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April 1998 Vol. 13, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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More Insurance

Photo equipment, dive gear, and luggage

from the April, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

When we divers tote thousands of dollars of diving and camera equipment through dark foreign airports or Miami, for that matter its no wonder that we worry about whether it will arrive. Airline confusion is one thing. Someone rifling our bags is quite another.

Baggage loss or theft may be covered by homeowners or renters policies that have an off-premises clause. And if youre traveling and charge the trip on your credit card, coverage may be provided as a cardholders benefit.

If youre interested in extra baggage loss and baggage delay coverage, its available in many travel packages, including travel coverage written by Access America (800-284-8300), Travel Guard (800-826-1300), CSA (800-348- 9505), and TravelSafe (888-885-7233). However, make sure the policy covers dive travel before you purchase coverage. (Some companies, such as Travel Insured, will not cover you if diving is the principal purpose of your trip.)

Be aware that baggage loss policies often have low limits, typically $200 to $2000, and that baggage delay coverage is generally intended only to cover replacement of essential personal items - a toothbrush and a bar of soap. It usually does not cover rental dive gear (although claims up to the coverage maximum could be made for lost gear).

When I attended the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association Trade Show in January, I learned about a new equipment loss policy just for divers: the Divers Equipment Protection Plan (DEPP), offered by Innovative Programs Group, a Louisville, Kentucky, insurance brokerage. Its underwritten by American International Group (AIG), which is listed on the NYSE and rated A+ by A.M. Best Company, the independent agency that has been rating the reliability of insurers since 1905.

IPG Vice President Sandy Hall told Undercurrent that the idea of dive equipment coverage grew out of an experience of my husband, Gary. He had his dive gear stolen and thought it was covered under his homeowners insurance. He recovered only $150 because the company depreciated all of his equipment.

IPGs plan, which offers a minimum of $1000 coverage for $35/year and a maximum of $10,000 for $145/year, covers damage, breakage, loss, and theft. DEPP also covers rental gear (up to $150) and it insures cameras and photographic equipment.

DEPP has a few unusual policy restrictions: coverage only becomes effective thirty days after IPG receives an itemized list of equipment, and IPG does not pay cash when settling claims. Instead, it replaces or repairs the equipment, because, as Hall says, that way there is no incentive to create mysterious or fraudulent losses.

(For more information about DEPP, call 1-800-788-4096 or 502-454-4152 or innprogrp@aol.com. You can enroll either over the phone or on their web site -- www.programservices.com.)

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