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filmmaking guide


Legal advice on what to get insurance for and how to go about it.

Insurance is an essential part of filmmaking. The basic insurance that you need will cover the health and safety of your cast and crew. If you are hiring any equipment, you will need to know what it is worth and get it insured accordingly. There are many other areas that you can look to have insured. For example, bad weather insurance covers you if you have to reshoot as a result of Mother Nature, but this is beyond most short film budgets.

What to cover

On a very fundamental level your insurance should cover your film for:

Equipment: All risks of physical loss or damage to equipment including whilst in transit. Note that loss of equipment caused by theft from unattended vehicles or acts of fraud are usually excluded from your cover. Likewise damage to equipment caused by mechanical or electrical breakdown or general wear or tear is again not usually covered.

Footage: Damage or loss to negatives and/or videotapes.

Employers Liability: to provide indemnity in respect of your legal liability to pay compensation for death, disease or bodily injury to employees arising out of and during the course of their employment.

Public liability: in the event of accidental bodily injury to any person or damage to property.

It is really important to purchase insurance in these areas. You need to make sure you are covered for possible severe financial liabilities in case anything goes wrong on set.

Note: you should always read the exclusions that apply to your insurance policy, for instance acts of terrorism are not usually covered.

Insurance information

The UK Film Council, the government-backed strategic agency for film in the UK, website has useful background information on insurance. It provides details of directories and search engines that will provide information on insurance companies specialising in film. See the UK Film Council website
**Please note it has recently been announced that the UKFC will cease operating in April 2012, when the BFI will assume the majority of its responsibilities. More information about this will be included here when it becomes available.**

Your regional screen agency can recommend local insurance providers.

It is recommended that you seek specialist insurance advice quite early on in the process of film production as they will be best placed to know market rates which you can then factor into your budget.

Proof of insurance will be required by location owners, equipment houses, local authorities and studios.

As a rough estimate you should budget for between £500-£1000 for cover for the UK and the rest of Western Europe. You will be looking in the region of £400 extra to extend to worldwide cover.

Note - If your film was funded by a regional screen agency or the UK Film Council, they may help in negotiating an insurance policy for your film on your behalf.

Other Resources

Film London Artists' Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) has produced a filmmaking guide called Making Work with a section on insurance, which includes a list of insurance brokers that deal with the media industry. Making Work: insurance

Related Guides

See our Filmmaking Guide: Equipment

See also our: Legal Guide: Health & Safety

See also our Related Links: Legal

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