You have your script ready to go. When you’re in pre-production planning, you’ll focus on assembling your team of creatives, locations, and gear. You’ll inevitably run into hundreds of questions and decisions, especially surrounding your budget. There’s one thing many filmmakers quickly dismiss that could hurt themselves and their production in the long run – film insurance. Regardless of your project and budget, film insurance is not only essential for protecting your production and yourself from unexpected emergencies that arise on set. In this blog, I’ll explain what film insurance is and why you need it, especially for your independent film sets.
What is Film Insurance?
Film insurance is insurance specifically designed to protect the financial interests of film production companies and the cast and crew involved in the production. Film insurance provides financial protection against various types of risks and uncertainties that may arise during the production process, such as accidents, equipment damage, natural disasters, and legal disputes.
Film insurance usually covers these risks:
- Property damage: This covers damage to equipment, sets, and props during filming.
- Liability: This covers the production company, cast, and crew if someone is injured or their property is damaged due to the production.
- Business interruption: This covers losses incurred if production is delayed or canceled due to an insured event.
- Extra expense: This covers additional expenses incurred to complete the production, such as re-shooting scenes.
- Cast insurance: This covers the costs associated with replacing an actor unable to complete the production due to injury, illness, or death.
This video by Indie Film Hustle explains more about film insurance in depth:
Film insurance policies are customized to meet the specific needs of each production and may include a combination of the above coverages. Production companies can minimize their financial exposure by having film insurance and ensuring that their projects are completed on time and within budget. Film insurance also helps get your film to the next step, distribution!
Types of Film Insurance
There are two different types of film insurance that film insurance companies offer. These are short-term insurance policies and annual policies for production companies that film numerous projects throughout the year. While annual film policies are called DICE (documentary, industrial, commercial, and educational films), you are typically covered for feature films, short films, music videos, and other new media content.
Since I own a production company, Miss Ash Productions, that films various projects over a year, my company uses DICE annual coverage. It’s saved us time and energy and helped our relationship with casts, crew, locations, and rental companies. I highly recommend DICE annual coverage for indie filmmakers to protect themselves, their projects, and their gear for a low cost.
Bonus fact: When searching for a film insurance company, you should search for a film insurance agency. While film insurance companies supply your film insurance policy, film insurance agencies help negotiate different things you may need, from liabilities to errors and omissions.
4 Reasons You Need Film Insurance
Film insurance is essential for four main reasons. Film insurance can protect you as the filmmaker against financial losses, helps you meet industry standards, provides liability coverage, and protects against legal disputes.
1) Financial Losses
Having film insurance protects you against financial losses. Film production is a complex and costly process, and unforeseen events such as natural disasters, accidents, or equipment damage can result in significant financial losses. This includes equipment breaking on set, getting stolen from your car, or, in some extreme cases, overwriting footage. In some highly advanced cases, film insurance can help secure additional funding for necessary re-shoots because of accidents on set. Film insurance provides financial protection against these types of losses and helps ensure that a film production remains on track and within budget.
2) Meet Industry Standards
Film insurance allows you as the filmmaker to meet industry standards. While your creative team may come onto your project at low rates and discounted rentals, film insurance is essential to protect your team and their gear. Film insurance is often a requirement for production companies to secure funding and a condition for rental companies to supply equipment. It’s also a standard requirement for location shoots and obtaining permits to film in specific locations.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to obtain permits when filming in major film cities. Your gear could get confiscated, and your shoot could get shut down. Insurance can’t save you in that case! For more about applying for permits in the Los Angeles area, visit the Film LA Website.
3) Liability Coverage
Film insurance provides liability coverage for the production company, cast, and crew.
This is particularly important in an accident on set or if someone is injured due to the production. No one plans to have injuries on set, but accidents are bound to happen with the quick-paced nature, long hours, and often unsafe working conditions. Film insurance protects you as an individual and allows any financial claims and lawsuits to be brought against your production instead of you personally. Liability insurance protects everyone, from cast to crew to locations to gear.
4) Legal Disputes
Finally, film insurance protects against legal disputes. It’s no secret that projects with similar themes and storylines are constantly developing simultaneously. Film insurance protection from legal disputes comes in handy if your film features similar storylines, characters, or disputable creative choices identical to another story, movie, or piece of art.
To read more about famous films under the scrutiny of copyright infringement, check out this article by Taste of Cinema.
Film insurance also protects against legal disputes, such as those arising from copyright infringement or defamation. This can help protect the production company, cast, and crew from the significant legal costs associated with these disputes.
If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs and troubleshooting on Film Production, here are some additional posts you may want to look at:
While filmmaking is a fun and fast-paced environment, accidents and oversight are bound to happen. Especially when renting gear, locations, and working with many creatives, film insurance should be a top priority. Film insurance helps protect your investment and production, especially while you are on set. Even at the shoestring budget level, great companies like Thimble offer affordable coverage.
Film insurance is an essential part of the film production process, as it provides financial protection, meets industry standards, offers liability coverage, and protects against legal disputes.
Like every other type of insurance, it’s much more expensive to fix a problem after it happens. Gain that leg up on your projects by protecting yourself and your investment with film insurance. Let me know in the comments which film insurance agencies you prefer or have used in the past. Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you learned about film insurance and why you need it for your film.