If you want to rent equipment, hire professional actors or use certain locations, you’ll need insurance. Even if nobody asks you for it, it’s good to have in case of any breakages or accidents during shooting.
So, how do you get insurance?
Firstly, you work out the budget for your film. This is what the insurance company will base your quote on. On a normal (read: funded) feature shoot, the insurance premium will be a percentage of the overall budget (0.8/0.9%) but a certain minimum charge applies even if the budget is very low.
No Budget Shoot? Then my insurance must be nothing right? Nope. There has to be a budget in order to get insurance, otherwise there’s nothing to insure.
You have to include things like the value of the rented gear, value of your own gear being used or that of another crew member. Even if you’re not paying your crew, they’ll still need cover for their equipment.
Filming in a public space or hospitals, shops etc. You will usually need Public Liability Insurance and Employer’s Liability Insurance as well as equipment cover.
When you approach an insurance company it is best to have all your information organized beforehand. Solid shoot dates, locations confirmed where possible etc.
If you are shooting a few shorts over the course of a year, it usually much cheaper to get an annual policy. This covers multiple shoots and usually costs in the region 0f €250 – €400.
I would recommend both Aon Insurance and Media Insurance as companies I have used in the past. Make sure that all information you give to your insurer is correct, otherwise your policy will be invalid which will defeat the point of having insurance at all.
For theatre I would give the same advice, go for annual cover if possible. It’ll save you money in the long run. For theatre I tend to use FBD Insurance (but they don’t cover film production).
I know that this is very basic, but I realize that this is unknown territory for a lot of Irish low budget filmmakers. I will do a more in depth examination of insurance policies later on if people would like.