Insurance for camera rentals
Posted 14 September 2006 - 11:04 PM
I've got a music vid coming up and because this is an independent production we are strapped for cash (if we're lucky, the budget will reach $10,000) We'd like to shoot in HD and I'd like to set aside the majority of the money for renting equipment, but insurance takes such a large chunk out of our funds.
I got lucky with a video I worked on back in February because the rental house cut us a deal (after days of haggling back and forth) and ended up requiring only a security deposit and nothing more. This time around I'm not sure I can deal with the same rental house because I don't believe they carry all the equipment we need.
So - any way around this? Anyone know of a company that sells insurance cheap, or would be sympathetic towards a group of rag tag filmmakers who are all working for free in the hopes of building up our reels and reaching our goals?
Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:17 AM
Something to think about.
Could you find any owner/operators willing to take a pay cut for indie work and then rent the cheaper stuff? Might be a good bet.
Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:21 PM
Posted 20 September 2006 - 01:26 AM
As Michael mentions, rental houses have an interest in developing a good relationship with you. They may have a provider that they work with, or may be very willing to help you find coverage.
Posted 20 September 2006 - 03:05 AM
Hopefully the rental house should put me under their umbrella pollicy (hey, the first AC is a key grip full time for their production company.)
Posted 20 September 2006 - 03:05 PM
Most indie productions for short films simply pay the rental house a fee (like 10%) to be covered under their insurance. All the rental houses I know do this.
For location - Most indie prods don't get permits and don't get insurance for their locations (as long as it is not required). Smart? No comment.
For people - again, it might not be legal, but if you're not paying people it's sort of hard to pay them workers comp etc. Most indies seem to just ignore this whole thing. Smart? no comment.
If you are trying to get full production coverage, one thing that indies do is partner with an existing production company and then use their insurance package. Insurance paid by year might be like $10k while by weekend it is $3k. Six months maybe 4k. It's the price of admission which is the hard point. So, production companies who carry their own insurance will work with indies often and the production is run under their production banner for the purposes of production - they don't try to own or brand your film. That company has to be the one writing all the checks, but with a good production company, you actually can hire them to set up all kinds of deals and such for you and it works out well for about a third the price of the insurance direct. Note that I said the production company partners with you and not that you rent their insurance - the latter being illegal and also very frowned upon in the industry. The former being perfectly acceptible.
Posted 20 September 2006 - 06:19 PM
ahh, burocracy, how I love it.
I find if you ask people the right way you can get things cheap (or reduce their requirements effectivley making it cheaper. in small production towns like mine it makes things easier. I am sure you walk into any cafe in hollywood and they have a rate card to shoot in that location, including insurance requirements.)
and no, I won't take your advice as a replacement for legal council. thanks for the advice though.
Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:13 PM
In LA there are companies that are set up almost solely to provide insurance to low budget shoots (for a fee of course). I'm not sure if any of those exist in Miami, but it's worth looking into.
How do these production companies work exactly? What do they typically expect in return for partnering up with a lo-no budget production since they don't try to own/brand the film? Are there companies like this in NYC? I'm sure there would have to be since NYC has a pretty significant indie community, right?
Edited by Joe Lotuaco, 23 September 2006 - 09:13 PM.
Posted 02 October 2006 - 11:16 PM
They already are paying for the insurance and other corporate options, this is just extra money, connections for them. What they want varies on different projects. If the project has a chance at national exposure they may want their name on it somewhere, but most likely if you are going to them it won't. So they will take your money, credit free.
Posted 25 October 2006 - 03:45 PM
...just asked my USAA insurance rep about production equipment coverage and learned that I can carry up to $100,000 with a $500.00 deductable for $350.00 per year. This is perfect for my upcomming student projects that require a modest package.. (a-minima and set of primes)
Posted 26 October 2006 - 08:57 AM
Posted 26 October 2006 - 09:32 AM
Just a work of warning when doing these independent projects it is very easy to become the producer by default. You may find yourself scrambling to put crew and equipment together. A rental house my help you out with equipment insurance. But, if someone gets hurt on your set and you are the producer you may be liable. I?d be very selective of the projects you put yourself in that position on if you don?t have full insurance.
So, this leads me to a question I've been avoiding for a long time because I'm either a) an independent film maker, or cheap: What insurance is best to get to provide a film/film company with full coverage for actors, crew, equipment? Also, I wonder what companies insure such a thing. Do most people/production companies get insurance on a per film basis or a yearly basis?
Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:20 PM
Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:50 PM
Thanks for chiming-in on this. You raise some excellent points for consideration.