Film Insurance Guide: Understanding General Liability

General liability insurance is an important form of coverage for those working in the film industry. The policies are designed to protect producers and other creative professionals from being left with hefty bills as a result of accidental damage or injury to third parties.

All too often, during the planning stages, there is a tendency to focus on insuring expensive equipment and protecting the project against the cost of cancellations. But general liability insurance is just as important, because if an accident does occur as a consequence of filming, the resultant legal proceedings and compensation claims can be enormously expensive. 

Take a look at our quick guide to general liability insurance to find out whether your next project would benefit from this coverage.


What does general liability insurance cover?

General liability insurance covers the cost of injuries or damage to third parties which occur as a direct result of filming. For instance, if a member of the public were to wander past the film set and trip on a loose cable that had been left lying across the pavement, then they would be within their rights to claim compensation. At this point, general liability coverage would foot the bill of any legal proceedings, and ultimately pay out any compensation due.

 Importantly, general liability policies do not cover harm that might be accidentally caused to members of staff – or to equipment or venues being used for filming. This coverage focuses solely on third parties, securing financial protection for any injuries or damage that could be caused to them.


Who needs general liability insurance?

Any filming project which employs staff and will be filming in public places will benefit from general liability insurance. The policies are written with the specific risks of each project in mind, and can be designed to cover a wide range of related exposures.

Producers aren’t obliged to purchase general liability coverage, but doing so does ensure peace of mind for all those heading up the project. If plans involve filming that takes place alongside members of the public, or in public spaces, then general liability coverage is essential.


Is general liability insurance a legal requirement?

Producers aren’t legally required to obtain general liability insurance before filming can begin. The only insurance that must be secured before any projects can start is employer’s liability insurance, which protects all staff working on the film.

 While it isn’t a legal requirement, general liability coverage is a good idea for projects which interact with members of the public in any way. There are huge risks involved when public spaces are used, and it’s crucial that these are properly covered in the production’s insurance policies.


How does general liability insurance differ from public liability insurance?

General liability insurance is the name given to insurance for injuries and damage to third parties, but the term itself is most commonly used in the USA. For filming projects taking place in the UK, a very similar form of coverage is usually referred to as public liability insurance.

 There are some subtle differences between these two forms of insurance, however. In many cases, general liability will offer more extensive coverage than public liability. If you’re unsure of the best policy for your next film, speak to your insurer about the specific terms of public liability coverage – and make sure that every exposure you’re aware of is fully covered by the policy.


What does general liability insurance for films cost?

Like any insurance policy, the costs of general liability coverage can vary quite substantially. The larger the project is, the greater the risks involved, and the costs of insurance will therefore increase too. But for smaller scale films, general liability coverage can usually be provided at a much more affordable price.

Other factors affecting costing include previous claims, company turnover, the location of the production and any specific risks involved in the production. Speak to your preferred insurer to discuss your project in detail and you’ll soon find out what the cost of general liability insurance would be for your next film.


Are contractors covered by general liability insurance?

Many contractors working in the creative industries choose to take out their own general liability insurance, and this is definitely worthwhile. For contractors, there are always risks involved in work that they undertake.

 Contractors working on films might accidentally drop expensive pieces of equipment, and they could even unintentionally injure a passerby as a result of a simple work-related mishap. In situations like these, general liability coverage protects the contractor in question, and ensures that the damage or injury is fully paid for and compensated.


General liability insurance provides complete coverage for injuries and accidents that might affect third parties. As this is a very real risk in the majority of filming projects, the coverage is ideal for creative productions. General liability policies are a must for almost any film, providing complete peace of mind for producers as they get stuck into a project. Read more about our film production insurance services here.

Posted: September 22, 2020 | Categories:

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