Film Production Insurance Policy Information
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.
Below are some answers to commonly asked video and film production insurance questions:
- What Is Film Production Insurance?
- How Much Does Film Production Insurance Cost?
- Why Do Film Producers Need Insurance?
- What Type Of Insurance Do Film Producers Need?
- What Does Film Production Insurance Cover & Pay For?
What Is Film Production Insurance?
Film production insurance is a type of insurance coverage designed to protect film production companies and filmmakers from potential financial losses that can occur during the production of a film.
This insurance covers various aspects of film production, including pre-production, principal photography, and post-production. The coverage may include protection for loss or damage to equipment, cast and crew injuries, theft or loss of film footage, and liability for third-party claims, such as copyright infringement and defamation.
The goal of film production insurance is to minimize financial risks and provide peace of mind for the production company and filmmakers, so they can focus on creating the best film possible.
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.
Why Do Film Producers Need Insurance?
Film producers need insurance for several reasons:
Financial protection: Film production is a high-risk business and unexpected events can result in significant financial losses. Film production insurance helps protect against these losses by covering equipment damage, theft, or loss of film footage, among other things.
Legal protection: Film production insurance can also provide legal protection against third-party claims, such as copyright infringement and defamation. This protects the film producer from costly lawsuits and protects their reputation.
Cast and crew protection: Film production insurance can also provide coverage for cast and crew injuries. Injuries can occur on set and can result in significant financial losses if they are not covered by insurance.
Peace of mind: Film production insurance gives film producers peace of mind knowing that they are protected against financial losses and legal claims. This allows them to focus on the creative process and making the best film possible.
Overall, film production insurance is essential for protecting the financial investment, reputation, and well-being of film producers, cast, and crew during the production process.
What Type Of Insurance Do Film Producers Need?
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.
Noteworthy 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.
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.
What Does Film Production Insurance Cover & Pay For?
Film production companies can be sued for a variety of reasons, including:
Copyright infringement: If a film production company uses copyrighted material without obtaining the proper permissions, they may be sued for copyright infringement. If a film production company is sued for copyright infringement, their errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policy may cover the costs of defending against the claim and paying damages if the company is found liable.
Personal injury: If someone is injured on the set of a film production, they may sue the production company for damages. If someone is injured on the set of a film production and sues the company, the production company's general liability insurance policy may cover the costs of defending against the claim and paying damages if the company is found liable.
Defamation: If a film production company releases a film that defames someone or portrays them in a false light, they may be sued for defamation. If a film production company is sued for defamation, their E&O insurance policy may cover the costs of defending against the claim and paying damages if the company is found liable.
Breach of contract: If a film production company breaches a contract with an actor, director, or other party involved in the production, they may be sued for damages. If a film production company breaches a contract and is sued for damages, their E&O insurance policy or a specific contract liability policy may cover the costs of defending against the claim and paying damages if the company is found liable.
Property damage: If a film production company causes damage to someone else's property while filming, they may be sued for damages. If a film production company causes damage to someone else's property while filming and is sued for damages, their general liability insurance policy may cover the costs of defending against the claim and paying damages if the company is found liable.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 7812 Motion Picture and Video Tape Production
- NAICS CODE: 512110 Motion Picture and Video Production
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 7610 Television or Radio Broadcasting Station - All Employees & Clerical, Drivers, 4360 Motion Picture - Development of Negatives, Printing, and All Subsequent Operations
7389: Business Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
Division I: Services | Major Group 78: Motion Pictures | Industry Group 781: Motion Picture Production And Allied Services
7389 Business Services, Not Elsewhere Classified: Establishments primarily engaged in the production of theatrical and nontheatrical motion pictures and video tapes for exhibition or sale, including educational, industrial, and religious films. Included in the industry are establishments engaged in both production and distribution. Producers of live radio and television programs are classified in Industry 7922. Establishments primarily engaged in motion picture and video tape reproduction are classified in Industry 7819 and those engaged in distribution are classified in Industry 7822.
- Audiovisual motion picture program production
- Cartoon motion picture production
- Commercials, television: tape or film production
- Educational motion picture production
- Industrial motion picture production
- Motion picture production and distribution
- Music video production
- Nontheatrical motion picture production
- Religious motion picture production
- Tape production, video or motion picture
- Television film production
- Training motion picture production
- Video tape production
Film Production Insurance - The Bottom Line
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.
To find out exactly what type of film production insurance you need and how much coverage you should have, speak to a commercial insurance broker with film insurance experience to go over your options.
Additional Resources For Arts & Recreation Insurance
Read up on small business arts and recreation commercial insurance.
- Amusement Parks
- Archery Ranges
- Athletic Fields
- Billiard And Pool Halls
- Bowling Alleys
- Cave Tours
- Dance Studio
- Disc Jockey DJ
- Drive-In Theaters
- Entertainers And Performers
- Event Planning
- Fairs And Fairgrounds
- Film Production
- Fine Art
- Guides & Outfitters
- Handball & Racquetball Courts
- Horse & Dog Racetracks
- Indoor Sports Complexes
- Interior Decorator
- Interior Design
- Motorsports Racetracks
- Photo Booth
- Recording Studio
- Recreation Centers
- Riding Stables
- Roller Sakting Rinks
- Shooting Ranges
- Skeet & Trap Shooting Ranges
- Ski Resorts
- Talent Agency
- Tennis Centers
- Video Arcades
- Wedding And Special Event
- Specialty Arts And Antiques
- Specialty Clubs And Leisure Time Activities
- Specialty Entertainment
The arts and recreation industry is a vital part of our society and culture, providing entertainment and enjoyment for people of all ages. However, as with any business, there are inherent risks and potential liabilities that can arise. This is where insurance comes into play.
One of the main reasons the arts and recreation industry needs insurance is to protect against financial losses due to accidents or injuries. For example, if a performer is injured while rehearsing or performing, their medical bills and lost wages could be significant. Without insurance, the cost of these expenses could potentially bankrupt a small arts organization.
In addition to protecting against accidents and injuries, business insurance can also cover damages or losses due to weather events, natural disasters, and other unexpected circumstances. For example, if a theater is forced to cancel a performance due to a power outage or extreme weather, insurance can help cover lost income and expenses.
Another important aspect of commercial insurance for the arts and recreation industry is liability coverage. This type of insurance can protect against legal claims and lawsuits if someone is injured or becomes ill while attending an event or using facilities. For example, if a patron slips and falls at a theater, they may file a lawsuit against the venue for damages. Liability insurance can help cover the costs of legal fees and any settlement or judgement.
Overall, the arts and recreation industry needs insurance to protect against financial losses and legal liabilities that can arise in the course of business. Without commercial insurance, small arts organizations and recreational facilities could be vulnerable to financial ruin in the face of unexpected events or accidents.
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.