Film insurance is a critical element in the industry meant to protect your production against material loss, injury and more. However, you might find that as your production process goes on, you are adding more new ideas or incorporating more feedback that requires you to amend the insurance coverage that you have.
You can do this by extending your film insurance, but knowing how to do this wisely means the difference between purchasing a brand new policy and expanding your existing coverage for an affordable rate. Here’s when you should extend your film insurance and how to go about it.
What Does Extending Your Film Insurance Mean?
When people think of extending their insurance policy, usually what they think of is increasing the term—and this can be true in some situations. For example, if you purchase an annual policy that covers all of the productions that you are tackling within that year (like a DICE insurance policy), you might find that you’re in trouble at the end of the year when one production hasn’t wrapped yet.
In this situation, you can extend your DICE coverage into the next year to make sure that your production is covered. However, extending your film insurance can be even more comprehensive because you can do so not only in terms of time but also in breadth of coverage.
Say that you purchase an insurance policy in January, when you’ve written up and approved a script, and then you start filming. However, in October, the team faces some negative feedback about a portion of the film, and that section needs to be rewritten and reshot.
The stunts, set locations and talent for this new scene might be outside of the scope of your original insurance policy. This is just one of many examples of when you can speak with your insurer to extend your film insurance to cover this new scenario.
When You Should Extend Your Insurance
Even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry, which might require you to extend your insurance by timeline or scope. The most common situation in which film insurance gets extended is when a distributor asks to be included as part of your coverage.
Your distributor, who is in charge of marketing for your film, can be just as liable for certain types of damages as your production studio is, so it is common for distributors to require that insurance covers them. However, if you purchased insurance before your distributor was decided, they may ask you to extend your insurance coverage to name them as an additional insured party.
Similarly, distributors might ask you to extend how long they are covered for. If you purchased a one-year errors & omissions policy but they require coverage for at least three years, you can work with your insurer to extend the duration of coverage.
In fact, you usually won’t have to get a brand new policy for this; instead, the insurer can offer an endorsement (called a Rights Period Endorsement, or sometimes a Term of Contract Endorsement).
What Film Insurance Covers—and What It Doesn’t
Knowing when to extend a policy and when to simply purchase a new one is one of the most important parts of making insurance decisions for your film. To make this decision, you’ll need to think about what your film insurance already covers—and what it doesn’t.
For example, almost all policies will protect film production studios from things like equipment damage, injury to talent and loss of recordings. However, most types of insurance will not cover dangerous stunts, travel to hazardous locations and similar out-of-the-box decisions.
You can try to supplement your existing coverage to include these elements by buying a new policy entirely, such as by paying for a rider built specifically for such situations.
However, in many cases, it’s more financially savvy to speak with your insurance agent about extending the coverage that you already have. This will usually increase the price, but that new premium will still likely be less than the cost of an entirely separate or add-on insurance policy.
Get Your Film Insurance from Industry Experts
Whether you’ve hit a snag in your production or just want to be prepared for any eventuality in the chaotic world of filmmaking, be sure that you choose to work with an insurance agency that specializes in covering film productions.
The experts at MFE Insurance have helped film studios achieve their goals and protect their investments across projects ranging from feature films to documentaries, educational materials and more. Reach out to learn more about your options for extending your insurance coverage.