Film Production Insurance and Renting Crew Personal Vehicles

Posted by David Hamilton on Oct 18, 2012 5:29:00 PM

Crew vehicles and third parties - insurance concerns

If you plan to rent a vehicle from a crew member for your film production, there are some important steps to follow to ensure everyone is covered.

With respect to damage to the vehicle or third parties during shooting, there are two things to think about which are handled differently by insurance: damage to the vehicle itself; and damage to third party's property (Property Damage) or third parties themselves (Bodily Injury).

Scenario 1: Damage to the vehicle only

If production rents a vehicle from a rental car company, purchases the optional insurance, and adds all potential operators as drivers, then physical damage to the vehicle would be covered by the rental car policy. This would likely be your best bet as you can obtain coverage with no or small deductibles. As well, any accidents will not be charged against the driver's insurance, so they will maintain a clean driving record.

The production policy would also be in effect if, when using the driver's own vehicle, you had a deal memo with the driver stating that production was renting the vehicle.  However, the deal memo with the driver would also have to state that they are an employee of production for coverage to be in effect.  As well, the deductible under the Commercial Vehicle Physical Damage policy is 10% of loss, $2,500 minimum, $7,500 maximum.  As you're looking at a minimum deductible of $2,500 under this coverage, it might be more worthwhile to rent the vehicle for the driver.

If the driver is operating their own vehicle, and you have no deal memo in place, you will not have any coverage for damage to their vehicle under your policy.  Damage to their vehicle would have to be paid for by their own insurance policy (if they have physical damage insurance with ICBC or another insurer), or by themselves if they have no policy.  I understand that production could always reimburse a driver for a incident, and this is obviously always a business decision you can make. Strictly speaking however, in this scenario, the owner/driver is on their own.  If production does decide to reimburse a driver for damage to their vehicle, you should have a release signed whereby the driver/owner agrees to hold the Production harmless from any further claim.  Otherwise, the driver could collect money from production, then claim from ICBC, and still come after production for compensation.

Scenario 2: Third party bodily injury or property damage

If the driver is operating their own vehicle, any third party damage or injury will first be addressed by the driver/owner's insurance through ICBC.

Either way, ICBC will be responding first to any injuries or property damage suffered by a third party.

However, in B.C., injured parties have the right to sue responsible parties.  There is a possibility that, in the event of injury or death suffered by a third party, the Production or Parent would find themselves the target of a lawsuit.  The Production has a Non-Owned Automobile Liability through their Commercial General (and Umbrella Liability policy if applicable) which will respond, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, if the Production is found liable for any bodily injury or property damage suffered by a third party. One note: in order for coverage to apply, the vehicle involved in the accident has to have been used on production, and cannot be owned by the Production or parent Company.

So, in the event of third party bodily injury or property damage, the first response will always be by ICBC. In the event of a lawsuit against the Production, your policy will respond (again, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy) whether you have a deal memo in place with the driver or not.

Lastly, there is the potential issue of loss of  the owners safe driving credits. You should address this in the deal memo.

related post:

I'm renting a car (in Canada) for my production


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