Risky Business - Film and Video Insurance

Risky Business - Film and Video Insurance

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Production Insurance

ldance's picture

Great timing.  But one question.  I already have business insurance covering my equipment and liability.  However, I'm about to head off on an expensive shoot in the Ukraine where I'm told theft is a problem.  I'm bringing a crew, spending lots of money, and I wonder if there's insurance I should be purchasing to cover loss or theft of the footage we acquire.  When I called my insurance company, they seemed clueless.  If our footage is stolen, is it possible to insure for the cost of the production?

Don't Overlook E&O

Ed Merritt's picture

My local videographers association recently had a presentation by a local wedding videographer that told one of the most gut-wrenching stories I'd ever heard. He endured a major lawsuit and was nearly put out of business as a result of dropping a hard drive and losing the raw video of a dozen weddings. While most of the couples settled with him, one decided to sue him for $45,000 and won. He had no E&O insurance, was not incorporated and did not have a well-written  contract.

E&O is "errors and omissions" insurance which would have likely paid the claim to the bride. Instead, he had to settle with her and pay the claim out of his pocket.

He has since recovered but his reputation has suffered a bit, although he is always transparent about the issue with potential clients. 

If you're in the business, get insured. It just may save your bacon. And, consider being incorporated (LLC). That will protect your personal assets. WIthout that protection, your assets could be at risk.

Wedding Videographer Insurance

SDVideo's picture

I was hired to do a wedding and had a second shooter pull a no show at the church. Missed the arrival and had a very unhappy bride threatening to sue. You never think it will happen and then suddenly it did. Thankfully we worked out a financial settlement and she did not but I immediately purchased a Professional Liablity or E&0 policy from www.videographerinsurance.com. They presented 3 separate quotes and I selected the lowest at $34 a month. Paid with my VISA and go my policy emailed to me right away.

Production Insurance

JohnNorris's picture

So I took your advice and called up Film Emporium. They were very nice on the phone. I was able to get my insurance for my shoot this weekend! I was greatfull they were able to do it so fast! I highly recommend them!

Be careful about these sneaky insurance company policies!

Be careful about these sneaky insurance company policies and their exclusions! I make online videos and found the insurance search grueling. I learned many awful things:
• renter's / homeowner's policies of the major companies often don't cover items if you use the for business

• many of the special entertainment, videographer equipment, and photographer association insurance polices were absurd costing a lot of money with high deductibles. I often found policies costing around $300-700 with deductibles typically at $500. So 1 item alone would need to cost at least $2,000 to be worth is. And even in that example a $1,200 payout for a $2k item is not too impressive. These polices seem better for people with around $5-10k of equipment with most items at least valued at $2k each to be worth it.

• ALWAYS ask questions by email to ensure there's a written record of what they tell you. Some insurers insisted they could help me by phone only. No way. On what planet is an oral agreement acceptable?

• ALWAYS ask about the exclusions of the policy / contract. And also ask if there are any claim scenarios that result in a higher deductible or lower limit of coverage. A good way to ask is by identifying the scenarios that most endanger your equipment and ask "Are there any exclusions in the policy / contact that would result in a claim denial in those scenarios?"

For example. I travel but live in L.A. I am worried about: earthquake, theft, accidental damage by a passerby, intentional damage by an attacker, and damage to my equipment if it is in an auto (especially my auto) and it becomes damaged as the result of an auto accident. Are there any exclusions in the policy / contact that would result in a claim denial in those scenarios?

If you live in an area with flood, tornado or other natural disaster risks you'd want to ask about that instead of earthquake.

• NOTE: most policies state that "mysterious disappearance" is excluded. This means if you accidentally leave an item behind somewhere OR if it's stolen while filming something with no proof of theft OR if someone steals by entering your home or auto without signs of forced entry (meaning the thief entered using a stolen key, slim jim, clothing hanger, or hacked in by a smartphone or computer) then the claim will likely be denied. This means investing in video surveillance (in an auto this should be super discrete otherwise it could attract theft), GPS theft tracking systems, and do-it-yourself theft prevention ideas may be worth the extra effort.