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Bryan Fowler

COIs and the liability of the freelance DP

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I'm looking for input on how you guys handle the question of; who is responsible for insuring the production you are on, mainly when you are bringing gear to the shoot. I.E. DP with camera package, Gaffer with truck, or Grip with a box of random gobo heads and a ratchet strap. (that's a joke, I love my Key Grips)

I work in a small market, surrounded by larger ones. So I get everything from, "great, glad you're available with your camera and truck, where should we send your COI" to "Hey, go do that interview with your camera and truck, but first send us proof that you are insured!"

When I ask for a COI from THEM, There seems to be all sorts of opinions on why I should be the one to insure someone else's production. Some calls have told me, "since we're not there, you have to insure it" and, "it's your gear, you should insure it yourself!" as well as, "I wouldn't have to insure a plumber if they came to my house to do work, I would expect them to be insured." - In those situations I'm always trying to kindly explain what is normal. But what is normal? Is normal changing? 

I'm wondering where freelance people like you land on this. Do you require your client to give you a COI for that gear? If you ask for a COI and they say no, how to you judge when you are going to take the risk on yourself, vs pass on the job?


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I would insure the equipment I personally own or have hired,  have personal public liability insurance for my business and employers insurance if I'm employing other freelancers who I'm providing as my crew. If they've hired the other crew members or the rental gear the these items are the production company's responsibility.

Other than that, it's up to the production company to take out production insurance for the production.. They should have production insurance, I gather you can get one year cover,.

Legal requirements may vary from country to country.


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