Filmmaking insurance is a necessary part of ensuring that exposures don’t turn into a financial disaster. Depending on the size of your production, you may not even be able to start shooting without at least some form of business insurance coverage.
Insurance can help a lot. You never know when the videographers or actors can get injured while filming. Your studio’s sound engineer might mess up and use a copyrighted track. Unreleased photos and videos of the film might result in a claim for breach of confidentiality. Today, we’ll explore various types of filmmaker and film production insurance, including how much you can expect to pay for coverage, and more.
Also known as film production insurance, insurance for movie production is a protection that you’ll find very useful if you’re in charge of a movie or film. Inclusions are as follows:
The most common type of liability insurance you’ll come across in this industry is general liability insurance for film production. This will cover:
Third-Party Personal Injuries
|Bystanders are prohibited from entering the premises of a production set. This is to protect the cast and bystanders also. However, if a bystander incurs injuries while you’re shooting a scene regardless of the precaution observed, general liability insurance will cover the medical expenses you’re responsible for|
Third-Party Property Damage
|If not injuries, then third-parties might incur property damage. This is very likely if you’re shooting a scene involving explosions, gunfights, and more. General liability insurance will reimburse a person whose property got damaged while filming because of your fault|
|There might be a legal fiasco after a third party sustained an injury or property damage. General liability insurance sees to it that you don’t spend a single penny for legal defense. It will provide the money you can use for attorney fees, administrative costs, settlements, and other expenses|
Filmmaker general liability insurance comes with an optional rented premises liability coverage and products-completed operations coverage. Here’s a quick discussion of their function:
Rented premises liability coverage - You rent commercial space and use it as a set and storage of production equipment. If such commercial space is damaged by fire because of your negligence, rented premises liability coverage will reimburse the property owner. Note that this is typically used as a film set insurance.
Products and completed operations coverage - If someone got injured while you’re filming and the person decides to file a claim only later after the project has been completed, products and completed operations coverage will cover attorney fees, administrative costs, and other expenses on your behalf.
Note that general liability insurance doesn’t cover employees. This filmmaking insurance won’t protect you from claims made by assistants and other production staff.
One of the most common forms of movie insurance is public liability coverage, which will protect customers and visitors in case of injuries, accidents, or property damage on your movie set. For example, if a caterer ends up getting injured while delivering food for the cast, you’ll be covered by your PLI policy.
You can expect to pay an average of about $20 per month, or $237 per year, on public liability insurance for filming. This is a lower rate than other kinds of businesses because of the reduced frequency with which members of the public tend to visit film sets, which tend to be rather closed environments.
Errors and omissions insurance film policies aren’t common in many other industries, but they’re uniquely suited to filmmaking. This kind of policy will protect film producers who use unauthorized titles, plots, characters, and more. It will also cover you in case of defamation, libel, or slander case.
Certain types of productions may have more affordable E&O coverage due to the reduced likelihood of them being charged for things like slander. Other productions may find their E&O coverage more expensive. For example, errors and omissions insurance documentary film may be extremely expensive if the documentary is about a living subject and it portrays them in a negative light.
Due to the nature of filmmaking and how fictional characters can often be interpreted as representations of real (and potential litigious individuals), this movie insurance is often required by production studios.
Film equipment or film gear insurance is a broad term for a plethora of insurance products that provide coverage if film gears become damaged or lost. The following are what can be considered as video equipment insurance.
This video equipment insurance is one of the most common forms of coverage for film production. Equipment breakdown insurance will reimburse your losses if camera, lighting, microphone, computers, and other film or movie production equipment gets lost or damaged in the set. By the way, note that there’s a stand-alone film camera insurance that’s available if you only want to insure camcorders and other similar devices.
Film equipment rental insurance will reimburse what you spend in production equipment rental if yours are being repaired or got lost. Furthermore, this type of production equipment insurance will reimburse the owner if rented film equipment becomes lost or damaged due to fire, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils.
This video production equipment insurance will cover your losses if filming gear becomes lost or damaged while they’re being delivered from one location to another due to theft, fire, vandalism, and other covered perils.
Also known as short-term film production insurance, these policies will typically last up to 15 days, allowing you to shoot things like commercials or short films without having to take out an annual policy. These policies typically include film equipment rental insurance, commercial property insurance, and general liability insurance.
The shortest (yet most expensive per day) kind of video production insurance is one-day coverage. If you intend to wrap up a project in a day and you don’t expect to produce any more films over the course of the next year, then you may end up saving with one of these policies despite their high per-day cost.
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Tailored filmmaker insurance is a coverage for independent filmmakers. Inclusions in this insurance product are general liability insurance and media liability insurance.
General liability insurance will cover expenses if a vendor, client, or any other third parties experience a slip and fall accident on the premises of your office and sustain an injury. Specific costs covered are attorney fees, administrative costs, compensatory payments, and more.
Media liability insurance is a type of errors and omissions insurance that provides coverage if you committed or allegedly committed offenses that violate the ethics of media professionals, which resulted in economic or financial losses to affected parties. Usually written as a named-perils policy, this film liability insurance will cover attorney fees, administrative costs, and other legal expenses if you're sued for:
Invasion of privacy
Insurance companies underwrite a tailored policy for video production companies that don’t only offer the above insurance we discussed but also other film industry insurance available. Further inclusions are:
Commercial property insurance is a coverage for your film’s company’s tangible assets - buildings, video equipment, and more. A basic commercial property insurance provides protection against:
Building destruction - If your production company’s commercial building gets engulfed in flames or turned into debris by extreme weather, commercial property insurance will provide money you can use for reconstruction
Building damage - Theft, fire, extreme weather, vandalism, and other covered perils can damage your video production company’s commercial space. In such a situation, commercial property insurance will reimburse the value of damaged structures
There are additional inclusions in commercial property insurance - business equipment coverage, and stocks and contents coverage. Below is quick explanation of how these work:
Stocks and contents coverage - This will recoup what you spent on the furniture, interior decorations, and other installations that got damaged or lost due to fire, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils while in the commercial building
Business equipment and tools coverage - Don’t confuse this one with equipment breakdown insurance. While equipment breakdown insurance provides coverage if production equipment becomes damaged or lost while being used, business equipment and tools coverage will recoup losses if equipment got damaged or lost due to fire, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils while stored in your production company’s commercial building
Your video production company has a lot of employees - filmmakers, writers, graphic designers, videographers, and more. The law requires you to purchase workers' compensation insurance for them. Do otherwise and you’ll face stiff penalties. So what does this do? The following are what workers' compensation insurance covers:
Medical treatment/procedure - An employee might get hurt by a prop or fall from a height and sustain injuries. It’s also possible to contract work-related illnesses. Workers' compensation insurance will provide the money needed if your employee needs surgeries, therapies, and other types of medical attention
Hospitalization - Workers compensation insurance sees to it that your video production company’s employee gets adequate hospitalization by covering the bills no matter how costly and how long his or her stay will be
Medication - Work-related injuries and illnesses will sometimes require the employee to take medicines for a full recovery. Workers' compensation insurance covers this too. It will provide the money your video production company’s employee can use to buy the needed meds
Rehabilitation - Does your employee need rehab after sustaining a work-related injury or disease? Workers' compensation got your back in this case. It will pay for therapist fees, rehabilitation equipment, and other associated costs until your employee is fit enough to come back to work or look for another job
Lost income compensation - You need to cover lost wages if an employee can’t work due to a work-related injury or disease. Workers' compensation insurance sees to it that you don’t use business funds to do so. It provides a weekly allowance as compensation for lost income. This is equal to two-thirds or 67% of the average weekly wage
Death benefits - Workers' compensation insurance doesn’t rule out the possibility of an employee dying from a work-related injury or disease. And so, it also pays for funeral expenses and provides financial aid to dependents
Your video production company surely owns a vehicle used to transport personnel, haul equipment, etc. Owning a vehicle for commercial use means that you need to get commercial auto insurance. So what perks does this insurance offer? The following are protections you’ll enjoy:
Auto liability coverage - Auto liability coverage will cover the medical expenses of injured third parties and reimburse the owners of damaged properties as caused by an accident your video production company’s commercial vehicle caused. This will also pay for attorney fees, administrative costs, compensatory payments, and other legal expenses if aggrieved parties decide to take legal recourse
Physical damage coverage - This is underwritten as a collision and comprehensive insurance coverage. Collision physical damage coverage will pay for parts repair or replacement if your business’s commercial vehicle crashed into another vehicle or object, which resulted in damage. On the other hand, comprehensive physical damage coverage will cover expenses if your video production company’s commercial vehicle got damaged by fire, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils. Damage due to rollovers and normal wear and tear is excluded. Aftermarket parts aren’t covered
MedPay/personal injury protection - MedPay and personal injury protection will cover the driver and the passengers of your video production company’s commercial vehicle. If injuries are incurred during a vehicular accident, MedPay will cover medical and funeral expenses. Personal injury protection does the same but offers additional coverage for lost income compensation, after-hospital visits, and more
Production insurance for short film includes general liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, and equipment breakdown insurance. You can decide to get this as a usage-based insurance policy. The average short film insurance cost ranges between $58 per month - or $684 per year.
Post-production insurance is what you’ll call products and completed operations coverage - an inclusion in general liability insurance for film production. Again, this will cover losses if a completed film production project caused personal injuries or property damage to third parties.
Film and TV insurance are pretty similar when it comes to prices and the policies that you’d want to get to cover your production. The most common types of policies that are used in television productions include equipment coverage and general liability insurance.
Filmmaking insurance cost depends on a wide range of factors, but the most major one is the size of your production. For example, independent film insurance may be relatively affordable. A larger production will have more employees on set who will need to be covered in addition to more expensive gear, so that will drive up the cost of insurance. But on average, expect to pay $56 per month or $672 per year for a $1 million general liability coverage. In addition, here are the rates of the best filmmaking insurance companies.
|Cost per Month||Cost per Year||Best for|
|CoverWallet||$48||$576||Film production insurance quotes comparison online|
|Thimble||$52||$624||Short-term film production insurance|
|AON||$56||$672||Film production companies and filmmakers looking for an insurance company that underwrites many types of film industry insurance|
|MovieInsure||$58||$696||Film shoot and tv production insurance|
Short-term media production insurance tends to be a little more affordable overall, but it’s also more expensive per day compared to annual policies. For example, you may end up paying $40 for a 10-day general liability policy for a short production, which is pricey if you consider the cost per day, but you won’t be stuck in the policy after that.
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It’s often a good idea to know a bit more about some of the best film insurance companies that you can expect to work with. Due to the specifics of this kind of insurance, you’ll typically find yourself working with more specialized carriers that have experience with film industry insurance. Here are reviews that will show you the best firm production insurance companies' pros, cons, and pricing for a $1 million general liability coverage.
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Not an insurance company but an insurance broker
CoverWallet offers tailored insurance for film production companies. The first inclusion is general liability insurance having optional products and completed operations coverage and rented premises liability coverage.
The second inclusion in CoverWallet’s film production insurance is commercial property insurance with equipment breakdown coverage and rental equipment coverage.
Workers' compensation insurance is the fourth inclusion. This offers an optional employer’s liability insurance that provides protection if an employee sues for negligence after experiencing a work-related injury or disease.
Note that CoverWallet has an online quotes comparison platform you can use to find other companies selling tailored film production insurance. All you have to do is provide basic business information and you’ll receive numerous insurance quotes.
Best for: Film production insurance quotes comparison online
Average cost: $48
Our rating: 10/10
Get insured online fast
Quick to process claims
ACORD 25 certificate of liability insurance
Customer service can’t be reached by telephone
Thimble’s film production insurance is an on-demand short-term insurance policy offering general liability insurance and errors and omission insurance. It’s not very comprehensive but everything is fine because you can choose to get commercial property insurance and equipment breakdown insurance as separate stand-alone policies from Thimble.
Best for: Short-term film production insurance
Average cost: $52
Our rating: 9/10
Offers all kinds of insurance for media production
A parent company of CoverWallet
May take long to process a claim
AON provides its film insurance clients with coverage through its media production policies. These are robust and designed to fit the needs of any media production, including short films, feature films, and much more.
Best for: Film production companies and filmmakers looking for an insurance company that underwrites many types of film industry insurance
Average cost: $56
Our rating: 8/10
Offers tailored film shoot and tv production insurance film
A pricey option
MovieInsure specializes in both film shoot insurance and TV production insurance. Coverages offered are general liability insurance, equipment breakdown insurance, and property in transit insurance.
Best for: Film shoot and tv production insurance
Average cost: $58
Our rating: 7/10
This place is an absolute joke of a company and should be ashamed of the way they conduct business. I was hurt on the job at the end of July and it took them just shy of 7 weeks to issue out a paycheck to me. Yes the amount was back dated but still. Not many have the luxury of not receiving a paycheck for almost 2 months. To top it all off, the original adjuster marked me down for the wrong state which caused a problem from the get go, I've had 3 different adjusters now since each one can't seem to figure out the simplicity of my claim. All my paperwork which includes, my job, house, and drs visits all are from the same state and city but yet some how I have been filed under a completely different state 1500 miles away. They do not answer your phone calls or emails no matter how many you leave. I've had to escalate my frustrations to the supervisors of each of these individuals in order to even get some kind of response. I've had more communication and information given to me about my claim from the customer service representatives then the actual adjusters.......... please tell me how that works?! A serious overhaul needs to happen here in order to serve your clients the way they deserve to be taken care of. 10/10 do not recommend this company to a single soul on earth
I have never had the displeasure of working with a more incompetent and disrespectful person in my life. I’m an injured worker and the adjuster that was assigned to my case was named Carrie Furgeson. In the past 6 weeks that I’ve been injured and out of work I have only been able to get ahold of her twice, not for lack of trying. I have left countless voicemails, countless emails, and she ignores them all. When I am finally able to get ahold of her I’m greeted with terrible customer service. She is rude, she talks over me and I’m hardly able to get a word in edgewise. She spelled my name wrong on my documents even after I spelled it for her properly countless times, this caused a whole new issue with my bank. I have bill collectors from the hospital calling me demanding payment and Carrie Furgeson won’t do a single thing to help, or to get them paid. All of my documentation is in Colorado, my job is in Colorado, my address is in Colorado, all my Dr offices and appointments have been in Colorado and Carrie still managed to hold my claim because she wasn’t sure what state she needed to file it under. It’s been 6 weeks since my Injury and my company still hasn’t received the wage paperwork to fill out so they can get me my correct wages. When she’s not ignoring me she’s answering my questions with “I don’t know” well I don’t know how she got this job, because apparently she doesn’t know anything about it. She is a disgusting morose individual inside and out and I genuinely wish her the worst in all of her future endeavors. I highly recommend you don’t use this company. Please if you are a business owner and your looking into this company please don’t use them. I’m sure they have the cheapest payment and that’s why companies use them in the first place, but you will be doing your employees a grave disservice by forcing them to venture into this absolute dumpster fire of a company. I would rate 0/5 if possible but 1 was the lowest I was allowed.
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