This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
977. Not the least important part of the business end of the studio is the careful insuring of the plant to the fullest extent it will carry. The business-like photographer will cause an inventory to be made of every piece of apparatus, every item of stock and accessory down to the smallest detail, giving each its due and reasonable cost, so that later, in case of fire, he may be able to make a valid claim for repayment and have himself fully protected.
Necessity Of A Careful And Complete Inventory. It is surprising how quickly the sum total of the contents of a studio will mount up when a careful inventory is made. The average man has no idea how much money has been spent in fittings and sundries during a term of years, and will give a rough guess, which will leave him very much a loser in case of destruction of his studio by fire. Further than this, a careful and complete inventory will facilitate the work of the fire adjusters and insure quicker repayment of the losses.
Cause Of High Premiums. Curiously enough, many photographers, either through carelessness or lack of business foresight, carry little or no insurance, or are away under-insured, their main argument being that there is little or nothing inflammable in their studios. On the other hand, it is notorious that insurance companies place a higher premium on studios than the risk really warrants. Insurance companies still have in mind the old days when collodion and gun-cotton were in daily use in the studio for the preparation of wet plates, and when the skylight-room was full of papier mache accessories and multitudinous backgrounds. Actually, the studio of today contains no more inflammable materials than the average business office, but the insurance companies cannot always be made to see this.
Two Kinds Of Policies. Insurance policies fall under two heads, the "blanket" policy and the "specific item" policy. Generally speaking, the latter form of policy is the best for the photographer, as it will enable him to recover a greater percentage of losses.
981. Under this form it is always a wise plan to specify negatives as a separate item, for you will obtain a better return on that basis. For instance, should you lump furniture, fixtures and negatives together as one item. covering them with a policy of $3,000, in case of destruction of the negatives the company will deduct the value of the furniture and fixtures and only pay the balance on the negatives, although the value of these may be fully $3,000. Therefore specify a certain portion of your policy to cover the value of your negatives at the figure you are able to obtain for them from the company. Then, in case of their loss you will be able to recover that amount.
982. The 80% or Co-Insurance Clause. - A considerable saving in premiums can be effected under what is known as the 80% or Co-Insurance Clause. Under this clause the insured agrees to insure to the extent of 80% of the value of the property, but any amount under that 80% that he does not carry in some insurance company he bears himself - the effect is the same as if he wrote a policy on his own property for the balance of the amount.
983. For instance, suppose your property to be worth $10,000. Under the 80% clause, which will save you considerable in premiums, you should virtually insure for $8,000. Now, if you insure in some company for only $5,000, you will be carrying $3,000 yourself plus the $2,000 difference between the 807% and the total value. In the event of a partial loss of your property by fire the company will repay you five-eighths of the amount of the loss; as for example, if the loss is $2,000 the company will pay five-eighths of this amount, and you will have to stand the balance yourself. Should the loss be $8,000, or even a total loss, the company will repay the total amount of the insurance, namely $5,000. To avoid loss on your part, it is, of course, the wisest plan to insure to the full extent of the 80% value, and as fires seldom occasion total loss you will be fully protected and at the same time save considerable on premiums as against a straight insurance for the total value.
984. This 80% clause is generally operative only in cities or towns provided with water works and a fire department. In places where these are non-existent, insurance companies usually insert a three-fourths clause, by which is meant that the liability of the company is limited to either three-fourths of the value of the property insured, or three-fourths of the loss incurred, according as the clause is worded. The object of this is to make the insured more careful of his property, as the means of fighting a fire are more limited than in big towns or cities.