Is the video production company you hire properly insured?


Is your company properly protected on your next video project?

When you hire a video production company or independent production professional you expect them to be fully insured against all reasonable dangers and liabilities that might arise as a result of their engagement. Chances are, nothing will go wrong… but if something does go wrong you’d better hope that you and your production company are fully protected. If you video production company is not fully insured they may not be able to ‘make whole’ any damages that result from their actions.

Most video production professionals insure their production equipment against loss or damage. This insurance, while valuable for the production company, does nothing to protect you. You want to ensure that your video production company also has other types of insurance in place to protect you and your company against the cost of any damage directly caused by the video production company.

The first and most common form of Insurance taken out by video production companies to protect their clients is General Liability Insurance. This is insurance to cover accidents that happen in the normal course of production: A light falls over and damages your CEO’s Ming Dynasty vase collection, or one of the crew accidentally knocks out all of the power on your campus. This type of insurance covers most production-related risks.

Professional Liability Insurance is a separate form of insurance and relates more to the proper / professional performance of the production company’s duties. Errors and Omissions insurance is a form of Professional Liability insurance. If the production company makes a mistake on a large project and is forced to re-shoot, at their own expense, they should have Professional Liability insurance to cover the cost of the re-shoot. If your production company accidentally films someone who didn’t grant permission to use their image in your video, or if the video production company uses music that they do not have proper copyright permission to use, the harmed party may come after both you and the video production company. Whoever has the most money is usually the primary target of the suit.

As well, there are other types of insurance that your production company should have in place:

Specialized Insurance If your video production involves foreign travel to dangerous areas or hazardous activities like stunts, filming onboard a boat, aerial videography, etc. you may require specialized insurance that covers these contingent activities.
Slander and Liable is a specialized coverage required in certain professions. If, in the production of your video, the production company represents an employee, a competitor or public figure in a way that is inappropriate, the offended party could have cause to make a slander or liable claim. Again, you want to know that your video production company has a rider in their insurance policy that contains adequate protection to cover this risk. While most industries cover slander and liable as part of the General Liability Insurance, certain industries such as media, publishing and video production often require specialized insurance because of the higher risk associated with work in these industries.

The current industry standard for commercial production is $2,000,000 in general liability insurance. In entertainment projects typical insurance coverage will run much higher than this depending on the scope of the project.

Bottom line – if you are not sure ask your video production company about what insurance coverage they have in place. If you are not sure what coverage they should have, ask your insurance broker.



10 Responses

  1. That’s very good advice – I believe that many video production companies do not have the necessary insurances to protect themselves and their clients should something go wrong.

    Here in Australia we have ‘public liability’ insurance to cover things like someone tripping over a light cord and injuring themselves. The minimum level of cover required is generally $20 million! This costs around A$1,000 per year to buy.


    1. We have full insurance coverage at Ground Floor Video in Atlanta, GA. Oftentimes we are undercut on a bid by a dude with a camera and clients do not understand the value of needing an company with full coverage for losses, damages, injuries. Also, many “newbies” to the industry are not aware of the laws requiring the pulling of permits and talent releases those on camera.

  2. $20 million! Wow! – that must have very specific or limited coverage because $1,000 for that amount of liability coverage is… really cheap. Goodonya if you can get that coverage for that amount. Thanks for the feedback Craig.

  3. I think its an option of the company to have insurance in video production. But if you are dealing with difficult situation in your video production, you need to have insurance to guarantee you on your safety.

  4. Our company is uninsured.
    Between the newbies beating us to death on price and the rising cost of everything were being crushed.
    Clients are getting harder and harder to even get in to talk to, much less getting hired for a project.

    There are 3 of us in the company and every penny is spent keeping the rent paid. Between the 3 of us we have over 100 years experience in Film/TV/Video

    For us and small firms like ours, insurance is a very expensive luxury.

    1. HI there!

      Domingo C, you caught our ear. We have a new agency that has 3 primary/core employees and a few part time employees on an as-needed basis. We know we can get insurance project by project, but we’re also struggling to find a general liability insurance coverage program suited to our needs and not robbing us dry.

      Like you, every dime is spent on the agency.

      What did you end up doing?

  5. We use our insurance coverage to help win clients. They are always impressed when we explain how not only are we covered for personal injuries that may occur but that we can also add them, the client,
    to be covered under our policy as well for the duration of the project. It demonstrates professionalism and gives us great peace of mind knowing we have some protection if ever sued. This is where we got our policy:

  6. It’s good to know that you should check to make sure that a video production company that you hire has the proper liability insurance so that the blame doesn’t fall on you. My boss is looking into hiring a production company to make a corporate video, but he hasn’t checked on their insurance yet. I’ll pass this information along to him so that he doesn’t hire an uninsured company by mistake.

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