Insurance for one-day shoot? ($$$$)

(Nicole J. Butler) #1

In pre-production to shoot a promo to crowdfund for my web series. One-day shoot, 5 page script… and the lowest insurance quote so far has been over $1300. That’s more than half the budget! I had budgeted $1000 for insurance, thinking that would provide enough for overage. Silly me.

Does anyone here know if it’s possible to insure a production for fewer than 30 days? All quotes are for 30 days and we only need ONE of those days.

It’s likely that I’m stuck with this, but I figured it was worth an ask.

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(Bri Castellini) #2

@HackettKate @avincie @SallyMcLean @LisaEbersole ?

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(Ian David Diaz) #3

I really don’t know how it works out there in LA but over here in the UK where the unions hold no power, we would go full-on gorilla stylee and forego the insurance, :slight_smile: but it depends what you’re trying do within the shoot. Do you have detail? Maybe if you give us more details people can advise.

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(Emma Drewry) #4

oh my gosh do not pay that. my rate for my show’s insurance (SAG new media, LA) was $1400/mo. try film emporium


(Emma Drewry) #5

look specifically for short term insurance; it definitely exists and should only cost $300-400.


(Arthur Vincie) #6

I would check out Film Emporium They tend to provide very reasonable-ish rates for a lot less than 30 days.

A couple of things that can change your rate:

  • Go for the $1M per occurrence / $1M aggregate policy. That’s usually the lowest one offered. If you’re shooting on NY State property they usually want a $2M policy but for NYC permits and almost everyone else the $1M/$1M policy is plenty

  • Equipment and liability are usually bundled together. But you can specify the replacement value of your gear, props, wardrobe, etc; assuming you don’t have much gear, a lower replacement value will somewhat lower your quote.

  • Assuming you don’t have stunts, underwater sequences, or you’re shooting a music concert (I wish I was kidding about that but it’s in a lot of the applications), that should lower the premium as well

Another option is to ask friends who have production companies with long-term policies. They can subrent insurance to you by adding you/your production on as a rider to their policy.

Good luck!


(Nicole J. Butler) #7

I could get away with shooting guerilla-style if it wasn’t a union shoot, but since all actors involved are union, I wanted to do things on the up & up. Silly me. facepalm

1-day shoot with 2 actresses (also a VO actor, but we will pre-record him) in my apartment. No car crashes, no falling from heights - nothing dangerous.


(Nicole J. Butler) #8

What the heck? I TOLD the insurance companies that it was a ONE-DAY shoot and their quotes are from $1300 to $1900. Nobody even mentioned short-term insurance. This is not cool.

Thank you so much for the info! I wouldn’t have known to ask.


(Nicole J. Butler) #9

Thank you! I’m about to check out filmemporium right now.

I’m shooting for one day in my Los Angeles apartment, there are no stunts, and we are not renting equipment. Those quotes were for general liability and workers comp $1M policies.

I will ask about subrenting as well. I truly appreciate this info!

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(Nicole J. Butler) #10

Thanks for the signal boost, Bri!

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(Emma Drewry) #11

yeah, short-term insurance is a god-send! there are smaller companies that specialize in short-term independent film insurance; film emporium is one of them and in my opinion the best-- i used film emporium for my shoot and it was half the price of all the other estimates i got, though i will say sometimes they can be hard to reach by phone, so emailing is the way to go. absolutely recommend!


(Nicole J. Butler) #12

Did you have General Liability only or Worker’s Comp as well?

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(Emma Drewry) #13



(Arthur Vincie) #14

A couple of other things that might help:

  • If you’re already paying the cast and crew as employees, you can get worker’s comp through the payroll company. They’ll charge a nominal fee per check.

  • Not all states have this but many have a public worker’s comp fund, with cheaper rates. The only downside is that if it works anything like NYS you have to get the policy for a full year, then manually call / email and cancel it after your shoot so they will prorate and only charge you one quarter’s worth. The other things is that you have to keep your payroll and corporate paperwork organized (which I’m sure you’re doing anyway) 'cause sometimes they send inspectors to make sure that you spent what you claimed to have spent on payroll.


(Nicole J. Butler) #15

Thanks again! I’m hoping to receive a quote from the payroll company tomorrow. Film Emporium gave me a good rate for General Liability, so if I can get Worker’s Comp through payroll without paying an arm and a leg, I’ll be happy.

I’ll let you know how it turns out! Someone else here might need this info as well.


(Jon Massey) #16

I’m using Take One as a payroll service for a for a three day shoot spread out over a months time. It’s was an easy setup and seemed like a good deal with a small set up fee.

But I’m sure there are others.
And also +1 for using Film Emporium.

Good luck.


(Nicole J. Butler) #17

This is right on time! Thank you, Jon.

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(Allen Landver) #18

Hey Nicole, are you still looking for insurance? I have a colleague that can get you a good rate for a 1 day shoot. It will have to include worker’s comp. If you’re still looking, let me know and let’s connect!

  • Allen

(Nicole J. Butler) #19

Hi Allen -

Thanks so much for the offer, but I think I may be ok now! I think I’m going to get worker’s comp through the payroll company and liability through Film Emporium. I just have one more thing to check before making the decision. I’ll come back here and let everyone know what happened in case someone else is in this same position.


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(Allen Landver) #20

You got it! Let us know how you figured it out, and if anything changes, shoot me a line, happy to help.