Insurance for film and advertising production will cover the basics of; injuries on set, equipment damage, copyright claims, and any car operated for the production. There is, however, a whole range of special policies you may need to add onto your short term or annual insurance policy to keep your production covered.  

These special policies cover a wide range of extra elements, such as:

  • Aerial Photography or use of drones
  • Aircraft
  • Animals
  • Trains and speciality vehicles
  • Stunts
  • Weapons
  • Props
  • Sets
  • Weather
  • Special Effects
  • Pyrotechnical Effects
  • Underwater Shoots

Stunts

Stunts often need to be underwritten individually, stunt by stunt.  Expect your insurance company to monitor scripts and storyboards closely; they may even send loss control specialists to a set if the stunt is particularly risky as the potential for big losses is significant. There is usually some back and forth between loss specialists and the stunt coordinator, which often means ultimately scripts need to be changed. 

When an A list celebrity takes on their own stunts, insurance can be particularly expensive because if they get injured on set, the whole production could lose its marketability and filming could stop abruptly, costing the studio millions. 

Tom Cruise is well known for performing his own treacherous stunts. 2011’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol saw Tom Cruise actually scaling the Burj Khalifa but it very nearly didn’t happen. As the story goes, the original production insurance company wouldn’t insure the stunt because it was too expensive. However, instead of changing the script, Tom Cruise demanded Paramount fire their insurance broker and found another company that were willing to cover his life-endangering stunts. No mean feat when he is worth half a billion dollars. 

The amount of cover you need will vary hugely according to the size and content of your production. In big budget productions, the bigger the stunt the more expensive and detailed the insurance policy

It’s certainly worth being completely open and honest with your insurance company when discussing the details of your production, and securing any add-ons to your policy. Being secure with the appropriate policy that covers you during pre-planning, during filming and throughout post-production will avoid major problems and enable your production to go ahead safely. 


Williamson Carson are experts in insurance and passionate about supporting the creative industries. Discover how we can help protect you from risk, with bespoke cover for your industry. Contact us now. Read more insights and interviews by Williamson Carson.