Dear photography community. I am writing this post to warn you. Warn you about two things!
We live in a modern age with crazy technology – our cameras are proof of that. And so is the technology the common thief uses. On a travel to Lithuania I parked the rented car (with full insurance coverage) and went for lunch with my girlfriend, her mom and two friends. With my camera safely locked in the trunk.
Returning to the car I didn’t notice anything. We didn’t notice anything until an hour later, where we parked and I needed my camera. Opening the trunk I wondered where I put the backpack. Coming to my senses, I realized my shoulderbag with the camera, my backpack, my girlfriends backpack and one of my friends backpack wasn’t there.
The total value of my items was around $4,500. My Canon 5D mark III and the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 made up the majority of that sum.
That warm, yet creeping feeling came flooding in. Someone stole our stuff! Including my backpack and at that point I thought also my passport.
After getting it all together and thinking for a bit, I got to the conclusion that the insurance would pay. After all I had two cameras stolen a couple of years ago, which I didn’t have an insurance for so I did learn that lesson the hard way. I spoke with an insurer in my insurance company (The Danish company ”Tryg”, which is a fairly respected insurance company) and said I wanted an insurance that covers every kind of thievery! I want to be covered from head to toe! I bought that insurance and in good faith I thought I was covered.
BUT of course I was NOT covered!
While filing the police report I contacted my insurance company and told them my story, so I could get from the police what I and ”Tryg” needed. After all everybody wants the insurance process to be as easy for all parties as possible. It was here the insurer told me they don’t cover theft from cars without visible damage to the car.
…silence… “You don’t what?!”
For two years I paid in good faith (stupid and ignorant me) for an insurance that didn’t cover all kinds of theft? Not even from a locked trunk in a car!?
The insurer told me to gather what I could and they’d take a look at it when I came home. Here a couple of weeks after, where I’ve talked with several sources and filed for insurance they stick to their policy. Unless there’s a visible break in (damage to the car) they don’t cover.
So, they don’t cover, what to me seems like obvious theft (it is theft, after all) from the trunk of a locked car, where you can’t even see what’s in the trunk.
Now one thing is to get your stuff stolen. Another thing is my trust in insurance companies now equals zero. The insurance companies know FULL WELL that this technology (electronic break-in) exists and have existed for at least five years, yet they stick to their policy of visible theft. That’s just not okay! And this is not just a Lithuanian thing. It’s happening in Denmark and other countries too.
The car rental company doesn’t cover the loss, unless the entire car is stolen. Yes they’d cover my camera if the entire car was stolen.
To end with a bit of optimism. I didn’t get my passport stolen, since I was lazy in the airport and just put it in my jacket pocket. I was thinking of bringing my laptop, but decided not to, I didn’t bring all my camera gear. I backed up the wedding I shot just before leaving. So what can we all learn from this?
- Thieves can get into your car without leaving any traces. Your gear and other belongings are NOT safely locked in the trunk.
- Insurance companies don’t cover that, although they know about it. I’ve investigated it a bit and a few companies does cover, but in my examples only within a certain value.
- Read your insurance policy… over and over again! See if your insurance really is a full coverage.
- Insurance companies are companies after all – they’re here to make money!
- Don’t keep all your gear (or important items) the same place. If something is stolen, the damage is smaller after all if they did not get to that extra lens!
- Just do not bring everything you own when you travel.
- BACK UP your pictures ASAP.
- Keep your ID papers with you all the time and have a photocopy of it too and place it somewhere else.
P.S. If anybody comes by my camera and lens the serial numbers are:
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III: 203020007456
- Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD: 049219
About the Author
Mads Peter Iversen is a landscape and portrait photographer based in Aarhus, Denmark. You can find out more about him on his website, follow him on Instagram, or reach out to him through Facebook. This article was also published here and used with permission.
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