You’ll need Production Insurance if you want to rent the gear used on the big shows, and you’ll need Production Insurance, if you don’t want to be slammed with an enormous invoice for lost, broken or stolen equipment, when accidents happen. But as it turns out, Production Insurance isn’t that expensive. For the doors that Production Insurance opens, it’s more than worth it.
Whilst I’ve never worked for an Insurance Company, and we don’t offer Insurance at AVSuperfly, I’ve dealt with insurance enough in the rental industry, and I want to shed some light on a topic, that’s fraught with daunting price tags and loads of misinformation.
Production Insurance is really only offered by a small selection of firms, but like any insurance plan, there’s a sea of add-ons and extras to distract you. Ultimately, it starts with a General Liability Policy, which comes standard with $1million coverage per occurrence, on an annual contract. This covers personal injuries, medical bills, and property damage to any rented premises.
While this might sound intimidating or uninteresting at an early stage in your career, it’s the minimum coverage required to get permits, operate in major venues and to ever work with staffing agencies. General Liability is the backbone that these plans are built on.
At AVSuperfly, we don’t really need proof of your General Liability, we need proof that our property is covered, in the event you suffer any theft, damage or loss on set. So we need to see you that you have “Rental Equipment Coverage”, which is almost always an add-on.
We’ve called around to a few companies, and one stands out more than the others. Without naming names, their General Liability starts at just $1500/year. While that’s just the backbone, and you might be worrying about all the extras, $10,000 worth of Rental Equipment Coverage is just another $200/year.
You can then bump up the coverage limits gradually as you grow, or throw on 30-days packets one at a time. $100,000 of Equipment Coverage for 30-days, was only a couple of hundred bucks. Great, if it’s time to shoot your feature!
So, for roughly $140/mth, you could have accounts with every major Rental House in the country and get permits for days! What’s even better, is that it’s no long-haul process. You can be setup within a few days. Sometimes even same-day.
When you’re starting out, $140mth for Insurance can seem like a lot. But sometimes it’s simply the cost doing business and as a result, it’s not uncommon for clients to cover this fee. You’d be surprised how quickly they’ll cover it, if it just becomes a line item on your invoices. If you start adding $50 in “Production Insurance” to each bill, with just four gigs a month, you’re actually making money off your Insurance Policy! Plus, you and your client gain the peace of mind, knowing that any incidents are properly covered. They have no idea how Production Insurance should really cost, so feel free to play it up a bit.
Now there’s little more I can tell you. Short-Term Insurance does exist, to cover yourself for a small rental or one-off shoot, but compared to the above cost for a full year of coverage, Short-Term Policies are pretty absurd. I’ll let you use a few online quote generators to decide for yourself there. $140/mth for General Liability and $10K worth of Rental Equipment Coverage, is by far the best deal you’ll find.
Finally, proof of your Insurance always comes in the form of a COI. A pretty standard document that will always be generated by your broker, to the request of the Rental House, Hotel, Venue, or Agency who’s after it. It’ll always sound a little like,
“Please make it out to:
131 S Maple Ave, #7
South San Francisco, CA, 94080.
We’d like to be be “Additionally Insured” and named “Loss Payee”, and see at least $10,000 in Rental Equipment Coverage.”
Depending on your Broker, this can sometimes be same-day or next-day service.
There it is! Production Insurance shouldn’t be as daunting or expensive as you think it is. It really is there to help you, and it’ll open so many doors as you and your company grow in the industry. Take advantage of insurance, and bid for larger shows, with more staff and more gear, and you’ll be producing the Super Bowl in no time.