Myth: Short-term production insurance policies are either invalid or offer insufficient coverage.
Fact: Short-term production insurance policies are the same as any annual policy, only for a shorter duration.
The product I sell more of than any other is the short-term production policy. This type of policy is fast, inexpensive, and offers great coverage for short-term shoots where a client needs insurance. However, I answer many concerns held by rental houses who fear deficiencies in the short-term policies they are given. More often than not, they have problems with the limits of coverage provided, or they are concerned that the policy itself is cut-rate and illegitimate.
These are two valid concerns because there are many cheap and cut-rate short-term policies out there. However, if you are a rental house, you can protect yourself. Just make sure you double check these three things anytime you are handed a short-term insurance certificate.
#1 – Check the Dates on the Insurance Certificate
The biggest and most obvious difference between an annual policy and a short-term policy is the coverage period. Short-Term policies can run for as little as one day, so you need to make sure your renter is adequately covered during the entire rental period.
Not only do you need to check the dates, you also should consider the timing. If they hand you a certificate that says they are covered from 2/5/2020 until 2/15/2020, that means they are covered from 12:01 AM on February 5th until 12:01 AM on February 15th. In other words, they are NOT covered on the 15th. Just because that date is shown on the certificate, it does NOT mean that you have coverage on that date.
You need to make sure that every rental is picked up and returned within the dates shown on the certificate. Even if they tell you that they don’t plan to film with your equipment until the policy starts, you need to insist that they add the proper dates of coverage.
#2 – Check the Coverage Amounts
There is no reason that a short-term policy cannot cover everything you require. You can demand the same coverages for General Liability, Rented Equipment, Auto, etc. that you do from any client with an annual policy. If you tell your renter they need to add a missing coverage, and they try to tell you that they can’t – they are either lying or they have a bad policy.
Every legitimate short-term insurance policy can include all the required coverages without any issues. It may cost the client extra money, but that’s the price they have to pay for making high-end rentals.
#3 – Contact the Agent that Issued the Short-Term Production Insurance
There are some short-term policies out there that do not come from an agent. That is a problem. If you have questions about the coverage, or if you wish to file a claim, you won’t be able to call anyone. Make sure that the certs you receive have a phone number for the issuing agent. That way you can contact them to verify coverage limits or deductible amounts.
The last thing you want to find out when you have a claim is that your renter bought a two-bit policy from an online-only insurance provider. What will you do when you need answers to your claim questions or inquiries?
There are, of course, many other things you should be doing to clear your renters before you give your equipment to them. However, these three steps are a great start to making sure that your equipment and your business are properly covered.
Feel free to call us with any questions about purchasing a short-term policy, or renting to people who carry them.