Helpful Insurance Tips

Top 5 Insurance Tips When Traveling with Your Gear

By: Aylene Villarin

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Traveling is part of your job, we’ve put together an easy list of things you should consider when travelling with your gear internationally to protect your camera.

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Imagine the following scenario: A Director of Photography is at the airport waiting for his flight to South Korea. He’s hoping to somehow cross the demilitarized zone into North Korea for a documentary film he’s working on. As his carry-on luggage is being scanned at LAX, a TSA agent asks him to open up his Pelican case for inspection. The TSA agent finds his camera, camera gear – camera bag, lenses, lens hood, lithium batteries, and a small tripod. 

The TSA agent quickly inspects each item and confiscates the batteries and tripod. The DP is furious. He can’t do anything but listen to the TSA agent explain why airline passengers are prohibited from travelling with certain types of equipment. 

Eventually, the DP arrives in South Korea safely. The next day, he and a group of local filmmakers manage to smuggle their way into North Korea. During the short 2-hour shoot, the DP drops his camera and lens and cracks the lens.

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

 

What, if anything, is the DP able to claim under his insurance policy?

This is a tough question to answer. It would depend on the types of policies he has and the exclusions that are listed in those policies. In general, most insurance policies have an exclusion for Government Seizure or Destruction. 

A TSA agent is legally able to confiscate your camera equipment and if your insurance policy excludes Government Seizure or Destruction of property, your insurance policy would not be triggered. This means that in the above scenario, the DP would not be able to file a claim to replace his confiscated gear.  

In addition, The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which is a division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, prohibits American citizens from doing business with governments, companies, and even individuals in certain foreign nations. Since North Korea is included in the list of U.S.-sanctioned countries, the DP’s lens that was damaged in North Korea may also not be covered under his insurance policy even if his insurance policy has worldwide coverage.

To avoid the same pitfalls that the DP above suffered, here are our Top 5 Tips to keep your gear safe when travelling internationally:

  • Check the U.S. Department of Treasury’s website for the  list of sanctioned countries - If the country you’re travelling to is listed, chances are, your equipment is not insurable while you’re there. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, such as getting OFAC clearance from the government for government-approved travel. If that is the case, be sure to contact your insurance broker/agent prior to your trip to notify them that you’ve received clearance to travel to a U.S.-sanctioned country.
  • Contact the airline(s) – Since every airline may have their own rules and regulations, it’s important to reach out to them to clarify which types of gear are allowed on the plane and which are prohibited.  At the end of the day, the more informed you are, the better your chances are that your gear won’t be confiscated.

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

  • Do extra research before travelling with your gear – There are a ton of videos and articles online that can help you decide which types of equipment are likely to be seized by TSA, so make sure you know what those items are. Just remember that it can still be up to the discretion of that individual TSA agent to determine whether or not your gear poses a threat, so be smart! If that extra-long tripod looks like it could be used as a weapon, it may be a good idea to leave it behind. 
  • Be organized – When packing your equipment, be meticulous about your gear organization. Break down your gear to make it easier for TSA agents to inspect it. Not only will this reduce the likelihood that it will get damaged during inspection, but it may also legitimize the purpose for your travel and help convince the TSA agent that your equipment is not dangerous. In addition, make sure to carry on the expensive stuff. If it’s hard to replace or the replacement costs are high, keep it in close proximity to you at all times. 
  • Insure your equipment properly – Don’t rely on your homeowners’ policy to extend coverage for your gear when you’re using it in the field or travelling with it. Chances are, your equipment is no longer covered the moment you take it outside your home. 

Contact an insurance broker who specializes in production equipment insurance. The type of policy you should inquire about is called an Inland Marine Equipment Floater policy. Review the policy with your broker and ask as many questions as you can. The more you understand the policy and any exclusions that may apply, the better prepared you will be when you travel with your gear. 

 

Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

If you have any questions about your gear insurance while travelling, please feel free to give the friendly entertainment insurance experts at Athos Insurance a call at 626-716-9800 or contact us via our online customer service team. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

 

Author, Aylene Villarin

Aylene joined Athos shortly after Katherine Wong founded the company in 2012, and has been an integral part of Athos’s growth and development ever since. Aylene’s diverse and robust experience spans across a multitude of services including underwriting, marketing, client management & retention, and business operations. She now serves as Athos’ claims analyst and manages the Underwriting Team, focusing on entertainment-wide insurance solutions for complex production risks.

Top 5 Insurance Tips For Renting Out Your Camera Gear

By: Katherine Wong, President of Athos Insurance Services

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Safely earn a little extra income in between projects.

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So, you’ve invested in some good film and camera equipment, and managed to build up a solid collection of cameras, lenses, and gear. Now you want to rent it out between your own projects and pick up a little extra cash. Why not, right? 

Great idea! But before you start, there are some important things to know about renting out your gear. These five tips can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle. 

 

1. You’ll need a rental agreement 

I know, I know, it sounds all official, and you’re just renting it out to your roommate’s cousin’s friend Bobby. I’m sure it’s fine, right? NOPE! 

You’re going to want to have a rental agreement written up for every rental, even if it’s between friends or family, and even if you’re just lending it to someone and no money is being exchanged (very nice of you to do that, by the way). 

This way, if there is some kind of dispute, you have legal ground to stand on. It also legitimizes the rental in the eyes of your insurance company, so there are no issues with insurance claim payouts if something goes wrong. 

There are two key things to remember here: 

  1. The rental agreement needs to be created before any gear is picked up.

  2. The name on the rental contract has to match the policyholder name on the renter’s insurance policy. 

Wait! Your renter needs insurance! Let’s talk about that. 

 

2. Your renter needs a Certificate of Insurance to show they’re insured

Whoever is renting your camera or photography equipment will need to have equipment rental insurance. 

More specifically, they’ll need to have an Inland Marine Equipment Floater Insurance, an Equipment Floater, a DICE Production Insurance Package, or Miscellaneous Equipment Floater. We’ll discuss these different types of insurance packages in another post, but for now, just know that your renter needs to have one of them or it’s a “no” from you. 

You’ll need a certificate of insurance from them that names you as a loss payee. The limit should be at least the value of your rented equipment. And if the renter is renting from anyone else, the limit needs to cover the total of all rented equipment being rented from everyone. 

A quick note about expiration: an insurance policy will always expire at 12:01 am. This means that the expiration date should always be listed as the day after the gear is returned. 

I know, it seems like we are getting very technical here, and that’s because we are! We are an insurance company and it’s our job to look out for all the little details (and think about all the little things that could go wrong) so you don’t have to. 

 

Pictured is a video camera filming a stage. This image is used to educate readers on how they can safely insure their rented gear through gear rental insurance.

 

3. You need gear insurance too!

Well guess who else needs camera equipment insurance? You! 

That’s right. You have to protect your gear, even if the renter has insurance, for a few reasons. 

If your renter is fraudulent, their insurance will not pay for your equipment, because the renter is duping you into giving them the equipment. This is considered fraud or criminal activity, which is never covered by an insurance policy when committed by the policyholder. 

Make sure to add “Voluntary Parting on False Pretense” coverage to your insurance policy, to protect against fraudulent renters. We’ll cover sketchy renters more below. 

This picture is used in an article about camera gear rental insurance. A photographer is pictured filming on-top of a mountain.

 

4. You’ll need to do an official gear inspection

It’s important to inspect and test your gear before and after the rental, so you’ll be able to tell if anything has been damaged or broken. 

The last thing you want is a disagreement regarding damages. We recommend inspecting, testing, and documenting your inspection on video (you don’t need to make a Ken Burns documentary, just pull out your iPhone) with the renter before they leave with your gear. That way, you’re both on the same page about any scratches or pre-existing damages, which can prevent conflict later. Upon return, you’ll want to do the same thing. 

It’s always a good idea to do a deeper inspection within a few days of the equipment being returned, and to let the renter know you’ll be doing it. Don’t wait weeks to do this. The longer you wait, the easier it is for the renter to claim they had nothing to do with it. 

When the renter returns the equipment, ask if there were any problems or issues to allow them to explain anything unusual. And of course, document all feedback in writing.

5. You’ll have to be a little discerning about who you rent your camera gear to

I told you we’d return to the topic of “sketchy renters” and here we are. It’s so important to vet and research anyone you’re considering renting to. Fraud is on the rise lately, and being scammed is no one’s idea of a good time (except maybe the scammer). 

We recommend getting references, checking ID, asking for their social media profiles and scanning them to make sure they look real. Don’t worry, we won’t make you take a trip to their hometown and interview their elementary school teachers, but at least the same due diligence you’d do if you were hiring someone for a job, or vetting potential tinder matches for your sister. 

You need to be able to trust the person, at least to a certain degree. Always ask how they found you, and if they were referred by someone you know, ask that person about them too! 

Find out as much as you can before entrusting them with your valuable camera equipment. And if something seems fishy or doesn’t add up, ditch them. There will be other opportunities, and it’s not worth the trouble or risk. 

You worked hard to pay for all your gear, and renting it out can be a great way to make a few extra bucks. But just following these simple steps before jumping into a rental agreement with someone can help safeguard those valuable assets. 

Hopefully everything goes smoothly, but if anything goes wrong, you’ll be happy you were prepared! 

If you have any questions about gear rental insurance or need a gear rental policy for your camera equipment, our entertainment insurance agents at Athos Insurance is standing buy to make magic happen for you. 

Rent your gear with no worries with Athos Insurance!

What Are Continuing Rental Fees?

By: Christina Lam, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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Here's how to protect yourself from additional fees for lost or damaged rented equipment.

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You’ve decided to rent equipment to shoot and produce your new project. You locate a reputable rental house and secure everything you need. Everything is going well and you are getting great use out of the equipment. The return date is just around the corner and you are ready to return everything, damage-free. Then, an unexpected incident occurs.

After packing up the equipment at the end of the shoot, you leave it on the sidewalk for just a moment while opening your car. As you turn around, you see someone running off with the gear!

You know that these types of unfortunate events can happen to people renting gear. That’s why you get insurance, right? But what you may not know is that if they happen while the equipment is in your possession, a simple insurance policy may not cover everything. You could even be on the hook for additional charges.

Yes, you read that right! You may get charged additional costs from the rental house in the event of an accident or incident that leaves the gear unusable. 

While most insurance claims cover the cost of replacing or repairing the rented equipment, most people forget to consider the daily monetary loss that the rental house suffers while the gear is out of commission. This monetary loss is the additional cost that the rental house charges you due to the “loss of use” that they now have to cover.

Essentially, the rental house loses money every day that this gear is out of commission because they can’t rent that same equipment to someone else. 

 

Loss of Use Provision 

As a result, more and more rental houses are including a Loss of Use provision in their rental contracts. The Loss of Use provision states that the renter is responsible for continuing rental fees every day that the rental house is unable to rent the same equipment to another party. This makes the current renter responsible for rental houses' loss of income  for every single day that the rental house is unable to rent the same equipment to another person.

Those loss of use charges can be devastating for renters and add up quickly. This provision is what makes Athos’ optional Continuing Rental Fees Insurance essential. With this extra coverage, you are reimbursed for any continuing rental fees that are incurred after an initial 3 day waiting period. 

 

Get Peace of Mind

Loss of use fees are a burden on the renter while protecting rental houses from additional monetary loss. The best way to protect yourself from this burden and ensure peace of mind is to purchase optional Continuing Rental Fees Insurance through Athos. 

When you’re working, you need to be focused on your craft, your creative process, and making an incredible production. You do not want to be worried about potential mishaps, like damage to your rented equipment. Get started right here.

Top 10 On-Set Movie Catastrophes that Really Happened!

By: The Athos Insurance Team

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Read on for a list of Hollywood movie accidents and a reminder of why film production insurance is so important.

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Making movies is fun. Every day is different, there’s always tasty food around, and everyone becomes best friends! Plus, at the end you have a movie! But a lot of work goes into it as well. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears, sometimes quite literally! Here are 10 on-set catastrophes that went beyond method acting and really happened.

Photo by  Jakob Owens on  Unsplash

 

1. The Boat Trip Hollywood Disaster

On the set of the 1996 film Titanic, around 50 cast and crew members had to go to the hospital after eating soup that had been laced with PCP, a powerful psychoactive drug that often leads to hallucinations. They suspected food-poisoning, but eventually realized they had been drugged. They never found out who spiked the soup, or why, but it’s a night no one will ever forget. Luckily, no one experienced any serious side effects, and shooting was able to resume the next day. I guess all of Hollywood is make-believe anyway!  

2. The Fury Film Accident

On the set of this WWII movie, a stuntman (whose identity was never revealed) was stabbed by another stuntman while practicing a scene with a bayonet. He was rushed to the hospital and was fine. Those present say he was in good spirits the whole time, even making jokes and talking!

3. The Passion of the Jim

Well, this one’s a doozy. Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus, went through an ordeal filming this movie. While filming in the Philippines, he was struck by lightning not once, but TWICE! He also dislocated his shoulder when the 150lb cross dropped on it, and was accidentally whipped twice, which left a bad scar. Plus, he got hypothermia and pneumonia from the winter scenes of him hanging on the cross. It’s a movie, guys, you’re not really supposed to torture him! Talk about method acting!

4. Hot Po-Tatum!

Channing Tatum really took one for the team on this one. While shooting The Eagle of the Ninth in the freezing cold Scottish Highlands, the actor and heartthrob was severely burned by boiling water. In order to stay warm, a crew member would pour warm water down his wetsuit between takes. But this time, he’d forgotten to dilute the boiling water, and poured scalding hot water down Channing Tatum’s wetsuit, severely burning his skin, (even burning the tip of his penis) and sending the poor actor to the hospital. He luckily made a full recovery. That’s terrible for Channing, but I’m sure the crew member will never live it down! Imagine having “burned Channing Tatum” on your resume!

5. Expendable Jason

While filming The Expendables 3, Jason Statham drove a truck into the Black Sea after the brakes on the truck went out. Luckily, Statham was actually a competitive diver before he started acting, and was able to escape the truck before it plunged 60 ft under the sea. Turns out he’s a badass on screen and off!  

6. Expendable Stallone 

Looks like the Expendables franchise had problems from the start! While filming the first movie, Sylvester Stallone broke his neck while shooting a fight scene with Stone Cold Steve Austin. He had to have a metal plate put in. We’re glad you’re ok Sly, but maybe when you’re 63, it’s time to let a stuntman step in! 

7. Like Clockwork

While filming the iconic scene in Clockwork Orange where the character Alex’s eyes are propped open, actor Malcolm McDowell ended up suffering temporary blindness and a scratched cornea from having his eyes open for so long. The things people do for art!

8. Worse than a Hangover

While filming The Hangover sequel in Thailand, Ed Helms’ stunt double suffered a terrible brain injury and was put in a coma after a car crash stunt went wrong. According to his lawsuit against Warner Bros, the stunt coordinator, at the last minute, told the other stunt driver to increase his speed beyond what was safe, causing the damage. Even when making a movie like The Hangover, some very unfunny things can happen! 

9. Water Laird

During the filming of Waterworld, Kevin Costner’s stunt double was Laird Hamilton, one of the best surfers in the world. Hamilton would jet ski to set, and at one point became lost at sea when his jet ski ran out of fuel! He drifted for hours in open water before being rescued by the Coast Guard. Luckily in Hamilton’s main sport, surfing, no gas is required! 

Photo by  Donald Tong from Pexels

 

10. Lord of the Injuries

While shooting Lord of the Rings in New Zealand, many actors suffered injuries. But Viggo Mortensen suffered the most. He shattered a toe from kicking a helmet (which is the take they ended up using in the film), got a black eye surfing with a few costars, and chipped a tooth during filming of The Two Towers. Luckily, his injuries were mild compared to the character he plays! 

It’s certainly interesting to read all about the crazy things that can happen on set, but it’s also important to be prepared for anything when shooting your own film. Hopefully, these stories are a good reminder to double and triple check that you’re covered for anything that might happen on the film set. At Athos Insurance, we make sure you aren’t paying for coverage you don’t need and make it easy to find the right insurance for whatever project you’re shooting, at the best possible price. 

Looking to insure your next shoot? Contact us today to make sure an incident on your set doesn’t become a catastrophe! 

Do You Need Film Insurance to Shoot a Documentary?

By: Lauren Castillo, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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Here's what you need to know about documentary insurance.

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If you’re entering the exciting world of documentary filmmaking, you might be wondering how to protect yourself and your crew across various locations. Questions like:

“Do you need production insurance for your documentary?” 

or

“What types of insurance coverage do you need?”

These are all common questions to ask before starting your documentary shoot. We are here to help you with these questions.

While your production may not include hazardous activities like fight scenes or pyro effects, accidents can still happen! You’ll need to protect your valuable equipment and talented team. Here’s why you need film insurance when shooting a documentary — and how to get the coverage you need for your production.

General Liability Insurance for Film Production

General Liability Insurance provides coverage for bodily injury to third parties, i.e. anyone who is NOT part of your cast or crew who may be impacted by your production. When shooting a documentary, you’ll often be in public places with bystanders or spectators, who can be injured by your activities. Your production company could then be sued for these injuries.

For example, let’s say you are filming your documentary in a museum, and your team has taped electrical wiring onto the floor. A museum visitor walks by, trips over the wiring, and breaks his or her arm. They would likely sue for bodily injury, and the museum would not want to be held liable for the accident, so the costs of medical treatment would fall on you. This could be devastating to your production and your business.

When you book a shooting location or work with a film permit office, you will almost always be required to carry general liability insurance. This ensures that damages can be paid out for third party accidents or injuries. 

General liability insurance is not as expensive as you might think, and it can be an absolute lifesaver. Remember, you cannot control the actions of third parties, so even if you take all preventative measures, accidents may still happen. Don’t get caught having to pay thousands of dollars for someone’s medical bills.

A picture of film crew shooting a documentary. When hiring a film crew, you need production insurance to protect your crew from injury and your equipment from damage and loss.

Third-Party Property Damage Coverage 

In addition to general liability insurance for potential bystander injuries, you’ll want to make sure you’re not on the hook for other people’s property damage. Furniture, flooring, walls, fixtures, or personal possessions that get broken or stolen, should be covered by insurance. Otherwise, you’ll be responsible for replacing and repairing the item.

For example, let’s say you’re loading equipment, and a crew member hits the wall, leaving a hole; or perhaps you’re hanging lights and one falls into a glass-top table.  These are examples of damaging other people’s property while filming. The venue where you’re filming can easily hold you liable for damages.

Many venues will require third-party property damage coverage when you’re shooting there. Expect to provide proof of coverage to cover this location. Good insurance will cover the costs of repairing damage to floors, walls, or ceilings, as well as repairing and/or replacing property at the locations you shoot.

 

If you are renting your film equipment to shoot your documentary, you will need gear rental insurance. Athos Insurance is the most trusted insurance broker to cover your rented gear.

Production Equipment Insurance

Whether you have your own equipment or are renting equipment from a rental house, you’ll want to cover the gear for accidental damages and theft. Equipment losses happen on projects big and small, hazardous and straightforward. Accidents, from dropping a camera to spilling a drink on your computer, to breaking a light, can slow or derail your production. Protect your assets with equipment insurance.

Equipment insurance should also cover theft. Your documentary production may take you to public places with a lot of foot traffic, or you may shoot at locations with high-crime rates. It takes only seconds for a thief to snatch your camera, laptop, or boom mic. We’ve heard horror stories of productions that completely shut down when their equipment was stolen and it wasn’t insured. 

If you are working with a rental house, you can be absolutely certain they will require Equipment Insurance. They want to make sure the gear is covered while in your possession. You can sometimes purchase coverage through the rental house, but we recommend obtaining your own to cover all possible scenarios.

Even if you lock up your equipment and take good care of it, mistakes happen. Equipment Insurance will cover damage or loss due to accidents, natural disasters, or theft.

Continuing Rental Fees or Loss of Use

If you are renting film equipment from a rental house or an equipment owner, and you have an insurance claim, Continuing Rental Fees or Loss of Use coverage will reimburse the rental house or equipment owner for their loss of income (rental fees) during the claims process. We recommend checking your rental contracts to see if you’re responsible for this loss of income. If so, you'll want to make sure to include this coverage when shopping for insurance.

General liability insurance covers worker's compensation insurance (also known as workers comp). Anything can happen when shooting a documentary so you want to make sure your crew is protected from bodily injury and lost wages.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

General Liability Insurance only covers bodily injury to those who are not associated with your production. To protect your cast and crew members, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance. In many states, you’re legally required to obtain this coverage, even for independent contractors or 1099s. This ensures that cast or crew who get injured on your production get medical or rehabilitation costs covered, as well as wages they lost due to the injury. 

Even if you’re not using stunt performers or filming people doing dangerous activities, workers’ compensation (workers comp) is an absolute must. It covers everything from an actor  tripping over a cord to a crew member getting burned from a light. Note that even the safest sets can have accidents. Workers’ Compensation helps prevent your production company from having to pay thousands of dollars for hospital bills or missed wages. 

Your production team likely includes independent contractors and 1099 “gig workers,” all of whom should be covered under Workers Compensation, unless they have their own Workers Compensation coverage. Be sure that you cover any day laborers as well, even if they only work for you for one day in one location. 

Errors & Ommision insurance is key when shooting a documentary. This will protect you from legal issues and lawsuits that could result from your documentary.

Errors & Omissions Insurance (Also known as E&O Insurance)

If your film gets picked up by a studio, network or distributor, you will definitely need errors and omissions insurance. This type of coverage protects you from claims based on the content of the film. Without E&O, you may be more vulnerable to suits alleging libel, slander, defamation of character, invasion of privacy, illegal use of someone’s image, infringement of copyright, and plagiarism. 

For example, if you included footage of an informant making negative comments about a public figure, that public figure could allege that your film is defaming his or her character — even if you believed the informant to be credible. This is a higher risk for documentaries as compared to movies with fictional people. Without E&O coverage, you may have to pay attorney’s fees to defend yourself in court.

You may also be sued if you accidentally include footage of someone who did not consent to their image being used. We’ve even heard of documentary filmmakers being sued because they didn’t obtain permission for a pop song that was playing on a PA in a scene’s background.

E&O Insurance is usually a requirement when you sign a distribution agreement. You’ll start by demonstrating that you covered your bases, ie. you got script clearance, obtained consent forms and image releases, etc. Once you obtain your coverage, the policy will cover your defense costs if you are sued and the judgment if you are found liable.

The cost of E&O depends on the reach of the film and how controversial it might be. The more sensitive topics you include, the more your film may be targeted. And because you’re making a film, you may be presenting real people and situations that some people might try to construe as misrepresentation or invasion of privacy.

In short, you need E&O insurance for virtually all film projects that will be seen by the public. 

Wrapping Up

Getting insurance protects your film production and is well worth the cost. It protects you against potential lawsuits, reduces your liability, and helps keep your production afloat even if things go wrong. Costs of insurance vary depending on your coverage level and the production itself, but you’ll find it extremely helpful if someone is injured or tries to sue you.

Whenever someone cancels their production due to theft or had to pay thousands for medical bills or legal fees, they always wish they’d gotten insurance. We hear about it all the time! Don’t skip this crucial step — it’s vital towards covering your production! 

If you have questions or need assistance in finding the best film production insurance policy for your documentary shoot? You can trust Athos Insurance to be your guide.

We are a trusted entertainment insurance broker, who can build you a custom production insurance policy for your next documentary shoot. From feature films to independent films, the entertainment industry trusts us with their insurance requirements. 
You can easily get a production insurance quote, or contact our friendly customer service team if you have questions about insuring your next shoot. Call us at 626-716-9800 for immediate assistance or click to leave a message.

Why is It Called Inland Marine Insurance?

By: Jace Hadfield, Processing Manager at Athos Insurance Services

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What does Inland Marine insurance protect?

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What is Inland Marine Insurance? When clients see the term “Inland Marine Insurance” they are often wondering how this is related to their production or film gear. It sounds like it should be insurance for something water or ocean-related, but don’t let the insurance terminology confuse you. In this article, we are going to breakdown what this policy covers and how it got its name. 

What Type of Equipment Does Inland Marine Insurance Protect?

Today, Inland Marine insurance has evolved and provides coverage for a broad range of miscellaneous types of property in transit and on-site. In other words, an Inland Marine policy covers portable or moveable equipment. The coverage is not location-specific so equipment insured by an Inland Marine policy is covered in storage, in transit, on set, etc.  

Property covered includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Camera and Photography Equipment

  • Production Equipment

  • Musical Instruments

  • Sports and Recreational Equipment

  • Industrial Equipment

  • Property in Transit

  • Property in the Custody of a Bailee

  • Contractors Equipment

  • Leased Property

  • Scheduled Property

  • Trip Transit

  • Non-Motorized Trailers

  • Mobile or Moveable Equipmen

These policies are typically meant to cover accidental damages and theft of equipment. Additionally, they may cover losses caused by water damage, fire, earthquakes, windstorms, hail, or flood.

An Inland Marine policy won’t cover intentional acts by you or your employees, wear and tear, or internal causes of loss such as mechanical breakdown. 

Picture of Red Camera. Red Cameras are often covered well through Athos Inland Marine Insurance

Photo by  Lê Minh from  Pexels

How Does Inland Marine Insurance Relate to Film Production? 

If you own production equipment or rent gear from a rental house or other individuals you’ll need an inland marine insurance policy. This policy covers the production equipment for accidental damages and theft on or off the film set.

Some people are under the assumption that your homeowners or renters insurance policy will cover all your business equipment. This is not correct.  If you are using your production equipment for business  purposes, they may not be covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. 

What about if you have a business personal property policy? On a business policy, business personal property coverage is often location-specific. This means if you are taking your gear off-site (i.e. away from your office location) it may no longer be covered by your business personal property policy.

Where Did the Term “Inland Marine” Come From? 

Historically, insurance companies offered Ocean Marine insurance to protect owners from loss of cargo in the course of international commercial voyages by sea. Subsequently, a marketplace for fire insurance for buildings on land arose, especially after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Back then,Fire insurance companies typically provided narrower coverage, where the policies specifically listed what the perils are covered, and excluded all losses from any other causes.

In the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution gave rise to new types of property called “exposures on land”. Exposures on land were considered things like telegraphs, railroad equipment, and other types of property with which the fire insurance companies were unfamiliar with. 

People and businesses started shipping cargo beyond major ports and cities. They needed protection in case these goods were lost while being shipped by land as well.  This is where the term “Inland Marine insurance” came from. Inland Marine Insurance offered insurance protection of goods shipped beyond all the major bodies of water and port cities.

Don’t let the term “inland marine” fool you! We’re experts at providing coverage for production and specialized equipment - not boats!  

Have more questions about insuring your camera equipment? At Athos Insurance, we are happy to assist you with all of your questions concerning camera equipment insurance and can help you get the right kind of inland marine insurance for your camera equipment. Our office is open for your questions, contact our service team with any questions.

Does a Videographer Really Need Video Production Insurance?

By: The Athos Insurance Team

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Everything you need to know about professional and amateur videographer insurance.

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As a creative, the last thing you probably want to read about is insurance. The different types, the different levels, deductibles, you’re probably already tuning out reading this. But as boring as it is to think about, a quick guide to how video production insurance protects videographers can potentially save you a lot of money and stress later on. I promise I will make this as quick and painless as possible. Sure, you may not be a huge production company, but you still want the right type of videographer insurance coverage to protect your business.

 

Videographer holding and adjusting his camera. This article is about what videographer need to know about getting videographer production insurance.

Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash

Types of Videographer Production Insurance

There are three main types of videographer production insurance that we’ll go over in this post: production equipment insurance, general liability insurance, and third-party property damage insurance. 

Equipment insurance covers, you guessed it, your production equipment. You’ve invested in all of this expensive gear, and now you’re finally getting the work that’ll help you pay it off. The last thing you want is to drop your expensive camera-baby and have to start from square one. You’ll want a policy that covers accidental damage and theft, and it should cover the replacement cost value, since equipment tends to depreciate as it gets older and used. Now, if you’re renting equipment for a shoot, you’ll still need to buy insurance on it for the time you’re renting it. Some rental houses will give you the option of buying insurance from them directly, but it’s often more cost-effective to buy your own. It’s always good to shop around for a policy within your range that covers your needs. Most rental houses will want to see the certificate of insurance that proves you have it, if you’re not buying insurance from them directly. Some videographers rent out their own equipment on peer-to-peer platforms. If you’re renting out your own equipment on peer-to-peer platforms, make sure your policy covers you if one of your renters breaks your stuff or runs off with it. 

In addition to your stuff, you may need general liability insurance. What this covers you for is, well, general liabilities. Since a favorite American pastime is suing each other, you’ll want to be ready in case you find yourself in a personal injury attorney’s crosshairs. What this means in practice is that if a bystander trips over a cord or impales themselves on a lighting stand on one of your shoots, you’re not going to have to go bankrupt/fake your own death to get out of it. In a business where you’re constantly working with new people, in new places, bodily injury can be more common than you might think. 

Another reason to have liability insurance is for property damage. If you’re on location and break a window, or drop a heavy light and dent the floor, that money’s not coming out of your pocket. Some general liability policies don’t include coverage for third-party property damage, though, in which case you’ll have to purchase it separately. Always make sure you understand what a policy covers before you choose one. 

What you need to know about videography insurance?

Photo by Vanilla Bear Films on Unsplash

What about Amateur and Freelance Videographers?

Don’t talk about yourself that way! But for real, if you’re not getting paid for a film shoot, you may think you don’t need any insurance, but you probably want at least basic coverage against theft and damage. Your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy might cover it, but many policies put a limit on expensive items, most policies don’t cover business equipment, and you might not be covered outside the home. Make sure the policy you get covers items stolen out of a car, since some don’t. 

Whether you’re a seasoned vet or just starting out, there’s an insurance policy out there that’s perfect for your needs and your equipment. Get a policy you can afford, so you can protect your videography business, focus on getting the shot, and grow your business. Even if it’s expensive, you can’t put a price on peace of mind with quality insurance coverage. 

Finding the Right Insurance Policy for Your Rental Equipment

By: Lauren Castillo, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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When you’re renting equipment, insurance is crucial. You don’t want to be responsible for any damages or losses to equipment that you don’t even own. But navigating the different insurance policies and trying to figure out what insurance plan you need can get very confusing. 

Rental houses always require renters to purchase Inland Marine Insurance. This is the policy that will cover the rented gear for accidental damages and theft so it’s really important to have this coverage

Many rental houses also require General Liability Coverage in addition to Equipment Rental Insurance. General Liability covers you for bodily injuries to third-parties. 

For example, if you rent a light from a rental house and it falls and hits someone who is not part of the production crew, that person can sue everyone involved in the project for their injuries (including the rental house, since technically, they are deemed the “owner” of the equipment.) 

Remember, you’re just the renter. This is why many rental houses will require General Liability Coverage in addition to Equipment Insurance.

Picture of a video camera for rented camera equipment insurance article.

Photo by  Daan Stevens on  Unsplash

Here are a couple more important things to remember when you are shopping for equipment rental insurance:

  • Look out for common exclusions like theft from an unattended or unlocked vehicle, water damage, transit, worldwide coverage if you will be traveling outside the US. 

  • If you’re renting equipment from multiple rental houses or equipment owners, make sure to add the total replacement cost value of all the gear. This should be the minimum insurance limit you purchase. You’re taking a big risk if you don’t insure everything because if you have a total loss like a fire or a theft where everything is stolen you will be personally responsible for the difference. You may think this won’t happen to you, but we’ve seen this happen before. 

  • Business personal property does not cover rented production equipment. 

  • Always make sure you have a rental contract in place to legitimize the rental. Claims may get denied if you do not have proof of a rental contract. 

  • Always be sure the name on your rental contract matches the name on your insurance policy.  

  • If you’re renting any vehicles in addition to the equipment, it’s important to note that the rented vehicle is not considered equipment, so you may also need to buy a Non-owned Hired Auto Policy as well.

 

There are so many factors to keep in mind and so many scenarios that could make you liable for damages and theft if you don’t have the right insurance. Every rental house has their own insurance requirements, so we highly recommend that you ask all rental houses you rent from for their insurance requirements to ensure your rented equipment is covered properly.

Fortunately, we get that rental insurance may be confusing, which is why we are always here to help answer any questions you might have! You can call us directly at 626-716-9800 or contact our always friendly customer service team.

What’s the Difference Between Scheduled vs. Unscheduled Equipment Insurance Coverage?

By: Kat Wong, President at Athos Insurance

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Many of our customers ask what the difference is between scheduled and unscheduled equipment.  For the purposes of our online Athos Equipment Floater program (Inland Marine Equipment Insurance), we’ll break down the differences and things to look out for.

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Here’s an easy way to think of it...

Scheduled Equipment + Unscheduled Equipment = Total Owned Equipment

 

Let’s break down the factors:

Scheduled Equipment is for any single item with a replacement cost over $5,000 a piece, including sales tax.  So what if you buy a kit or several components that are always used together?  We always ask: can you purchase these items separately in the store?  Or are they always sold together?  If any single component can be purchased alone, that’s considered one single item.  For example, let’s say you purchased a set of 5 lenses together.  Each lens is worth $10,000 each (including sales tax) for a total of $50,000.  Each of these lenses can be purchased separately on it’s own.  That means you should schedule each lens separately under your Scheduled Equipment limit.  In the same example, if the 5 lenses are sold as a set for $50,000 and cannot be purchased separately, you would schedule this as 1 item under your Scheduled Equipment limit.  Athos requires the make, model, serial number (if possible) and replacement cost value of all scheduled items on file.

Unscheduled Equipment is for all single items with a replacement cost of $5,000 or less (including sales tax).  All these items (yes, even the small cords and batteries) are covered under the Unscheduled Equipment limit and do not need to be listed out.  You can think of it as a blanket limit for all your gear valued under $5,000.  You may wonder why you need to cover all these little items, even ones valued less than your policy deductible.   Well, just add them all up, and you’ll be surprised how much gear you own.  Remember that your deductible is per claim, not per item.  If all your gear was stolen one night, you’re only responsible for the one deductible for the entire claim amount. 

When applying or renewing for the Athos Equipment Floater program, we ask applicants to confirm their Total Owned Equipment amount.  Next, they’ll list all their Scheduled Equipment (items over $5,000 each).  Our system will then automatically calculate the Unscheduled amount by subtracting the Scheduled Equipment from the Total Owned equipment amount.

Unscheduled Equipment = Total Owned Equipment – Scheduled Equipment

Photo by  Samsung Memory on  Unsplash

So here’s a few important things to remember:

1. All OWNED gear over $5,000 apiece must be scheduled with Athos or else it’s not covered AT ALL  

Yikes!  So if you buy new gear with a replacement cost over $5,000 during the middle of your policy, make sure to add it to your policy (email Athos to update your policy).   Please don’t think that your Total Owned Equipment limit is a blanket amount for all gear, no matter what the value is.  Think of your policy as having two classifications (the total limit for gear over $5,000  and the total limit for ones under $5,000)

2. Make an inventory of ALL your gear and always UPDATE it

As a business owner, your gear and equipment are your company’s assets.  If something horrific happened to all your equipment at one time (i.e. theft or fire), you’ll want a document that already lays out all equipment and its values.  Trying to remember all your assets after it’s been stolen or burned up, will be extremely difficult and create issues during a claim with the insurance carrier.

3. When valuing your equipment, always use the replacement cost and include sales tax

The replacement cost is the cost to replace your gear with a brand new item or like-kind (if they don’t make it anymore).  The value is NOT based on the fair market value, which factors in depreciation or compares your value to a used version.  Always include the sales tax so you’re insuring for the complete replacement cost.  You do not want to be stuck paying the sales tax after if you’re maxing out limits on a claim

Why does the Athos equipment coverage program make us go through all this trouble to schedule gear? 

It may be annoying to break out your gear into two groups, but this was created to give more flexibility to customers.  Some other equipment insurance companies (not Athos) require ALL gear to be listed to validate coverage.  This is quite restrictive because, during a claim, only items on that list would be covered.  What if you recently bought a memory card and forgot to add it right away?  No coverage.  Eeek!

Under the Athos inland marine insurance program, only single items over $5,000  must be listed to have coverage (scheduled equipment).  This means for the unscheduled equipment (under $5,000 apiece), you’re not bound to a full scheduled list for coverage. This is helpful especially as people buy/sell/upgrade equipment often.  Think of your unscheduled equipment limit as a blanket limit for the smaller stuff.

The Athos equipment program can cover all types of equipment, from cameras, lighting gear, sound gear, props, sets/wardrobes, production-related gear, musical instruments, generators, party rental equipment, bounce houses, sporting equipment, and other equipment related to Entertainment and Sports industry.  Since the value of our clients’ gear ranges from low (such as a battery or cord) to high (such as an Alexa Mini or Red Camera), it’s important to make and save an inventory of ALL your equipment.  Then you’ll be ready to determine how to cover your gear properly as scheduled versus unscheduled gear.

How to Buy Equipment Insurance for the Gear You Own

By: Lauren Castillo, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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Here's what you should know when insuring your gear to protect your business.

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Finding the right equipment insurance used to be a difficult and tedious task, calling insurance companies, listening to bad music while being put on hold, and of course, trying to navigate through that confusing insurance language. Now you can visit our site any time of the day, get instant insurance quotes, and customize your equipment policy to your liking. Here are a few key items to consider before buying your Owned Equipment policy.

Things you should consider when looking for the right equipment insurance policy

1. Coverage: One of the first things to consider when shopping for equipment insurance, is understanding what equipment insurance policies typically cover. Typically, these policies are meant to cover your gear for accidental damages and theft. Equipment insurance policies typically won’t cover wear and tear or if your equipment breaks or malfunctions

2. Common Exclusion to Look Out For: Some equipment insurance policies will have an exclusion for theft of equipment from an unattended or unlocked vehicle. 

This means that if your equipment is stolen from a vehicle and that vehicle was either unlocked or unattended, the policy will not cover this loss. 

Be sure to always check if this exclusion exists so you can either take the necessary precautions to protect your gear, or you can look for a policy that includes coverage for theft of equipment from a vehicle.

3. Valuation: Different insurance policies will have different methods of determining the claim payment amount in the event of a loss. A good equipment insurance policy will include Replacement Cost valuation. This means your equipment will be replaced with equipment of like kind and quality. When a policy uses a replacement cost valuation, you are not penalized for depreciation. 

It’s always important to know the current replacement cost of your gear since it may be different than what you paid for it.

 

silhouette of person holding camera

Photo by  KAL VISUALS on  Unsplash

4. Extra Equipment Insurance Coverage Options for the Entertainment Industry: Depending on your business operations, you may need to look for extra coverage to protect your equipment properly. If you have any specialized business operations, you may want to consider talking to a representative when shopping for insurance to ensure you’re properly covered. Below are just a few examples:

  • Rental Houses Operations: Do you rent out your gear to other people to make some extra money (i.e. sub-renting, using peer-to-peer platforms like ShareGrid, etc.)? If yes, one of the biggest risks you face when renting out your gear is fraudulent renters. If you rent your gear to a renter who never returns your equipment, the renter’s insurance policy will not pay for their crime. If you have rental operations, you should look for an equipment insurance policy that can offer voluntary parting or conversion coverage to protect you against this risk.

  • Filming above or underwater: If you are an underwater camera operator or frequently use your equipment above water (i.e. on a boat), make sure that your equipment is covered when using it above (afloat) or underwater. This may be extra coverage that can be added to your policy.

5. Deductible: In the event of a claim, the deductible is the amount you, as the policy owner, are responsible for before a claim payout is made. When a claim is paid out, the insurance carrier will subtract the deductible from the total payout. Some equipment insurance policies will offer you different deductible options, which gives you more flexibility in choosing an amount that works for you.

6. Customer Service: While most of your research for an equipment insurance policy can be done online, it’s important to know that you can talk to an actual person at the insurance company if needed.

  • Are you able to get in touch with a representative via email only or can you give the company a call and talk to a team member? 

  • When you have questions, is the company able to respond promptly? 

Always value the importance of reliable customer service when it comes to insurance. At Athos, we work to provide the most reliable customer service possible. If you have any questions, feel free to visit our customer service center here.

 

 


Lauren Castillo

Lauren is the external assistant vice president at Athos Insurance. In her 3 years at the company she has developed a passion for client services and marketing. At Athos, Lauren has honed her skills for client retention, underwriting, and also helped launch the company’s social media and marketing efforts.

COVID-19 Film Production Guidelines in Los Angeles

By: The Athos Team

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A helpful guide and resources for what you need to know to shoot in LA County during the pandemic.

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As I write this, outdoor restaurants and bars in LA are about to close down again for at least 3 weeks as COVID-19 cases are on the rise. They were open, they closed, then they were open only for outdoor dining, now they’re closed again. We don’t know whether they’ll be open again in a few weeks or not? 

While regulations on restaurants, stores, and everything else have changed constantly over the course of the pandemic, filming rules have remained pretty consistent since June. So if you’re a filmmaker looking to jump back into the game, hopefully this article can point you in the right direction. 

Some filmmakers are hesitant to even bother location filming right now. With the added work and expenses of complying with health and safety guidelines, plus the risk of you or someone on your crew getting sick, many would rather wait this whole thing out. That’s understandable, but the new rules and guidelines aren’t as complicated as you think. Most are common-sense measures to slow the spread of the virus, and I guarantee after reading this article you’ll be more equipped to get a production off the ground.

Woman with backpack riding a motorcycle wearing a COVID-19 mask.

Photo by  Thomas de LUZE on  Unsplash

The Basics

On June 12, LA County Department of Public Health put out a health order. It has requirements about social distancing, masks, hours you can film, sanitation, and testing. These apply to all types of filming activity, union or not, and even include student films. In order to get film permits, filmmakers must comply with the order, and the requirements are pretty strict. In addition to these county requirements, the tv, and commercial film industry has developed its own guidelines, laid out in a SAG AFTRA publication by the AMPTP’s Industry Wide Labor Management Safety Committee Task Force, comprised of health experts and reps from studios and unions. 

We’ll base this guide off of those guidelines as well as the county order (there is a lot of overlap) to use as a COVID-19 resource. If you decide to start production during Covid, you’ll want to read the full health order here, but we’ll go over enough to give you a good idea of what to expect.

Remote Work

First, they recommend that anyone who’s able to do their job from home should do so. Obviously very few productions can take place fully remotely, though some have gotten creative. Some of the production jobs that can take place remotely, including casting (with actors self-taping auditions or zooming in), pre-production meetings, post-production, etc. Basically everything except on-set filming. 

You'll Need a Compliance Officer on Set

So for those working on set or in person, a workplace COVID-19 Compliance Officer (C19CO or COC) must be designated to establish COVID safety protocols, train staff on these rules, and make sure they’re being followed. While there’s no formal certification requirement for the officer, it has to be someone “appropriate,” so you can’t get a “COVID Compliance Cutie” shirt for your golden retriever and think you’re set to go. 

However, maybe your responsible, out-of-work friend who’s a bit of a stickler for rules would appreciate the gig. There are also some unofficial training courses for aspiring COCs, and online databases of those who have completed the courses. 

Production crew member filming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by  Free To Use Sounds on  Unsplash

The Nitty-Gritty (Additional) Rules

Production has to provide PPE and sanitizer, and everyone has to wear a face mask whenever possible (no one likes wearing masks all day, but at least you don’t have to smell the boom operator’s coffee breath). Actors don’t have to wear masks while shooting, but are encouraged to wear them between takes and setups, especially when around other people. 

  1. Anyone who has symptoms of Covid, has tested positive, or has likely been exposed has to isolate and not come to work. 

  2. Regular testing of on-set cast and crew is required. For shoots where regular testing isn’t feasible, they discourage close scenes that include talking, to prevent spread.

  3. There are strict protocols for what to do if one or more cast or crew members become infected.  

  4. Common areas must be disinfected frequently, workstations must be at least 6’ apart, and breaks must be staggered so people can stay 6’ apart in break rooms. -Employees can only eat in certain areas, to make sure they’re wearing masks all other times.

  5. Props, equipment, and tools all have to be cleaned between uses. 

  6. If you’re doing an audience scene, audience members should wear masks and be seated 6’ apart, preferably outdoors. This rule protects against covid and close-talkers.

  7. Some of the more upsetting rules relate to food and drink, such as the rule against buffets. (I know, I should have been more upfront about this one.) It’s sad, but if it helps us get back on set, we’ll take it. Also, no shared coffee pots, no sharing food, and everyone has to sanitize before eating. 

  8. When possible, shooting has to occur between 7am and 10pm. But again, this guideline is stated as “when possible.” If there’s a reason that it’s impossible to only shoot within those hours (such as needing to shoot during sunrise), that’s ok, it just needs to be justifiable if anyone should take you to task.

And while it’s important to be familiar with the basics, remember that there will be a compliance officer on all sets to make sure rules are being followed and not forgotten, so you don’t have to stay up late studying the county’s full 10-page list. 

When you break down the guidelines, it’s not as intimidating as it might seem. It’s mostly just common-sense practices to keep everyone safe. And while it may require slightly more time and money to film certain types of scenes, it shouldn’t restrict your creativity too much (maybe just cut that packed nightclub scene for this one). 

So for those who can’t wait until some theoretical post-pandemic future, we hope this guide has helped give you the confidence to jump back in.

Need production insurance for your next shoot? Athos has your back with interest free installment plans on all standalone ANNUAL equipment floater policies.

PLEASE NOTE: This article was written based on current guidelines as of 12/4/20. Be sure to check before starting production for any more recent changes. 

The Importance of Having Correct Equipment Insurance

By: Jace Hadfield, Processing Manager of Athos Insurance Services

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Many people may assume that their personal property is covered by their renters or homeowner’s insurance. But what if your personal equipment leaves your home? What if your gear is used for more than just a hobby? And what if it’s used to support your livelihood?

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Once these valuable items are considered essential to your business operations, they’re almost always excluded by your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.  These policies typically only cover gear for personal use. Additionally, if you have a business policy with Business Personal Property, sometimes this only covers your gear in a specific location or has many inconvenient exclusions that are unsuitable for someone in the entertainment world. This is where Athos can assist with your personal property coverage.

Photo by  ???????? ?????? on  Unsplash

Also known as Inland Marine Equipment Floater insurance, an Athos Equipment policy covers many risks, including the use of your personal property for commercial purposes. 

Our policy (at Athos Insurance) is also widely known as an “equipment floater”, meaning your insurance coverage ‘floats’ to follow your gear wherever it may be, especially if you’re taking your equipment away from your home. This type of insurance can play a HUGE role in the event that you need to make an insurance claim. 

 

Highlights of included and optional coverages:

  • Accidental Damages - Unintentional damages to equipment such as water damage, drops, and scratches are covered, as well as, damage caused by falling objects.

  • Theft - Equipment stolen from you is covered; theft could be from set, storage, your home, an auto, etc. 

  • Damage caused by natural events such as lightning, fire and smoke, earthquakes, windstorms, hail and flood is covered. 

  • Damage due to Nationally Declared Acts of Terrorism is covered. 

  • (Optional) – Voluntary Parting and/or Conversion - known as Fraudulent Renters coverage. If you rent out your equipment and the renter just never returns your gear, the renter’s insurance policy wouldn’t cover their criminal act. Voluntary parting coverage is meant to cover this very type of risk. 

  • (Optional) – Equipment afloat or underwater -if you plan to take your gear on a boat or underwater (i.e. an underwater camera operator) you can add the optional Above or Underwater coverage. Snow would also be considered water. This coverage can be added annually or on a temporary basis on your annual policy by endorsement.

  • Worldwide Coverage - Your equipment is covered worldwide except for in countries with US sanctions. If traveling to Mexico the policy automatically includes coverage for equipment up to $25,000. Additional coverage for Mexico can be added for additional premium. 

  • Damage or theft that occurs during transit and/or shipping is covered.

  • Replacement Cost Coverage - This means your equipment will be replaced with equipment of like kind and quality - you are not penalized for depreciation.

Learn to Protect your gear and your business investments with better insurance at Athos!

Jace Hadfield, Processing Manager of Athos Insurance Services

Jace’s professional background is heavily focused on finance. However, his finance skills were diversified amongst many industries along his career including an education institution, a large tech company, and a software engineering firm. When he joined Athos, he easily found his groove with our program policy processes and now manages the processing department. Jace continues to improve inefficiencies and always make sure accounts don’t fall through the cracks (something essential at an insurance brokerage and agency). With such varied experience, Jace brings a fresh perspective and an enthusiastic attitude to Athos. 

Understanding the Insurance Risks of Renting Out Your Camera Gear and How to Protect It

By: Lauren Castillo, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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In a world where peer-to-peer production equipment rentals are becoming more common, we want to provide camera equipment owners with the most robust coverages available. 

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Everything You Need to Know About Voluntary Parting or False Pretense Coverage when Renting Out Your Camera Gear  

In a world where peer-to-peer production equipment rentals are becoming more common, we want to provide camera equipment owners with the most robust coverages available. 

Overall, an amazing online community (like ShareGrid) has formed, where you can easily find and rent any piece of equipment you may need for production or photo-shoot just by doing a quick online search.

Additionally, camera equipment owners are benefitting from making some extra money by renting out their gear when it’s not being utilized. While most of the community is made up of genuine creatives, renting your camera gear out to someone you don’t know comes with risks. The biggest one is voluntarily parting with or renting your gear to fraudulent renters.

 

What is Voluntary Parting vs. Theft?

A common misunderstanding is that people think voluntary parting is the same as theft, but they are actually defined differently. Theft is defined as equipment being stolen directly from the renter against their will. An example of this is when a thief smashes the window of your car and steals the camera equipment that you left in the back seat. 

By contrast, Voluntary Parting occurs when an owner willingly gives his or her equipment to someone (the renter), and the renter never returns with your gear. The biggest misconception is that the renter’s insurance policy will pay if the renter themselves steals the gear. 

However, voluntary parting is considered a crime the renter commits, and the renter’s insurance policy is never going to cover them for fraudulent activity. In other words, an insurance policy is not meant to cover the policyholder against criminal activity. 

So when you rent out your camera gear to people you don’t know, it’s important to be aware of this possible exposure and you’d want to check with your insurance company to make sure that your insurance covers fraudulent renters on your equipment rental insurance policy

Photo Of Men Holding Camera

 Photo by Lê Minh from Pexels

The Good News About Voluntary Parting or False Pretense Coverage

At Athos, we offer an optional additional coverage called Voluntary Parting or False Pretense coverage to individual equipment owners, which is a great add-on because this is typically a coverage that’s only available to rental house businesses. 

Voluntary Parting or False Pretense coverage offers protection against fraudulent renters, and it is a coverage we highly recommend to anyone renting out their gear, especially in peer-to-peer online platforms.  On our annual equipment policies, equipment owners have the option of adding up to $100,000 of voluntary parting or false pretense coverage.  

In addition to having the Voluntary Parting or False Pretense coverage on your policy, you always must have a rental contract in place between you and the renter. At the minimum a rental contract should include the following:

  • A statement that says the renter is fully responsible for all damages or losses whatsoever
  • Both the owner's and borrower's legal names and addresses 
  • A full description of the rental equipment 
  • The period of time the rental agreement is for 
  • The expected delivery/return date
  • The cost of the rental 
  • Any security deposits that are required
  • Fees for late returns 

Since a rental contract is a business document we recommend having your business attorney review your rental contract for legal accuracy. 

While a sound insurance policy will help save the day, throwing all your responsibilities out the window is not encouraged.  All clients who walk through your door should be vetted and reference checked.  The Athos policies also require that a valid rental contract is in place for valid coverage.

There are plenty more stories about the great experiences people are having when they can seamlessly rent out their gear and make some extra money on the side. The bad stories are the ones that always stand out and discourage equipment owners from participating in the peer-to-peer gear rental space. And while we’d love for every rental to go smoothly, we know that even with all the measures put into place to keep these fraudulent renters out of the community, they are still a very real threat. 

It’s so important to understand what your risks are when renting out your gear, and how to protect yourself. Athos has your back and we want to help! Rented equipment owners who are renting out their gear to strangers should always feel secure in their own insurance coverage, just in case, a renter’s policy doesn’t pay out or if the renter is fraudulent. To learn more about this special coverage, you can contact our customer service support team. 

How to Protect Your Camera Gear from Theft While in the Car

By: Lauren Castillo, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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Time and time again we hear from clients who left their gear in their car and come back to find that it’s all been stolen.

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Time and time again we hear from clients who left their gear in their car and come back to find that it’s all been stolen. This is one of the most common types of thefts, and it can happen very fast! Whether you’re running into a restaurant to get a bite to eat after a long day of filming, or if the gear is being stored in a vehicle while on location, you should always have your guard up and keep your gear safe. 

Unfortunately, criminals have been known to target this industry. Fortunately, Athos’s equipment insurance can help with this.

Here are our recommendations on how to protect your camera equipment from getting stolen out of a car:

  1. Unload your equipment and take it inside whenever possible

  2. If you have to unload in multiple trips, have someone you trust to stay with the gear while you unload your gear

  3. If you must leave equipment in a car, never leave equipment visibly in a car - Put it in the trunk

  4. Designate a watchman for any gear that will be left in a production vehicle for an extended time

  5. Park in a well-lit secure and guarded (24/7) location

 

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Since this type of theft is so common in the entertainment industry, some insurance policies have an exclusion for theft from an unattended or unlocked vehicle. When shopping for insurance always talk to your broker or camera equipment insurance company to see if your policy covers theft from an unattended/unlocked vehicle. Oftentimes filmmakers end up learning about this exclusion the hard way, after equipment has been stolen out of a vehicle, and find it’s not covered on their policy.

The exclusion of theft from an unattended or unlocked vehicle will not always be clearly listed on your certificate of insurance. Some insurance certificates will specifically state if the policy includes coverage for theft from an unattended vehicle, but often the only place where you will be able to find this exclusion mentioned is in the actual policy documents. Be sure to double-check with your insurance company to be safe!

If there IS an exclusion for theft from an unattended or unlocked vehicle exclusion, ask if it can be removed so that you can rest assured that you are covered. Knowing whether or not your policy covers equipment stolen from an unattended or unlocked vehicle will help you better understand your risks. 

Additionally, if you’re renting equipment from a rental house, most vendors will require that your policy covers theft from an unattended/unlocked vehicle. They want to make sure their gear is fully covered while in your possession. You can always check the insurance requirements provided by the rental house to see if they require this exclusion to be removed. If it isn’t clearly stated in their list of insurance requirements, make sure to check your rental contract as well.  

If you do experience this type of theft, you’ll want to make sure to do the following as soon as possible:

  1. File a police report

  2. Take pictures - Be sure to include signs of break-in like broken windows

  3. Take inventory of what was stolen

  4. If there were witnesses, try to get statements 

  5. Contact your insurance company 

Photo by Ryan Graybill on Unsplash

Having all of this information will be helpful when submitting your claim to the insurance carrier. The adjuster assigned to your claim will need this type of information and being prepared can help ease the claims process. 

Knowing your risks and how to protect yourself is the best way to prepare for this theft scenario. The more you understand what your insurance covers and any exclusions that may apply, the more you can protect your business, and the better prepared you will be when deciding how to handle your gear. The Athos Team is always here to help educate and answer any questions you may have so please feel free to reach out. 

 

 

Equipment Rentals…What insurance will I need?

By: Christina Lam, Assistant Vice President at Athos Insurance

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Well, it depends!

Rental houses always require their renters to have inland marine equipment insurance to cover the rented equipment itself for accident damage and theft. The equipment insurance allows renters to issue a certificate to the rental house naming them as a loss payee and with rental sites such as Sharegrid, just the equipment insurance will suffice.

However, many rental houses will also require general liability coverage in addition to the equipment insurance.  You can usually tell if a general liability policy will be needed because the rental house will ask you to name them as additional insured on your policy, and this can only be added on a general liability policy. General liability covers third party injuries associated with the equipment. For example, if you rent a light from a rental house and while you are using it, it falls and hits someone walking by (not part of your production), that person can sue everyone involved. This includes the owner of the gear which would be the rental house. Rental houses want to be protected in this case which is why they may want you to get general liability coverage along with the equipment coverage.

Are you renting any vehicles in addition to the equipment? Vehicles aren’t considered equipment so you may need to set up a non-owned hired auto policy as well.

Every rental houses is different so ultimately it’s up to you to talk with your rental house to see exactly what coverages they will be requiring. Nevertheless, no matter what coverages will be needed, Athos will be here to help with your insurance!  

For equipment insurance only, please visit here

For equipment and other coverages (liability, auto, etc.), please visit:  

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