried a place like borrowlenses.com or lensrentals.com that offer insured lens rentals? They have good reputations and can offer the insurance at the time of rental. In general, its an easier option to purchase and, if something happens, to deal with the consequences of.

  • I have, but the shipping fees typically are double the cost of the rental for the time frame I am looking at. I am wondering if there are any other reputable lens renters in NYC that offer insurance. – Thanh Aug 15 '11 at 18:25
  • 3
    Be very careful and closely read everything stated on any companies web site, then closely read and make sure you fully understand the insurance provided by the rental company. It is very rare for a rental company to cover theft or loss. – Dave Nelson Aug 15 '11 at 18:51

I know this is an old question, but I found it while searching for the same answer. My homeowners or renters insurance won't cover rented equipment. Neither will the benefits on any of my credit cards.

So far, my options are to go uninsured, which requires me to provide a credit card that up to the entire value of the rented equipment can be charged to in case of loss or damage, or buy a policy from a specialty insurer. One of the camera rental companies suggests insuremyrentals.com

Yes, the insurance may cost just as much as (or more than) the rental. The site I mentioned above has a $250 minimum premium and a $500 deductible.

I'll keep looking into insurance, and then decide whether I wouldn't rather just use my little camera.


Your homeowners or rental policy is the place to start.

Call your insurance agent and see if your policy will cover loss or damage to rented property, and specifically rented camera lenses (policies always have a lot of exceptions). Your policy probably likely already does to some extent.

If your existing policy doesn't cover you to what you think is a sufficient level, you can probably get additional coverage for the rented stuff for dates you'll have the lens.

  • Note, this completely depends on your localities laws. This doesn't hold true in Minnesota(according to my State Farm agent). – dpollitt Aug 15 '11 at 18:57

Homeowners Insurance (AllState) does not cover rental equipment. Borrow lens requires additional coverage for the expensive lens and do not offer coverage for loss/theft and they require this additional proof of coverage. Rental insurance looks complicated and expensive where owning the gear and adding to home insurance is reasonable.

To clarify my original statement: borrowlenses.com is a rental company for all sorts of camera and video gear. They only offer damage insurance and this is all you need for most small lenses and gear.

However if you are renting say..500mm or 800mm lens or expensive video equipment you are required to go out and get additional insurance to cover against total loss or theft and with the Borrow lens company listed as the Loss Payee. This must be provided before you pick up any equipment or they will not rent you the expensive stuff. The company itself does not offer this additional insurance coverage.

I hope that clarifies this.

  • Jake, don't understand your second sentence at all. "Borrow lens"? requires coverage and does not offer coverage and requires proof of coverage? Can you edit or clarify what you're saying? – MikeW Sep 13 '13 at 0:35
  • I think what he means is that anything not your own isn't covered unless you can hand over proof that it was in your posession at time of loss. Essentially the same as many insurance policies not covering loss of visitors' posessions. – jwenting Sep 13 '13 at 6:47

BorrowLenses now offers insurance for cameras priced below $4000. Given that you are renting lenses for $900, you should be fine renting lenses now using the insurance BorrowLenses provides for a fee and without obtaining 3rd party insurance.

The challenge becomes if you want to rent lenses priced more than $4000. BorrowLenses (or any other camera rental) will require a deposit for the price of the camera or proof of third party insurance. I spent some time searching and most insurance for rented cameras only provides coverage while on paid gigs. This is unfortunate for those of us that are renting a camera for vacation. Unfortunately, homeowners coverage typically doesn't cover rented property and doesn't provide "inland marine coverage" or valuable cargo that you transport such as an expensive camera lens. Your mileage may vary with homeowners insurance but I would confirm with your agent as it is rarely the case that it will cover expensive camera rentals.

Here is a list of companies that will insure camera rentals. Almost all are restricted to professional photographers or are at a price range (premiums starting at $500/year, $500 deductible or $250 for short-term insurance) that is impractical for most hobbyists:

Package Choice
The Hartford
Arts & Entertainment Insurance
Pro Photographer's Insurance
Tom Pickard Insurance Brokers

Here is a good discussion of insurance solutions from digital photography review https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3542423

  • Does this insurance cover theft or loss, or just damage? Damage in what circumstances? – mattdm Dec 27 '16 at 7:29
  • I updated with a list of specific insurers. InsureMyRentals covers theft and damage. I believe theft specifically excludes unlocked vehicles. In other words, there needs to be evidence of a break-in. – antiol Dec 27 '16 at 21:44
  • Here is their FAQ insuremyequipment.com/Home/Insure-My-Rentals – antiol Dec 27 '16 at 21:46

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