COI? What's that?

The anatomy of a certificate of insurance.

COI? What’s that?


ll insurance policies have different types of coverage, in the same way that you decide what you want your auto insurer to pay for should something happen to your car. What we at Digital Film Studios ask for in terms of insurance consists of three different types of coverage: General Liability, Automobile Liability, and Miscellaneous Equipment Coverage. These will be listed on a document, called the Certificate of Liability Insurance, or COI, that outlines what you have purchased and what you are extending to us. The COI will outline the coverages you’re extending as well as the limits and deductibles.

Sample Certificate of Insurance
Sample Certificate of Insurance


The insurance company will want to limit how much they will pay for, and they’ll indicate this on the certificate that they’ll provide to us. You’ll want to pay attention to the limits on the Miscellaneous Equipment coverages; if your limit is lower than the total dollar amount of the equipment you are renting then you won’t be able to rent that expensive lens as you won’t be able to take financial responsibility for it. Unless you want to leave us a deposit for the replacement cost.


The deductible is the amount that you as the policy holder and renter are responsible for before the insurance company takes over. If something happens on your set or to the gear you’ve rented, the insurance company will be responsible for the amount of the claim (ie they will pay for the lost or damaged equipment), less this amount. So the loss needs to be sufficient enough for the insurer to take responsibility. This amount is also listed on the insurance certificate that they provide to us, and generally we will ask you for a deposit to cover this amount until your rental is over.


General Liability Coverage. This is designed to cover damages or claims that result while conducting normal business activities. Most smart businesses have this – if someone walks into the corner store and slips on the just-mopped floor, the store is covered. Why do we ask for this? If someone working on your set causes something to happen with a third party, and that third party sees our name on the equipment, they may decide to ask us to take responsibility, even though it happened on YOUR set and is YOUR responsibility. People are unpredictable – this is a way of deciding in advance what will happen if something unpredictable happens. Of course, this coverage is limited to general business activities – for other things, the insurance company will be more specific.

Hired Auto/Auto Liability Coverage: Autos have a higher likelihood of interacting in a negative way with each other than people who aren’t in them – and insurance companies want to be specific about this. If you are renting a vehicle from DFS, you’ll need to take responsibility for what happens while the vehicle is in your control. $35K deposit? Or insurance. Your choice.

Miscellaneous Equipment / Rented Equipment: This is specific coverage for equipment that you rent from us; the miscellaneous part is there because you might rent a lot of different things at different times. Today, you might rent a camera, tomorrow a light, and next week a dolly. Or all of that at once. Without this coverage, an insurance company won’t pay if our camera falls over the side of a bridge while on your shoot, or that box of lenses you rented from us disappears.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.