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  • STOLEN LENS: Who’s Insurance is to Pay — Production Co or Mine?

  • Daniel Andreas

    November 24, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    We had an HD lens stolen from us while on a doc project in Las Vegas.
    I usually ask the production co for an insurance cert but didn’t do so this time.

    The lens was the standard lens the producer specifically asked to take from the truck while doing GV’s of Vegas. I had the wide angle lens on and didn’t actually use the standard lens. I was carrying the camera and tripod the producer the small pelican case with the standard lens in it. Sadly she put it down and set it down at a crowded intersection from where it quickly disappeared (we noticed two guys running away and then the lens was gone)

    Somehow the production company now seems to think that maybe my insurance should cover this loss since they are renting my gear. How can I avoid that as I don’t want my insurance to pay for their fault and my premium go up as a result?

    Thanks for your advice


    Daniel Andreas
    Director of Photography
    Los Angeles
    DigiBetacam PAL

  • john sharaf

    November 24, 2008 at 6:56 pm


    In all likelihood your insurance will not cover the loss, because your equipment was under the custody and control of your client/producer. Contact your insurance agent immediately, file a police report and then read your insurance contract very carefully (as you should have done already).

    It is very important that you have your client provide you with a certificate of insurance for both misc. rental equipment (loss) and liability and in addition, have them sign a rental agreement specifying that they will pay the deductible in case of loss.

    There are certain clients, namely the major news networks, who will not provide such certification, as they are essentially self insured, and require the crews to insure themselves. This gets a little more dicey.

    Finally, if it turns out that your insurance does cover the loss, at least request that your client pay the deductible, especially because as you describe it, the producer was negligent in not controlling the case with the lens in it.

    Las Vegas is notorious for having video gear stolen. I lost a camera in a crowd there many years ago. If nothing else, the loss should make you more vigilant as regards the control and custody of your equipment when on location and exposed and more insistent and persistent in requiring proper certs and agreements from clients even on a one day job.


  • Ernie Santella

    November 24, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I would think your insurance company would cover the loss. Because you were using your gear. It’s not like you rented it out to a third party without you being on the shoot. Just my take. And I 2nd the, ask them to pay your deductable. That’s what a ‘stand-up’ company would do. Sorry for you loss thought!

    Ernie Santella
    Santella Productions Inc.

  • john sharaf

    December 8, 2008 at 4:38 pm


    How is this tale turning out? It might be informative for those of us in the forum who might have such an occurrence in the future.



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