While most film projects are completed without any major disasters, it’s always good to have professional indemnity insurance.
When making films, it’s important to be prepared, and part of that is making sure that you have good insurance in place. We’re going to take a look at professional indemnity insurance, including what exactly it is, why you need it, and tips for finding the best policy for you and your business.
What Is Professional Indemnity Insurance?
Also known as professional liability insurance, this commercial policy is designed for freelancers and business owners. It can cover costs if a compensation claim is made against you for damages based on your services.
Why Do I Need Professional Indemnity Insurance?
Professional indemnity insurance is vital for filmmakers and is often a contractual requirement for projects. That’s because you can be held liable for any video or film that the client isn’t happy with (even if you followed the brief). This could include things like continuity errors and poor lighting. A client can also claim for either professional or financial damages that occur as a result of your work.
While you may be confident in your abilities, mistakes happen, and professional indemnity insurance can save you a huge expense if a project doesn’t go to plan. Without it, you would have to pay compensation plus any legal fees yourself. Unexpected costs like this could seriously derail your video production career and get you into some financial trouble.
What Does A Typical Policy Cover?
Different insurance policies will cover different things. However, most policies offer cover for:
- Negligence, where you made a mistake in your work or give a client advice that results in negative consequences
- Intellectual property, where you unintentionally infringed on copyright or trademarks
- Loss or damage of data belonging to the client, for example accidentally deleting their footage
- Dishonesty, which usually refers to theft from the client
- Defamation, where you used or made material that damaged a third party’s reputation
Some policies will also offer industry-specific extensions, like cover for an unintentional breach of contract or APA contracts for producing advertisements.
Do I Need To Renew Professional Indemnity Insurance?
The ‘term length’ refers to the duration of the policy. Professional indemnity insurance policies vary depending on the insurer, but will usually offer cover for at least one year with the option to pay the premium in one go or in monthly installments.
You must renew your policy in plenty of time, and you will usually be reminded with at least 30 days notice. If your policy expires and you are not covered for even one day, you may not be able to make a claim relating to that period. However, it’s possible to get ‘tail’ cover, which gives you a set amount of time after the policy ends where claims relating to the period can still be made.
What Should I Look Out For?
Each policy will have a minimum premium, which is the lowest amount that the policy will cover, as well as a maximum that the insurer is prepared to pay out. It can be hard to know exactly how much cover you will need, but a good rule of thumb is to go for as much as you can afford. That’s because it needs to not only cover the cost of fixing any mistakes but also the legal costs of any claims made against you. As you can imagine, this can add up very quickly, so it’s important not to just go for the cheapest option.
Where Can I Find Professional Indemnity Insurance?
It’s always a good idea to look for an insurance company that specializes in film and video production. Should you ever have to make a claim, they will have industry-relevant experience and will likely have dealt with similar situations before. The sooner they can resolve the issue, the sooner you can get back to what you do best.
It’s also wise to get quotes from a few different insurers so you can compare policies and find the best deal. However, whichever insurance company you choose, it’s important that you have a thorough understanding of exactly what is covered before you sign on the dotted line.
In short, professional indemnity insurance is a hugely valuable (and often compulsory) form of protection for both you and your business.
It may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but put in the research to find a good policy and you’ll have extra peace of mind that you are protected should the unexpected happen.