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Why Buying Film Equipment Insurance Might Feel Like Stealing

You don't have to work in Hollywood to know that a film budget can quickly get out of control. Filmmakers of all types face the monumental challenge of balancing crew and talent payment, equipment costs, and food and transportation expenses while trying to find enough money to finance the entire thing. When faced with another purchase — that of insurance — it's enough to make a filmmaker break into a worried sweat.

But surprisingly, video equipment insurance might be one of the least expensive things you'll have to buy. Let's look at the specifics to give you a better idea of what a deal your coverage may be.

Video Production Equipment You Might Want to Insure

Video Production Equipment You Might Want to Insure

If you take inventory of all your gear, its collective cost may be staggering. For example…

  • Cameras: $1,000 to $20,000 each or $50,000 (if you somehow manage to get your hands on a state-of-the-art EPIC-M RED Dragon New browser window icon.).
  • Lenses: $100 to $10,000 each.
  • Lights and reflectors: $100 to $5,000 each.
  • Microphones: $100 to $2,000 each, and if you're an extreme audiophile, it's even more.
  • Audio recorders: $100 to $500 each.
  • Boom poles, tripods, and dollies: A few hundred to a few thousand dollars (or nothing, if you're all about those handheld shots).
  • Computers, editing software, and hard drives: Seriously, it has to be getting expensive, but, what, a couple grand?
  • Cables, batteries, and camera bags: You can see where this is going…

Aside from the equipment you have your crew, who are probably getting paid, but you're lucky if they're volunteering their time. You have the cast or talent or interviewees, who at the very least might require some food every now and then if you're not compensating them handsomely. You have studio rental time. You have a vehicle to lug everything to location. You have license and permit fees for filming. You have license fees for copyrighted music. You have marketing costs. You have coffee. You have a phone. You have an ulcer now from thinking about all of this.

That's a lot of stuff to be responsible for. And granted, not every shoot will have the same requirements or intimidating list of expenditures. Nonetheless, it's easy to see that even basic video projects require a lot of upfront cost and investment.

The easiest way to protect that investment? Insurance! And compared to everything listed above, insurance is a steal.

The Cost and Coverage of Film Equipment Insurance

The Cost and Coverage of Film Equipment Insurance

So how much can you expect to pay for video equipment insurance? It depends on what kind of work you do and what equipment you have, but many filmmakers are able to get…

  • Videography Property Insurance starting at $425 per year.
  • A Business Owner's Policy starting at $500 per year.

Property Insurance can cover most of your video equipment — everything from cameras and lenses to computers and editing bays. It can reimburse you if your gear gets damaged or stolen, letting you quickly get back on track and finish a project. And you can apply it to both owned and rented equipment and studio spaces. (You'll want to make sure your policy covers the type of work you're performing, though. Many policies exclude water damage or flooding, so if that's a risk where you work, you might have to pay a bit more to add a rider that extends your coverage.)

A Business Owner's Policy, or BOP, is a few different insurance policies rolled into one package. It usually includes Property Insurance and General Liability Insurance, which covers lawsuits over copyright violations and third-party (i.e., non-employee) injuries that happen at your office or on set. It can also cover accidental damage someone else's property — a prime consideration if you're shooting on location.

By paying just a few hundred dollars a year, you can protect tens of thousands of dollars' worth of equipment that's crucial for your job. You can protect your business from common lawsuits, too. You'll be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck.

Ready to see how little you may spend on your insurance coverage? Fill out an online application.

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