“By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail.” That quote has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin and rings properly to almost any occasion. The filmmaking industry has been a steady working machine for decades because filmmakers need to plan for all events. However, accidents happen no matter how much we prepare or think we’re ready. That’s why getting entertainment insurance is always a good idea if you’re considering being a serious player in the moviemaking world.

No matter the size of the shoot, equipment, sets, talent, and crew to worry about, a good production insurance policy ensures production with minor hiccups. It’s no surprise that the filmmaking industry is one of the most luxurious and uncertain businesses in which to invest. Yet, with proper entertainment insurance, risks can be minimized and protect those from financial disaster. But unfortunately, many people need clarification about what film production insurance is or how they should get it.

As a result, we’re here to walk through some helpful tips and facts about what to look for when searching for the right entertainment insurance. But first, let’s find out what entertainment insurance is.

 

What is Entertainment Insurance?

Film production insurance protects production companies and film projects from liabilities related to production. It also covers the filmmaker’s production activities, but they’ll have to pick which coverages they want to purchase. For example, an insurance policy for a feature film shooting underwater would vastly differ from a policy for a commercial shoot on a used car lot. Although one would be more expensive, the policies protect the producer should anything go wrong.

Most states in the U.S require film productions to carry insurance before they start-up working on their project. Film production coverage can cover all sorts of things, such as property damage, liability for cast or crew members, and equipment damage or loss. Consequently, policies can protect producers from libel or copyright infringement claims. In addition, no two projects are alike, and a decent film entertainment insurance policy will fit the production company’s demands. Yet, keep in mind that it is essential to know why production would need production insurance.

 

Why is Entertainment Insurance Needed

An entertainment insurance policy should be set up before filming starts. Anyone filming anything on an independent or big-budget scale needs insurance. Producers carry a lot of responsibility for the cast, crew, and equipment on set. A well-written film production insurance policy will protect filmmakers from the exposures associated with their shoots while filming. In addition, the right insurance policy will protect you from various risks depending on the specific product’s needs.

Many policies cover 3rd party bodily harm, injury to the cast or crew, and damage or theft of rented equipment. The right coverage will also fall under damage or theft of drones and damages to rented location property. Some, if not all, of the policies will need purchasing due to laws and regulations. It’s requirement that a certain minimum coverage amount is necessary regardless of the size and the production. Although insurance is essential for production, there are channels to purchase the right policy for your project.

 

How Do I Get Entertainment Insurance

The easiest way to say it is if you are seeking film production insurance, you will need to find an entertainment insurance broker. Traditionally, a producer or production company owner purchases the original policy. Therefore, the search for the right insurance broker is crucial. A filmmaker will want to take the time to find a quality broker who is willing to work hard to get them the best policy, rate, and coverage. Also, a reliable broker comes in handy if you have any problems.

Whether you purchase short-term or annual production insurance, entertainment insurance brokers understand production policies. So, knowing what you are looking for is essential when you’re looking for the right insurance broker. Consequently, you can only have one broker at a time — so choose wisely. In addition, many different insurance policies can help protect the production or company from financial ruin in the ever-changing entertainment insurance industry.

Furthermore, finding the right entertainment insurance broker is the right step forward; it’s a good idea to know what types of policies there are.

 

Short-Term vs. Annual Film

Most video production insurance comes in two forms such as short-term production insurance and annual production insurance. The former covers one project and is flexible, including one day of production or up to one year. Ideally, this type of insurance is used when filmmakers plan to shoot one or two films during the year. Also, short-term insurance covers any shooting and prep days needed for a particular production. Shooting multiple times throughout the year will have the production company or producer purchase an annual policy.

Active production companies most typically employ an annual production policy. They cover all the projects the production company is working on at once and will allow them to cut down on insurance costs in the long run. Annual film insurance can be helpful if you’re working on a larger-scale independent feature film. In addition, they are ideal if you’re working as a freelance producer or filmmaker, producing multiple films each year. Since annual policies are for numerous projects, the production also purchases DICE insurance.

DICE, which stands for Documentaries, Industrials, Commercials, and Educational Films, is applied to more than one project yearly. A DICE policy would also allow coverage of projects such as music videos, short films, public service announcements, etc. In addition, it ensures that it provides pre-arranged coverage for the specialized production categories. Yet, there are times when insurance carriers include feature films and short films in their DICE coverage program — it depends on the budget and the type of content.

 

Film Equipment Insurance

Every production should have its equipment insured for any possible outcome. Equipment coverage or gear coverage is one of the most critical aspects of production insurance policies. Filmmakers want to make sure their expensive equipment is always covered. It’s important to note that particular aspect of production equipment. The policy should cover camera equipment and accessories, grip and lighting gear, sound equipment, and all other related production gear. There are some essential tips when it comes to this type of coverage.

Before getting to set, deep knowledge of the policy coverages and exclusions is crucial to avoiding unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. This notion is why it’s handy to have an entertainment insurance broker on hand. They will help the filmmaker decide the right optional equipment coverages if the occasion occurs. In addition, most production rental houses will require the filmmaker to cover the replacement value of the equipment they’re renting. On the more expensive side, some may require a $250,000 to $500,000 minimum coverage.

 

Worker’s Compensation Insurance

Just about any business in any industry and production will require Workers’ Compensation Insurance. The Workers’ Compensation policy provides coverage for employees the filmmaker hires as cast and crew for production-related injuries or illness. However, purchasing this insurance is through an entertainment payroll company as part of a production policy package. Also, acquiring it comes through your state’s Workers’ Compensation fund.

As the title states, Workers’ compensation will cover your employees’ medical costs of work-related injuries. Additionally, the insurance company applies the policy to pay time off if their injuries prevent them from working. Another valuable benefit of Workers’ Comp is providing death benefits to their families if the employee dies.

 

General Liability

General Liability is typically a great starting point when shopping for production insurance. This form of insurance provides coverage for bodily injury to third parties, which parties are non-cast and non-crew. For example, production is protected through general liability if bystanders or spectators are involved in an accident on set during the shooting. For many production policies, general liability insurance is the foundation. Every producer needs to have it before a shoot starts. Also, the policy guarantees coverage for any accidents involving working vehicles during production.

Any productions shooting on location, in a venue, or working with a city and permit office will likely need general liability coverage. Therefore, filmmakers or production companies should obtain general liability insurance, especially if they plan to shoot projects in public settings. Although film production insurance policies vary widely, general liability is a must.

 

What are Errors and Omissions

The Errors and Omission (often abbreviated as E&O) coverage protects a production company against claims of unauthorized usage of someone saying that their idea or likeness was stolen. The range includes characters, titles, copyrighted materials, plots, ideas, and various forms of plagiarism. The nature of the entertainment business allows many people to come and make claims of stories being taken and used without their permission. Therefore, any production would want this policy in their back pocket if a claim were to occur.

Production companies generally need some form of E&O insurance. The coverage also allows the film to make any form of profit. It’ll cover the final distributed movie or TV show, whether it hits theaters, online, or streaming. These are the most common insurance policies used for film productions.

 

Conclusion

The best film production insurance is the best insurance suited for your production. Generally, there is no right or wrong insurance policy. Just as long you have the coverage needed for all aspects of a production. Ideally, producers and production companies should leave aside as much money as they can in their film budget for production insurance. It’ll benefit the production and any future projects.