Lights, camera, accident
Filming is a messy, chaotic business. Tight schedules, busy people and equipment lying around means you need to be on your toes. At the same time, you can’t be everywhere. Mistakes happen and no matter how much you disaster-proof your stuff, you can’t always prevent the worst from happening.
If you ask us, we reckon insurance for videographers is pretty much an essential tool. What you need comes down to what you do and how you do it. Thing is, with enough types of business insurance out there to bamboozle anyone, seeing the wood for the trees isn’t easy.
Here, we’ve run through the typical (and not so typical) disaster scenarios videographers might face. Some you’ll recognise, some you won’t. But hopefully you’ll get a better idea of what could happen and what insurance you need.
Scene 1: You damage a person or their property
Shooting on location is fraught with potential for accidents. All that bulky equipment you carry about with you can topple, explode, and be tripped over. We’re talking hot lights, fog machines, ladders, heavy suspended equipment, rigging and power tools. In other words, stuff that can seriously harm fragile bodies.
Then there’s the damage you might do to someone’s property while filming. Props can get knocked over, carpets muddied, wedding dresses trampled on. If that happens and you’re deemed responsible, you’re going to have to pay damages and/or compensation to the injured party.
All this should land videographers’ public liability insurance straight on top of your list of insurance must-haves. It covers the legal costs of a claim that you’ve damaged someone else’s person or property, and any payments you’re obliged to make as compensation. A life-saver, in other words.
Scene 2: A member of your crew gets injured
Speaking of injuries, what about your people? Fine if you’re a one-man band but if you occasionally hire actors, models, cameramen, runners, makeup people and the like, you’re bound by law to have employers’ liability insurance.
This covers you for claims or compensation for injuries or sickness to your staff caused by things like props, explosives, pyrotechnics, chemicals and loud noises. Needless to say, the bigger the production, the more insurance you’re going to need.
If you’re wondering who’s an employee and who isn’t, the Health and Safety Executive’s definition includes part-timers, volunteers, work experience kids, temporary workers, apprentices and labour-only subcontractors. You’ll also need to cover any freelancers that work with you (more on that here).
Scene 3: You’re injured or can’t get to work
Now you’ve thought about everyone else, what about you? Being unable to work, or even get to work, is a freelance videographer’s worst nightmare.
Clearly, cancelled projects means dented profits. But you might also find the longer you take time off, the harder it is to pick up where you left off. Clients rarely wait around.
Reason enough to look into personal accident insurance and business interruption insurance then. The first covers you in case you’re injured in an accident and can’t work, and the second compensates you for loss of income if something like a power cut, fire or flood stops you getting to work. It even covers the cost of moving somewhere else and hiring temporary equipment. Bonus.
Scene 4: Your equipment is broken, lost or stolen
In our experience, most videographers’ claims are for broken or lost equipment.
If you’ve ever totted up the cost of all your equipment, from your flashiest lights to your smallest SD card, you’ll know it’ll take thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds to replace everything.
When it comes to your gear, two things cover it: portable equipment insurance and equipment breakdown insurance. The first protects the gear you take out and about with you, while the second covers electrical and/or mechanical failure (like a camera that conks out or a hard drive that fails).
Having both means you’re covered for theft, accidental damage, loss, and the inconvenience and expense of stuff giving up on you.
Scene 5: A cyber-attack wipes out your hard drive
Cyber-attacks in the form of viruses, hackers and data theft are a danger to any business that uses the internet or email. Videographers can find themselves especially badly hit, with a bit of malware all it takes to wipe your video clips, editing programmes and client’s details. Leaving you without a business, basically.
While there’s enough preventative methods out there to leave you thinking you’ve ticked all the boxes, nothing is fool-proof and it’s good to have a plan B. Like cyber insurance.
It’s a handy thing to have about if you’re using a laptop to store your client’s confidential data or work on content of a personal nature (a couple’s wedding video, for example). It protects you if you’re sued for something like unauthorised data theft and it’ll even cover the cost of restoring your systems and/or website to get you up and running again.
Scene 6: A client refuses to pay for your work
Let’s say you’ve wrapped up a project. What happens when your client then turns around and says they’re unhappy with your work? What if they say you haven’t done a good enough job and refuse to pay?
Professional indemnity insurance is worth saving for last because, in some ways, it’s the most critical type of insurance you need. It covers you if a client says your mistake has cost them money, or you’ve not done what was asked, and pays for whatever you need to do to fix it.
For example, it could cover the cost of reshooting a live event where the organiser feels you didn’t do it justice. Or it could compensate an irate client who claims the promotional video you made for their business is way off-brand and has to be redone.
It’s a reputation saver and a pocket saver, and it’s something all professional people probably need at some point. The potential costs for not having it are far greater than what it costs to buy so it’s definitely something worth looking into.
Clearly, when it comes to insurance for videographers there’s a lot to think about. Call us on 0345 222 5360 if you need to talk to someone. Otherwise, go straight here to get a quote.