Who Needs Production Insurance?

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If you work in film production, then you will certainly understand things don’t always go according to plan. Whether your shoot runs late, an intern loses a piece of equipment, crew members get injured, or in a terrible situation, your set, props, and assets are robbed. For all of these reasons, production insurance is a must for any film or video production.

Even if you have had production insurance before, you may not be sure if you have a good policy. We are going to help you to understand why you need production insurance, who needs production insurance, and which types of insurance you should have.

What Is Production Insurance?

Film production insurance is similar to other forms of business insurance. Film production protects your production from liability. This type of protection covers a specific amount of money, and each insurance policy has a different deductible.

Many film production insurance policies will not only cover on-set injuries, but they can also cover damage to your equipment. Each policy is specifically tailored to the individual or company’s needs, and many specialized insurances can be added depending on your situation.

The difference comes into play when you are purchasing insurance for film production versus simple video production services. For example, you will need a lot less coverage for a commercial shoot versus a major motion picture shot in the middle of a desert; wind, sand, and the sun are just a few of the problems one would face.

The bottom line is that production insurance will help to protect you whether something happens before the shoot, during shooting, or even after filming. The main purpose of having production insurance is to pay a bit now and avoid possible huge losses in the future.

Who Needs to Buy Production Insurance?

Anyone working in production either in film, commercial, or video should purchase production insurance. In terms of who pays, that’s normally up to the producer. Typically the executive or back-office producers will then work with the insurance advisors to keep them in the loop.

Regardless of how prepared you might be for your film or accident, it is always possible for something to go wrong during a shoot. Having production insurance is the ace in your pocket that allows you to avoid all of these possibilities breaking the bank and jeopardizing your operations.

If you are in video production of any kind, you need production insurance. Even if you own a small video editing and production company, this insurance is necessary. You can essentially compare production insurance to specialized business insurance.

What Does Production Insurance Cover?

Most production insurance policies will cover everything from injuries, equipment damage, copyright issues, and even car trouble.

Special policies can also be added depending on your film or situation. Often an entertainment broker will serve a niche market. This means they will either choose indie films, big-budget films, or another market.

The main purpose of having this insurance is because, in all reality, things happen. Whether your expensive stage lights break, a costume catches on fire, someone gets hurt, or an intern gets into an accident, it is important that your production does not take the brunt of the financial repercussions for this. That’s where insurance comes in and it is a life saver in many cases.

Examples of when you might need productions insurance

  • Damage to a location: If you are shooting outside of a set location, then you might accidentally cause damages.
  • Damage to property: If a stage light is placed next to a fire sprinkler and it triggers the entire system, you will have some damage.
  • Damage to borrowed items: Whether this is clothing, shoes, a prop, or anything else of value, your insurance will cover this.
  • Loss or theft: Unfortunately, theft happens. If anything such as cameras or other equipment is lost or stolen, you will be covered for the replacement.

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What Are the Coverages You Need to Get?

General Liability

This form of insurance is actually quite standard when purchasing any form of insurance. General Liability covers both premises and locations for bodily injury. It also covers damage to third parties during the entire time of filming.

Most General Liability policies have a one million dollar limit, but it can often be increased if needed. Although not every video production insurance policy is the same, your policy will almost always have General Liability. Specifically, the Screen Actors Guild requires you to hold this form of insurance if hiring any of their members.

Workers Compensation

Workers’ Compensation insurance not only protects you, but this type of insurance also protects your employees. Workers’ Comp is often provided through your payroll company, but it is there in case someone becomes injured while working on-set.

Workers’ Comp helps to cover any medical expenses and the costs involved with employees no longer being able to work on-set. It can also include paid time off if their injury prevents them from returning to work. Additionally, if an employee tragically dies, Workers’ Compensation insurance will provide funeral and death benefits for their family.

This form of insurance also covers 1099 freelancers, as well as the payrolled cast and crew. It can even cover volunteers such as volunteer actors.

Errors and Omissions

Also known as Professional Liability, Errors and Omissions insurance covers your final product. It does not matter if you release your video or film online, in theatres, or if you simply stream it, Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance will protect it.

E&O insurance protects against:

  • Slander
  • Intellectual Property insurance losses
  • Libel
  • Defamation of character
  • Unauthorized use of your final product
  • The ideas of your product
  • Plagiarism

This insurance coverage can also help to protect against lawsuits that claim you have used copyrighted materials. E&O insurance can support you in creating a lawsuit against someone who is using your copyrighted materials.

Additionally, your coverage can also cover any claims of plagiarism, defamation, or invasion of privacy. Your actual policy might have conditions, but this coverage is extremely important if you end up being sued. Rather than having to pay out a settlement, you can protect yourself and take up E&O coverage.

Inland Marine

Even though the name of this form of insurance is somewhat funny-sounding, it actually gets its name from “Ocean Marine Insurance”. This form of insurance historically covers property transported over water. Inland Marine insurance is a bit different.

When used with Production insurance, Inland Marine insurance covers all moveable property. This can include video cameras, production set equipment, trailers, and even costumes.

The reason you need this insurance is that when you are filming, you are often in transit. Even if you are simply filming an event or concert, this policy will cover all moveable property. This coverage can even include speakers, lighting setups, or other equipment needed for your event.

For example, if you are producing a show and the artist falls over a speaker, consequentially destroying it by punching a hole in it, you will be covered. This speaker would actually be covered up to the full limits on your policy, which is oftentimes going to be the replacement value of the equipment.

Special Events

Special Events coverage is essentially videographer insurance for companies that record special events.

This type of coverage is for a variety of events such as:

  • Concerts
  • Marathons
  • Raves and festivals
  • Historical re-enactments
  • Fireworks
  • Antique shoes
  • Sporting events
  • Theatre events

This form of video production insurance is incredibly important because you never know what is going to occur when you are out of a controlled environment. Special Events insurance can help to keep you, your crew, and your equipment covered. It is often bundled with other forms of insurance, such as General Liability or Workers’ Compensation.

Cost of Production Insurance

All production insurance needs to be quoted by an entertainment insurance broker. Typically though, production insurance is determined by your budget and risk level.

It is the case that up to 3% of your film’s budget should be set aside for entertainment insurance. Even though this is the top of what you will typically spend, it is still important to have enough of a budget for this important insurance, just in case.

What is a COI?

The COI is a certificate of insurance. This document displays all of your insurance information. If you are on a film set, then it is crucial to have one of these on the set at all times. If trouble arises, you will need to have access to it.

Whether someone breaks something expensive, a camera falls, or your intern crashes a car while purchasing a coffee for the crew, having a COI is one of the most important pieces of paper you can have to prove your insurance. This vital documentation will definitely come in handy, should something happen.

Production Insurance is Necessary

Regardless of what type of production you are working on, this type of insurance is incredibly important. Similar to driving a car without insurance, if you produce a film without insurance then you are leaving yourself available for huge legal risk.

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