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Common Types of Film Production Insurance

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/28/2011

Here is a look at some of the most relevant kinds of film production insurance out there.

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    Film production is both a very costly and risky proposition. When you are in active production you have to use a lot of different areas, alter a lot of locations, use sensitive equipment, and even put cast and crew in a certain amount of risk. A finished project will also have a lot of financial and legal risks, especially around the issue of rights, portrayal, and distribution. To protect yourself, you will need various types of film production insurance to protect against different things, and this can either be required or simply a financial responsibility. Here is a look at some common types of film production insurance that large productions should have.

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    Production Elements

    Many types of film production insurance are used for specific types of production elements that you might be using. If you hire an aircraft as part of your production you will need to secure a specific type of aircraft insurance that is curtailed to film production specifically. The same is going to be true for acquiring and using railroads, specific types of boats, and even a special insurance for cars in certain cases. This will usually be the case with special types of vehicles, especially expensive and period ones actually used in front of the camera.

    Animals will also require a special type of insurance, and this is going to be a more complicated process even beyond this. When deciding the specific type of animal related film production insurance that you need, you should talk to the animal trainers that you are using as well as the locations you are using them in.

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    Foreign Insurance Package

    A foreign insurance package is something that is meant to protect your film production from liability in a foreign country. In general, a foreign insurance package is intended to protect you from a lawsuit once you are in the United States, and not necessarily in that country. The coverage will usually have to be curtailed for the country you are filming in, and this will be difficult in some cases. Certain areas are impossible to find coverage for, as well as to get SAG releases for actors. For example, Somalia, Libya, and Cuba are almost always going to be impossible to insure unless you can put up an incredible amount of money.

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    Workman's Compensation Coverage

    Workman's compensation coverage is a type of film production insurance that is used to protect you against workman's compensation claims when working with crews in specific states. This Workman's compensation coverage has to be purchased from a state's insurance department if it is run by the state, which is the case in Wyoming, Nevada, North Dakota, Washington, Ohio, and West Virginia. Contact the labor department ahead of time to see what you need, but also make sure that you get proper documentation from freelancers. Without this properly covered you can leave yourself open to audit and fining. This is also going to be relevant to child labor laws for film production.

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    Errors and Omissions Insurance

    Errors and Omissions insurance is one of the most important types of film production insurance to think about as a producer since the insurance cost will cut into your incentive money from a studio or distributor. What Errors and Omissions Insurance - often just called E&O insurance - will protect yourself against are areas of liability that can come from legal infringement from your project as an entity. For example, violation of copyright, infringement on life rights, lack of proper film producer agreements, plagiarism, monopolistic practices, and other items are all taken up by E&O insurance. This is a must-have insurance and every production will have this at some point, and the price of it is set against the amount of liability your production could have. This means that if your deliverables package does not include everything that it should, the E&O insurance would go up and there will be less money for those producing the film.

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    Source: Author's own experience.

    Ventura Insurance Brokerage Special Insurance Coverage Report