What Insurance do Short Filmmakers Need?


There are many different types of insurance available for short filmmakers to help them financially protect themselves and their projects, including Public Liability, Equipment Insurance, Employers’ Liability and more.

Imagine you've spent months meticulously planning your short film, assembling a talented cast and crew and gathering the perfect equipment. Everything is set for your shoot, but then an unexpected accident occurs on set, causing injury and equipment damage.

Without the right insurance, this incident could spell disaster for your project and finances. Whether you're a seasoned filmmaker or a student or recent graduate just starting out, understanding and securing the appropriate insurance is crucial to protect your investment, your team and your creative vision.

In this guide, we’ll explore the types of insurance every short filmmaker needs to consider and why they’re indispensable. Learn more about Short Film Insurance.

Different types of insurance for short filmmakers:

  • Public Liability insurance
  • Equipment insurance
    • Hired-in equipment
  • Employers’ Liability insurance
  • Professional Indemnity insurance

Public Liability insurance

Public Liability insurance can protect filmmakers if a claim is made against them for third-party injuries or property damage that may occur as a result of their production activities. This insurance is more important for any filming project that involves interaction with the public or in private and rented locations, as it can provide financial protection against potentially costly claims.

Unfortunately, despite your best intentions accidents can and do happen on set, and without Public Liability insurance a filmmaker might have to bear the expenses out of their own pocket.

These expenses can include medical bills, legal fees and compensation payments, which could severely impact the budget of a short film project.

Also, a lot of filming locations and equipment rental companies require proof of cover in the r form of a Public Liability insurance certificate before allowing filmmakers to use their facilities.

Some examples of why short filmmakers might need Public Liability insurance include:

  • On-set accidents. During your short film shoot, a member of the public could trip over a cable and suffer an injury. If a claim is made against you, Public Liability insurance could cover the medical costs and any legal fees associated with the claim.
  • Property damage. While filming in a rented location, a piece of your equipment might accidentally damage the property, such as scratching the floor or breaking a window. Public Liability insurance could cover the repair costs and any related legal issues.
  • Public interaction. If your short film involves shooting in public places, then there is a higher risk of unintentional injuries or damages. For example, a passerby might be injured by falling equipment. Public Liability insurance can provide cover for such incidents, preventing financial strain and protecting the filmmaker's reputation.

Learn more about Public Liability insurance.


Equipment Insurance

Equipment insurance is a specialised type of cover designed to protect the filmmaking equipment you use during your short film production. This can include both the equipment you already own and the equipment you rent or hire-in especially for the project.

Equipment insurance can safeguard against financial loss due to the theft, damage or loss of equipment and make sure that your production can continue smoothly even in the face of unexpected incidents.

Own Equipment Cover

Equipment insurance for a filmmaker's own equipment can cover for damage, theft and the loss of the equipment they personally own and use in their film productions.

This insurance typically includes protection for cameras, lighting, sound equipment, editing suites and other technical gear. Cover may extend to repair costs, replacement costs, and in some cases, the rental costs for temporary replacement equipment while repairs are being made.

Owning film equipment represents a significant investment for short filmmakers. Without equipment insurance, filmmakers could face substantial out-of-pocket expenses to repair or replace their equipment and keep their production running.

Knowing that your equipment is insured allows you to focus on the creative aspects of filmmaking rather than worrying about the financial repercussions of potential accidents or theft.

Hired-In Equipment

Equipment insurance for hired-in equipment can provide cover for the equipment that filmmakers rent, lease or hire for their film projects.

This insurance covers similar risks as for their own equipment, including theft, damage and loss. It ensures that filmmakers are not held personally liable for any issues that occur with rented equipment. Additionally, it can cover the rental costs for replacement equipment if needed.

When renting equipment, the rental agreement often places the responsibility for any damage or loss on the filmmaker. Hired-in equipment insurance therefore provides peace of mind to the filmmaker and protects their personal and project finances.

Insurance allows filmmakers to rent high-quality, often expensive, equipment with confidence. They can utilise the best tools for their production without the added stress of potential financial risk if something goes wrong.

Learn more about Equipment Insurance.

Employers’ Liability Insurance

Employers' Liability insurance can protect filmmakers against claims made by employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness. This insurance covers the legal costs and compensation payments that may arise from such claims, ensuring that employers are not financially burdened by incidents that occur during production.

For short filmmakers who hire cast and crew, Employers’ Liability insurance is crucial. It provides financial protection and peace of mind by covering the costs associated with workplace injuries or illnesses. Without this insurance, filmmakers could face significant legal and compensation expenses that could jeopardise their project's budget and progress. Additionally, this insurance demonstrates a commitment to the safety and well-being of the team, fostering a positive working environment.

In the UK, Employers' Liability Insurance is a legal requirement for businesses and organisations that employ staff. Filmmakers must ensure they comply with these regulations to avoid legal penalties and fines. For example, in the UK, it is mandatory for employers to have at least £5 million of Employers' Liability insurance cover.

Learn more about Employers’ Liability insurance.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity insurance (sometimes referred to as PII or just PI) is a type of cover that can protect filmmakers against claims of professional negligence, errors or omissions that result in financial loss for a client or other third party.

This insurance can cover legal costs and any compensation payments that may be required if a filmmaker is found to have provided inadequate or faulty services.

For short filmmakers, particularly those who work on commissioned projects or provide services to clients, Professional Indemnity insurance can be vital as it can protect against the financial consequences of disputes over the quality of work or unmet expectations. In the creative industry, disagreements can arise over various aspects of a project, from missed deadlines to unsatisfactory content.

Professional Indemnity insurance makes sure that filmmakers are protected from the potentially crippling costs of legal battles and compensation claims, allowing them to maintain their professional reputation and financial stability.

Some examples of when a short filmmaker might need Professional Indemnity insurance include:

Creative Disputes

A client might claim that the final cut of a short film does not meet the agreed-upon brief, alleging that the short filmmaker failed to deliver the promised quality or specific content. Professional Indemnity insurance could cover the legal costs and any compensation required to resolve the dispute.

Project Delays

If a filmmaker is unable to complete a project on time due to unforeseen circumstances and the delay causes financial loss to the client, the client might seek compensation. Professional Indemnity could provide cover to the filmmaker for the legal expenses and any compensation awarded.

Intellectual Property Issues

If a short filmmaker is accused of inadvertently infringing on someone else’s intellectual property rights, such as using copyrighted music or footage without proper permissions, Professional Indemnity insurance would help cover the costs associated with defending the claim and any settlements or damages that might be awarded.

Technical Errors

If a technical error during production or post-production results in a loss of footage or other critical project elements, leading to financial loss for the client, Professional Indemnity insurance could cover the legal costs and compensation involved in addressing the claim.

Learn more about Professional Indemnity insurance.

Being a short filmmaker involves more than just creative vision and technical skills - it also requires a clear understanding of the various risks associated with a project and how to best mitigate them. Getting the right insurance in place is a crucial step in protecting your project, your equipment, your team and yourself.

We've explored several essential types of insurance that short filmmakers need:

  • Public Liability insurance, which protects against third-party claims for injury or property damage, ensuring that accidents on set don't lead to financial disaster.
  • Equipment insurance, which can cover both owned and hired-in equipment against theft, damage or loss, providing peace of mind and financial protection for your valuable gear.
  • Employers' Liability insurance for filmmakers who hire cast and crew. This insurance covers claims related to work-related injuries or illnesses, ensuring compliance with legal requirements and fostering a safe working environment.
  • Professional Indemnity insurance, which can protect filmmakers against the financial consequences of professional disputes, errors, or omissions, protecting both reputation and finances.

As a short filmmaker, it is important to assess your specific needs and risks carefully. Each project is unique, and the right insurance coverage can mean the difference between a minor setback and a major financial crisis. Investing in comprehensive insurance not only protects your current project but also builds a solid foundation for your future endeavours in the film industry.


Get a FREE online quote today for short film insurance from Mode Insurance

Any views or opinions expressed above are for guidance only and are expressed in generic terms. They are not intended as a substitute for readers taking appropriate professional advice relevant to individual circumstances.

Written by

Richa Patel

Digital Marketing Exec

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