It’s pretty easy to understand why someone filming a chase scene or using explosives in their film would need film insurance. You might even agree that you need production insurance to cover large crews or expensive equipment. But, many of you would argue that insurance is an unnecessary expense for documentaries. However, accidents occur even when shooting documentaries. At the very least, Documentary Insurance should include liability insurance and the all-important E&O Insurance.
“When shooting began on my first independent documentary, film production insurance wasn’t even on my radar. Frankly, there was no money. I couldn’t even pay my crew! Plus, I assumed it would cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Turns out production insurance isn’t necessarily expensive and it could really save your butt. And depending where you live, you may even be required by law to have insurance covering any freelancers or workers you hire.”
– – Faith Fuller, Desktop Documentaries
General Liability Insurance for Documentaries
General Liability Documentary Insurance covers injuries to people that you are not working with and locations where you are not filming. So how does that work? Say somebody is walking by your set, and they trip and fall on an extension cord, and they break their leg. They decide to sue you for damages. That would be a General Liability claim.
The same goes for the location. If a light and breaks the window of the building next door then it is a General Liability claim. Even though you weren’t filming next door, they were adversely affected by your filming operations. So, your Liability coverage would extend to them.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Anybody who works for you, whether they’re an independent contractor, volunteer, intern, part-time employee or full-time employee, are required by most state’s law (including California) to have Workers Compensation coverage. That coverage is provided by the filming company. Even if you are shooting a documentary and there is not a cast, you will still have crew members that require coverage.
Equipment Rental Insurance
Whether you own your filming equipment or you plan to rent it from a Movie Equipment Rental House, you will need to insure it for loss or damage. Most rental houses will require some equipment insurance from you, and it’s best to shop around ahead of time. When you purchase your documentary insurance, be sure to ask about short-term equipment rental.
Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O)
What happens if you misrepresent someone in your documentary (or they say you do)? What if one of your writers lifts a bit of copy from some obscure publication without giving credit? Can you afford the legal fees if someone sues you for libel?
E&O insurance protects against lawsuits for such things as these.
- Contract Disputes
- Defamation or Slander
- Copyright Infringement
- Invasion of Privacy
- The Use of Someone’s Image Without Permission
Most Errors & Omissions Insurance policies cover legal expenses and settlements. So, for peace of mind, YES, you need E & O as a supplement to your general liability policy.
For more information on production insurance in California, contact Equipment & Production Insurance. The team at Equipment and Production Insurance are film, photographic & entertainment industry insurance specialists. Whether you need short-term, annual, post, documentary, commercial, equipment, rental house, or E&O, you can rely on their quick and knowledgeable assistance to meet all of your production insurance needs.