Whether you’re a freelancer producing a short film, or you are part of a huge team working on the next summer blockbuster, the chances are you’ll be using some hired equipment. Equipment hire is key to the successful production of a huge range of different productions, and many a creative will tell you how vital their latest hires have been to their projects. But equipment hire isn’t a completely risk-free business.
Usually, equipment is hired due to the eye watering costs involved in purchasing all the kit required for a creative project. And this of course means that creatives bear quite a weight of responsibility when taking on hired equipment.
Good insurers working with the creative industries tend to offer a range of policies designed specifically for hired production equipment. Policies like these are now essential, given that the majority of hire companies won’t allow any kit to leave the premises with uninsured producers.
If you’re thinking of hiring equipment for your next production you’ll need to read up on what to do, and what not to do, before you begin. Take a look at our brief guide to film equipment insurance and before long you’ll be fully clued up and ready to go.
Whilst it isn’t common practice for an insurance company to carry out identity checks and obtain references before providing cover, it is important that you have a strong and reliable system in place so as not to invalidate any future claims. This means making sure you are adhering to all regulations and have the right paperwork in place for any hired equipment.
Insurance companies will also want to ask you a few questions in order to find out what cover you already have in place as well as what else you may need. Ultimately, this is the insurer’s way of making sure you get the right cover for the right areas.
While insurance policies do provide a degree of financial protection, this doesn’t mean that the company hiring kit can sit back and relax because equipment is insured. Once the kit is placed in your charge, you remain responsible for keeping it safe, to a certain degree.
The company providing the equipment will want to check that you are fully insured before releasing any equipment. They’ll likely want to go through policy documents with a fine-tooth comb before delivery is arranged. Once the kit is in your hands you will remain responsible for ensuring that the equipment is used only for the purposes initially specified, and that it is not left open to any other risk factors.
The great thing about the insurance industry as a whole is the enormous range of different policies on offer for different projects. For creatives, this is particularly advantageous. There are endless policies designed for producers hiring equipment, each of which offers its own distinct benefits. It’s worth looking into the different policies on offer, and making yourself aware of all the options before you decide which insurer to go for. It won’t take long to find an insurer that offers the complete protection that your production needs.
If you’re hiring equipment, you will be advised to opt for a policy offered on an “all risks” basis. Put simply, this means that all the usual risks such as fires, floods, storms and thefts will be fully covered by your policy. All risks insurance policies also offer protection in case of accidental damage – something you’ll definitely need if you’re hiring expensive production equipment! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking these policies cover absolute everything though, there are exclusions on all insurance policies, so make sure you look into those before you sign.
Exclusions are incredibly important, so don’t forget about them. Often exclusions will come into play if equipment isn’t stored correctly, leaving it open to unnecessary risks such as theft or accidental damage. For instance, many policies won’t provide coverage if equipment is left unattended in cars, or kept overnight in vans that don’t have immobilisers. Some policies will dictate exactly how equipment must be stored for the policy to be valid, so ensure that your whole team is aware of these terms and knows how to securely store kit for the duration of the hire.
If expensive equipment is lost or damaged, costs can quickly spiral out of control. Remember, it might not just be the cost of the actual equipment that insurers need to cover in the event of loss or damage. Quite often hire companies will have a number of clients lined up to use the same equipment in the days and weeks following your hire, and if anything happens to the equipment while it’s in your care then huge losses can occur as a result.
If equipment isn’t returned in good condition, hire companies have a right to continue to charge their normal rates until the equipment is back in their charge, or claim the costs of any hires that haven’t gone ahead due to the missing or lost kit. Policies which include loss of hire can cover the costs of the latter. Continuing hire cover will most likely have to be requested as an addition, but will cover you in case the rental company continues to charge until the lost or damaged equipment is returned. Having both loss of hire and continuing cover will ultimately help you to avoid mounting costs should the worst happen.
A good equipment hire policy should provide complete peace of mind, leaving you free to hire as much kit as you need to bring a project together. Policies should offer a broad range of protection from any exposures that your project might be vulnerable to, from the usual risk of accidental damage to dangers that might be outside of your control, like fires, floods and theft.
Read up on how equipment hire insurance works, and look into the different options available to you. Before long you’ll have found a policy that offers all the protection your project needs, and you’ll be ready to get out there and start working on your next big production.