Last Tuesday after an all-day shoot, I returned to my studio to start the downloading process, then I went home to put my feet up and relax. Little did I know something catastrophic was about to unfold. The next morning when I arrived at work, the entire building was flooded; a lake nearly two inches deep filled every room. Sub-zero temperatures had frozen a pipe, and when it warmed up enough on Tuesday evening, the pipe defrosted and the water began flowing. While we were lucky enough to have most of our equipment shelved and protected, it’s still amazing how much damage was done. All of the floors will be ripped out, and the walls have been torn down to the studs in a two-foot strip around every room. Some things were saved by nothing more than a fluke. My computer, for instance, sat on the floor and by all rights should have been ruined, but the design of the Mac Pro tower put about two inches of air between the guts of the computer and the floor. A lucky break, for sure. But even if my computer had been destroyed my images would have been safe because of the backup plan I have in place. And because we have insurance, even though it’s going to be a huge pain to put our business on hold and repair the damage, in the end we should be okay. So let this serve as a reminder that catastrophes do happen, so you should make sure you have some plans in place. One, a plan to backup and protect your invaluable image files in case of flood or fire or theft, and two, the necessary insurance to repair or replace your gear should something horrible happen. For hobbyist photographers, your typical homeowner’s insurance policy should take care of you, though if you have an extensive collection of expensive equipment you may want to consider a rider specifically for its protection. If you’re running a photo business—even part-time—you’ll want to be sure you’ve got the right coverage in place. Here’s a helpful link to The Modern Tog photo blog with good insights on the six kinds of insurance every photo business should have. With any luck this sort of thing won’t happen to you, but if you’re prepared it’s good to know you will get through it.