Let’s face it, filmmakers, accidents happen and when they do, they can take a big chunk of change from a bank account. Whether videography is a hobby, or you’re a full-fledged film production company working on a short film, feature film or documentary, production insurance is a necessity for your film project. The big question that many filmmakers have about insurance is; Why do I need insurance? The bottom line is, you need insurance because no matter how smooth a production may go, there is always a risk that something will break, someone will trip and someone will accuse you of theft, whether of property or even an idea and the best way to ensure you are safe from a lawsuit is to have proper insurance coverage. Let’s take a closer look at insurance for film production.
First, you don’t walk into your local auto insurance or home insurance agency to take out a general liability policy on the film production. That’s a great policy for a contractor building a house, but not for a filmmaker. As a filmmaker, you need to reach out to an entertainment insurance company that specializes in insurance coverage for film production.
For instance, for Tennessee filmmakers and those who plan to film in the state, you can check the Tennessee Entertainment Commission production listing for entertainment insurance companies in the State of Tennessee. Tennessee requires filmmakers who are shooting on state property to carry insurance for their production.
When you have property protection, you will be covered against loss from damage to your own production equipment as well as the equipment you rent from others. For instance, if you rent a dolly from a rental company, you may be charged $200 or more per day for the rental but the sale price on a dolly can be upwards of $700. If you lose a piece of the dolly or break a part of the equipment, you’re going to be held responsible for the replacement to the company you rented from. Without proper insurance, you can be sued if you don’t replace the equipment and a lawsuit can be costly.
When you film on location on someone else’s property, you need a good insurance policy. A general liability insurance policy will cover damages to property as well as bodily injury that may occur during the shoot. This is important for you as a filmmaker and important to your actors, crew and even the general public. A property owner will want to be assured that if someone unforeseen happens to damage their property in any way, it will be covered. The same holds true for accidents that can and do happen on film sets. If a passerby trips over a light cord or a piece of equipment falls and hits someone, you need that insurance coverage to avoid paying potential thousands of dollars out of your own pocket for medical treatment.
Commercial General Liability covers damage to a location as well as injury that happens to someone who is not part of the film cast or crew.
Equipment Insurance Coverage
While your property coverage should cover equipment that you own or rent, you may want to go a step further to ensure you have proper equipment insurance coverage in place before you start filming. An equipment insurance policy will cover loss, theft or damage to your own equipment as well as to rental equipment.
Errors and Omissions Insurance
You have dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s, but no matter how carefully you believe you have taken care of everything, you need to consider coverage for lawsuits that allege copyright infringement, plot or title theft, plagiarism, unauthorized usage of ideas, screenplays and more. You also need to consider lawsuits for defamation and invasion of privacy.
Errors and Omissions insurance will cover these things, but you will need to have an entertainment attorney research your script, location schedule, release dates and more to ensure that your production is not apt to face a lawsuit for the material you are producing.
Tennessee State Insurance Requirements
To film in Tennessee, the state requires the production company to have a Certificate of Insurance before filming on any state property. Production companies are also subject to Tennessee Worker’s Compensation Insurance plans that will cover all Tennessee film crew. You can contact the Worker’s Compensation Division at the Tennessee Department of Labor at 615-532-4812.