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Anybody holding off on insurance?

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#1 Dan Coplan

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 03:39 PM

Just got my annual bill for insurance. Typically it's a bit of a drag to write this check but no biggie - just part of the biz. But this time around with the sad state of affairs out there, this check is taking a bigger bite out of my wallet than usual.

Curious if anyone out there has decided to hold off on insurance until things improve.

I never do a job without insurance from production and that being the case, the only risk to my gear is if my apartment goes up in flames.

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#2 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 04:38 PM


Dangerous territory if you ask me. And I'm not one to over insure things in general, but in this case we are talking about a LOT of money and I consider it a cost of ownership and doing business. Yes, you can (should) get a certificate from the people you work for, but can you really afford to lose everything and replace it out of pocket should that fall through for some reason? What if something happens to your apartment?
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#3 Aaron Medick SOC

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 04:54 PM

I hear ya. I found writing the check particularly painful this year, but, as Alec stated, It is part of doing business.

Aaron "payed in full" Medick
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#4 Janice Arthur

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 05:14 PM

Hi all;

Every year when I get my bill I take a look at what I'm really insuring.

I have three groups; sled, ff, and accessories and a value associated with each group.

Because some of it can be replaced via the internet with used stuff, my 20 year old preston I don't insure for 20k anymore. I can pick one up for 10k, maybe less.

Sled, what does it really cost to replace it, maybe I leave that closer to market value.

Accessories, some old, some new, why insure a bunch old mediocre batteries for full price?
Not as many low-mode brackets as in the old days, not much for a transmitter. Few other things.

Make some choices.

A couple of years ago I trimmed a lot from my bill.

I do have liability with them and some other stuff so it all balances out but I did save a bunch.

Resubmit your numbers and she'll give you a new bill or if you've paid already they refund.

In hard times look at your house and other insurances too. I added to my home insurance because as a smart friend said what you are hiring with your insurance company is their lawyers to avoid paying out anything. No person ever got 2 mil from my insurance company for a slip and fall (for like 35.00 extra).

Just ideas.

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#5 Erwin Landau

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 05:20 PM

I never do a job without insurance from production and that being the case, the only risk to my gear is if my apartment goes up in flames.


What if the Company decides it doesn't want to pay your lose? Even though you are carrying there cert... Do you have time and money to sue the company?
What if the company has a $2500.- deducible per incident and wants to take that out of your pay check?
What if the Companies insurance is fake?
What if a companies cert is revoked?
What if somebody brakes into your car while traveling to or from Location?
What if you crash while practicing?
What if you lent someone a piece of gear and this person doesn't have insurance or has no money to pay for it?
What if your gear is on order after a crash but you need to start a job and the production says we already paid for rental, why should we rent a rig for you?
What if your monitor just goes up in smoke?
What if you get mugged while loading your gear and production is already gone?
What if you just quickly help out a friend and crash?
What if you have to rent equipment yourself from a rental company?
What if you borrow someone's gear and it gets damaged?
What if you have to order equipment months in advance because of lead time but the Production Insurance is dragging it's feet?
What if... I could go on and on, but I don't want to bore you, you get the idea...

That are all cases that have happen, actually a couple of those to me... every one of those a carrier ender unless you have several tens of thousands in your savings account. In my now 9 years of steadicam I had damages in excess of $75'000.- that my insurance had to cover... not including thousands more that came out of my own pocket...

So no, your own Insurance is not optional, unless you want to retire early do to bankruptcy.

My policy not only covers damage or loss but also (at replacement cost):
- rental units
- provides me with coverage for rented or borrow equipment from 3rd parties
- can go head to head with other insurance companies
- provides me with a cert for a rental house if I have to rent or borrow additional equipment.

I had this discussion many time over the years. Many have taken my advice and where happy and many have not and called me with the words: "If I only had my own Insurance..."

It's between $150.- and $250.- a month... usually not much, right now it seam a lot until you get a bill for $20'000.- that you can't pay for...

Just my 2 cents.

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#6 Dan Coplan

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 05:36 PM

My check is signed and the envelope is stamped but wanted to hear back from all of you regarding this. I did what Janice suggested and trimmed costs to save a couple hundred bucks which helps for the time being.

I'm on the fence about the liability. This regards my equipment causing damage to people and property, right? Like if I let go of my arm while reaching for a cup of coffee and it swings into Angelina Jolie's face and breaks her nose and in my shock I drop my rig knocking over a large container of flammable liquid which erupts into flames and torches the stage...I'm covered?

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#7 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 11:42 PM

Why not ask for a payment plan Dan? Brokers and insurers are losing customers every day just like any other business, either due to that business going away / out of business. Or like you, companies and individuals might be looking at insurance as an option they could do without, they're willing to consider a risk or as Janice suggested cutting back on the amount insured. Insurers and brokers are going to have to try to keep what business they can.

Rather than risk no / less insurance, you could up your deductible to cut the premium and insure less items as well?

Shopping around is a good idea too. For years we had my equipment and Starling Productions GL and equipment insurance with a specialty entertainment insurance company. Our premium was over $8400 annually. I'd complain about the price and they'd cut it a little, only to up it again the next year. I always meant to shop it around but of course the bill would come in, I'd think about and threaten to myself to call for other quotes but lazy butt me just let it slide until the deadline and paid it. Last year I shopped it and got the same EXACT coverages for $3400 that I was paying $8400 for. Shame on me! At $5000 a year over the course of 12-15 years I let $70,000 slip away.
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#8 Matt Petrosky

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 01:36 AM

I agree with Alec, Erwin, and the others--got to have your steadi-gear insured--it's just the way this country, business, and system work. It's your tools for your livelihood. Without it you are on your own and out of pocket to recover any loss. Even if production replaces something, you may need it faster then their legal/accounting depts. will issue a check.

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#9 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 12:17 AM

Also I heard just the other day that thefts by first time offenders are up considerably. The chances of your gear getting stolen when things are bad could be higher than they were before......

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