You’re preparing to produce a film. You know you’ve got a great script and a talented cast. You’ve got the crew and the locations to pull it off. You’re set up to rent filmmaking equipment. Plus, you know that you’ll need insurance to protect the production if any equipment is lost, stolen, or damaged. But what you may not know is the kind of coverage you’ll need to do that.
1) GENERAL LIABILITY
The most basic of all premiums, getting general liability coverage, is always the first step in protecting your production and a must-have to rent filmmaking equipment. Not to mention, most cities/counties require proof of its purchase before they’ll issue any permits. The standard minimum policy is a million dollars. But if you feel you need more, they’re usually issued in multiples of one million dollars. No, it won’t protect that equipment, but it will cover injuries to the onlookers every film shoot invariably attracts. Along with any damage to property not connected with the production.
A few years ago, I was on an exterior night shoot for an independent film. The crew was set-up on the sidewalk outside a cafe. Two PAs directed pedestrian traffic while our DP filmed two beautiful actresses exiting the café and strutting down the street. An older gentleman, presumably mesmerized by the lovely ladies, neglected to look where he was going and stumbled over a C-Stand that held a flag. As he fell, the C-Stand toppled over and shattered the windshield of a parked car that did not belong to the crew or cast. Needless to say, the owner of that car expected the production to cover the cost of replacing his windshield. And when the gentleman broke his wrist, he billed the production for his medical expenses. Thankfully, our general liability policy covered both.
2) INLAND MARINE
It’s got nothing to do with the water. Instead, this kind of insurance covers the inanimate objects you’ll be using on land. Cameras and equipment, lights, mics, and props all fall under this category. They are protected, whether they’re damaged while used or transported from one location to another. To rent filmmaking equipment, most houses will require a policy with a minimum coverage of anywhere from $250,000-$500,000. Sure, it’s more than likely the collective value of your rentals isn’t even half that, but these businesses don’t know you anymore than you know them. They want to guarantee the protection of their valuable inventory if and when disaster strikes.
Last year I produced a project, and one of its pivotal scenes occurred in a crowded nightclub complete with deejay and laser light show. Our director of photography was a novice and, unfortunately, unaware that the lasers would obliterate the camera’s digital sensor and thereby render that camera utterly useless. No, production didn’t have to replace the camera. Still, our inland marine policy covered the pretty penny it cost to fix the sensor.
In response to the Sunshine State’s popularity as a filming location, several companies specializing in production insurance have opened to meet the demand. I suggest choosing one that offers coverage in all aspects of the process. Taylor & Taylor Associates and Worldwide Entertainment Insurance in Miami are amongst the best I’ve worked with, and I would highly recommend both.
Here at Moving Picture Rental, we accept inland marine coverage for a variety of packages designed to meet all your production needs.