Film Production Insurance

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Film Production Insurance Policy Information

Film Production Insurance

Film Production Insurance. In a very competitive film art world, film producers have unique circumstances that often put them at risk of personal liability. Lots of things can go awry when you are involved in producing a film, whether it's a short film or a full-length feature. In film production, there are a variety of different perils to consider, including damage to property used while filming on location or damage to a movie studio while working there.

Motion picture production studios develop audio/visual films from an initial project proposal through final distribution. The project proposal may be initiated by customers, by purchasing screen rights to existing stories, books or plays, or conceived entirely by the studio. The filmmaker may specialize in movie production for major commercial studios, independent film production, television production, advertising and commercials, or video recording services. The five production phases are development, pre-production, production, post-production and distribution. A studio may perform all processes or use independent contractors for one or more.

The development phase turns a project idea into a viable script or screenplay. Financial backing may be solicited at this stage if the project is for a major motion picture studio. Pre-production includes planning how the film will be produced scene by scene, budgeting, and hiring staff. During production, the movie is actually created, either with traditional film or digitally. Post-production processes include editing images, building a sound track, and presenting to customers or target audiences for feedback. Once the final version is approved, a master copy is used to produce copies for distribution and release to customers.

There are liability risks for film production crews to both people and property. Savvy film production staff protect their investments with film production insurance.

Film production insurance protects your business from lawsuits with rates as low as $27/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.

How Much Does Film Production Insurance Cost?

The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small film productions ranges from $27 to $79 per month based on location, duration, type of film, props used, and more.

Lawsuits in the Film Industry

Perhaps more so than many other industries, the film industry tends to be a litigious one. For instance, in 2012, author William Faulkner's family sued Sony for using a quote from one of his novels in a production. Faulkner had been credited for the quote in the film's dialogue, but this did not protect Sony from being sued.

Sylvester Stallone was sued back in 2011 for purportedly stealing "The Expendables" script from a writer.

Warner Brothers faced a lawsuit in 1996 by two people claiming that a film released by Warner Brothers made them go on a crime binge that resulted in one of them become shot and paralyzed. Later on, city officials for Batman, Turkey, sued the company after it produced "The Dark Knight", claiming an infringement on the city's naming rights.

Over the years, many film industry investors have sued producers for various alleged shortcomings when they fail to deliver box office hits as promised.

These are just some of the different scenarios that create the need for film production insurance. Without it, production professionals face significant loss potential. The exposure of films, the sheer number of people it takes to produce a film, and the physical nature of filming is a breeding ground for litigious actions. People targeted by litigants usually have no way to predict the outcome or even see the suit coming.

Unique Film Industry Insurance Needs

All films are unique, and the risks that come along with them are also unique. Filmmakers have different techniques and filming formats, and the locations of films differ widely. Many use expensive technical equipment, while others use just simple video cameras. All of these differences can affect the rates in that you will pay for film production insurance.

Likewise, a full-time producer requires different coverage than those filmmakers who are working on one-time projects and who require short-term coverage. Either way, finding the right level of coverage is paramount to the long-term success of your work and your business. You may need several different types of film production insurance coverage, including:

  • General liability coverage. This type of insurance protects you from claims arising from injuries to people on the set and direct employees. It also covers damage to the property of others during production.
  • Protection for equipment. This type of policy protects digital recording devices and photographic equipment.
  • Professional liability coverage. This policy, known as an E&O or errors and omissions policy, provides coverage for liability and protects you from claims of character defamation, copyright infringement, privacy invasion, and libel.
  • Worker's compensation. This coverage provides income and monetary payments for workers who are injured or become ill due to job-related hazards. The level of coverage you need depends on what is required in your state. In some states, the coverage may be included in your tax bill.

If you work from home or from a home office, you may be able to turn to your homeowner's policy for some types of coverage, but that depends on your policy and its specific limitations. Moreover, if your business is running at a profit, then your homeowner's coverage may exclude the business from being covered under its terms.

A more reliable type of protection is business insurance that includes the necessary inclusions needed to protect your business completely from liability and financial loss. Discussing your needs with a trusted and seasoned agent can help you find the right solution for insuring your production, your employees, your equipment, and more with film production insurance.

Comparing Film Production Insurance Costs

Working with an agent can help you find the right level of commercial coverage for your needs. Movie making is a risky business whether you produce movies as part of your profession or you are working on a one-off type of film and require minimal coverage for a limited period of time. Discussing your film production insurance needs with an agent can help you find the right amount of coverage to insure that you're fully covered in the event of an unforeseen accident or illness or accidental damage to other people's property or your own.

After researching your needs, be sure to compare different film production insurance policies to find the right policy for your budget, based on the coverage you need and your level of risk acceptance.

Film Production Risks & Exposures

Premises liability exposures is limited as public access is generally confined to designated waiting areas and offices. If the studio conducts production on their premises or offers tours to schools and other organizations, good housekeeping and maintenance are required to prevent injuries such as slips and falls. The floor covering must be in good condition, with steps and uneven floor surfaces prominently marked. Emergency lighting and well-marked exits are important.

Parking areas and sidewalks should be in good repair and free of ice and snow. Cast parties and launch parties may include entertainment and serving of liquor. Employees acting as bartenders should be trained to recognize the effects of alcohol.

Off-premises shooting exposures include both bodily injury and property damage. Permits must be obtained as required by law. Signed permission must be obtained when filming on private property. Contracts must be in place that outline the responsibilities of each party, including responsibility for liability exposures while shooting film. Employees may go off site to solicit and market products. There should be procedures as to how they carry out their duties, particularly policies regarding entertainment of financial backers and customers.

Professional liability exposures include copyright infringement, libel or slander, defamation of character, invasion of privacy, unauthorized use of names, ideas, music and other materials, actual or implied breach of contract related to ideas or writings, and personal injury. Written contracts and adequate documentation are keys to controlling these exposures.

Cast insurance exposures may be extensive or very limited, depending on the cast and the length of the shoot. Cast insurance provides coverage for the benefit of the production studio when a cast member cannot meet contractual obligations due to injury, disease, or death. The cost of reshooting with replacement casting can be considerable if a project is dependent on a single cast member and the shooting has taken place over a long period of time. Ensemble productions and single day shoots present the least exposure.

Workers compensation exposures are extensive and can include slips and falls on or off premises, cuts and punctures from making costumes or constructing production sets, electric shock from ungrounded equipment, falling items, work at heights, and injury from lifting of props or other equipment. Repetitive motion injuries due to computer work can be prevented with ergonomically-designed workstations.

Contracted talent used during the production phase may be considered employees and subject to workers compensation laws. Contracts must be clear regarding the applicable regulations in the state where production takes place. Additional exposures arise from doing stunts, filming projects overseas, or visiting dangerous or exotic locations.

Property exposures are primarily of an office nature unless shooting is done on premises. Construction of production sets increases the risk of fire due to the use of flammable paints and solvents. Costumes are susceptible to damage by fire, smoke and water. Smoking should be prohibited due to flammable sawdust or fabric dust in the air from cutting and assembly operations.

Expensive equipment on premises includes specialized editing equipment, sound stages, high intensity lighting, cameras, computers and sound equipment. Electrical wiring should meet current codes, be well maintained, and adequate for the occupancy. Motion picture studios may be targets for vandalism and malicious mischief. There should be after-hours security to prevent unauthorized access to the premises. Theft of equipment is a major concern. The security provided should reflect the value of the equipment and be appropriate for the area.

Business interruption exposures can be high if equipment breaks down or there is a loss. Disaster planning should be done to identify alternative facilities.

Crime exposures are from employee dishonesty and theft, including theft of customers' property and conversion of rental equipment. Background checks, including criminal history, should be performed on all employees handling money. All billing, ordering and disbursements should be handled as separate duties. Regular reconciliation and audits are vital. Motion picture studios will have expensive equipment on premises. Physical inventories should be routinely conducted.

Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable, audio/visual equipment, computers, film, theatrical property, and valuable papers and records. Audio/visual equipment includes expensive cameras and microphones needed for production. Coverage for theatrical property consisting of props, sets, costumes and equipment may be needed. There may be a bailees exposure for items borrowed or rented from others. If the studio takes goods to off-site locations for filmmaking, goods in transit coverage will be needed.

Business auto exposures are usually limited to hired and non-owned for employees running errands. If the company provides vehicles for officers or salespersons, there should be a written policy on personal and permissive use of the vehicles. Service vehicles may be used to transport equipment. All drivers must have valid licenses for the vehicles being driven. All vehicles should be maintained and records kept at a central location.

Foreign exposures can be high if production moves outside the United States. Extra-territorial property and liability coverages may be needed.

Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification

  • SIC CODE: 7812 Motion Picture and Video Tape Production
  • NAICS CODE: 512110 Motion Picture and Video Production
  • Suggested ISO General Liability Code(s): 98092
  • Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 7610, 4360

Types Of Small Business Insurance - Requirements & Regulations

Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. If you've got a business, you've got risks. Unexpected events and lawsuits can wipe out a business quickly, wasting all the time and money you've invested.

Operating a business is challenging enough without having to worry about suffering a significant financial loss due to unforeseen and unplanned circumstances. Small business insurance can protect your company from some of the more common losses experienced by business owners, such as property damage, business interruption, theft, liability, and employee injury.

Purchasing the appropriate commercial insurance coverage can make the difference between going out of business after a loss or recovering with minimal business interruption and financial impairment to your company's operations.

Small Business Information

Insurance is so important to proper business function that both federal governments and state governments require companies to carry certain types. Thus, being properly insured also helps you protect your company by protecting it from government fines and penalties.

Small Business Insurance Information

In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.

The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.

Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.

According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage.

Types Of Small Business Insurance

Choosing the right type of coverage is absolutely vital. You've got plenty of options. Some you'll need. Some you won't. You should know what's available. Once you look over your options you'll need to conduct a thorough risk assessment. As you evaluate each type of insurance, ask yourself:

  • What type of business am I running?
  • What are common risks associated with this industry?
  • Does this type of insurance cover a situation that could feasibly arise during the normal course of doing business?
  • Does my state require me to carry this type of insurance?
  • Does my lender or do any of my investors require me to carry this type of policy?

A licensed insurance agent or broker in your state can help you determine what kinds of coverages are prudent for your business types. If you find one licensed to sell multiple policies from multiple companies (independent agents) that person can often help you get the best insurance rates, too. Following is some information on some of the most common small business insurance policies:

Business Insurance Policy Type What Is Covered?
General Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under commercial general liability insurance? It steps in to pay claims when you lose a lawsuit with an injured customer, employee, or vendor. The injury could be physical, or it could be a financial loss based on advertising practices.
Workers Compensation InsuranceWhat is covered under workers compensation insurance? This type of insurance protects a business and its owner(s) from claims by employees who suffer a work-related injury, illness or disease. Workers comp typically provides the injured employee with benefits to cover medical expenses, a portion of his/her lost wages, rehabilitation costs if applicable, and permanent partial or permanent total disability.
Product Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under product liability insurance? I pays an injured party's settlement or lawsuit claim arising from a defective product. These are usually caused by design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure to provide adequate warning or instructions as to how to safely use the product.
Commercial Property InsuranceWhat is covered under business property insurance? General liability policies don't cover damages to your business property. That's what commercial property insurance is for. It protects all of the physical parts of your business: your building, your inventory, and your equipment, giving you the funds you need to replace them in the event of a disaster. If you work from home, you might consider a Home Based Business Insurance policy instead.
Business Owners Policy (BOP)What is covered under a business owners policy (BOP)? This is a policy designed for small, low-risk businesses. It simplifies the basic insurance purchase process by combining general liability policies with business income and commercial property insurance.
Commercial Auto InsuranceWhat is covered under business auto insurance? This type of insurance covers automobiles being used for business purposes. This could include a fleet of business-only vehicles or a single company car. In some cases it might cover your car or your employee's car while they're being used for business. These policies have much higher limits, ensuring you can cover your costs if one of these vehicles gets into an accident.
Commercial Umbrella PoliciesWhat is covered under commercial umbrella insurance? This type of policy is a sort of "gap" insurance. It covers your liability in the event that a court verdict or settlement exceeds your general liability policy limits.
Liquor Liability InsuranceWhat is covered under liquor liability insurance? It covers bodily injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served liquor by the policy holder.
Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)What is covered under professional liability insurance? This type of business insurance is also known as malpractice oe E&O. It covers the damages that can arise from major mistakes, especially in high-stakes professions where mistakes can be devastating.
Surety BondWhat is covered under surety bonds? Bonding is a contract where one party, the SURETY (who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task), guarantees the performance of certain obligations of a second party, the PRINCIPAL (the contractor or business who will perform the contractual obligation), to a third party, the OBLIGEE (the project owner who is the recipient of an obligation).


Who Needs General Liability Insurance? - Virtually every business. A single lawsuit or settlement could bankrupt your business five times over. You might also need this policy to win business. Many companies and government agencies won't do business with your company until you can produce proof that you've obtained one of these policies.

Business Insurance Required by Law
Small Business Commercial Insurance

If you have any employees most states will require you to carry worker's compensation and unemployment insurance. Some states require you to insure yourself even if you are the only employee working in the business.

Your insurance agent can help you check applicable state laws so you can bring your business into compliance.

Other Types Of Small Business Insurance

There are dozens of other, more specialized forms of small business insurance capable of covering specific problems and risks. These forms of insurance include:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Commercial Flood Insurance
  • Contractor's Insurance
  • Cyber Liability
  • Data Breach
  • Directors and Officers
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Environmental or Pollution Liability
  • Management Liability
  • Sexual Misconduct Liability

Whether you need any or all of these policies will depend on the results of your risk assessment. For example, you probably don't need an environmental or pollution policy if you're running an IT company out of a leased office, but you would need data breach and cyber liability policies to fully protect your business.

Also learn about small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including small business commercial insurance costs. Call us (855) 767-7828.

Additional Resources For Arts & Recreation Insurance

Read up on small business arts and recreation commercial insurance.


Arts And Recreation Insurance

Commercial insurance policies for arts, entertainment and recreation are specialized policies that protect against the unique risks that arts and recreation businesses face.

Performing artists and companies, entertainers including musical groups, theatre groups, comedians and more, writers, performers, photographers, videographers, DJ's and so many other types.

Professional liability coverage (errors and omissions) is needed in these cases to protect their financial interests due to mistakes, errors or omissions by these professionals in doing their jobs. Fr example - a bride and groom did not like the way their wedding photos turned out.

Or a wedding planner might plan a lavish wedding, but the bride's parents who are paying for it did not like the way it went. There is a lot of gray areas with arts, and you need to be protected if your clients don't agree with you that your work was what the agreed to.

If your business is involved with children, you need to review your coverages very carefully so certain important protections are not excluded. Abuse and molestation insurance might be needed to fully protect yourself in this instance.

Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Income with Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Commercial Articles Floater, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.

Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Bailees Customers Floater, Money and Securities, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.


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