Animal mortality insurance and cast coverage:  What You Should Know

By Barrow Group Staff / February 20, 2023


In the movie, Marley and Me, who wasn’t heartbroken when Marley had to be put to sleep. But what happens if the star of the show is a dog, and it dies or is injured in real life?

Dogs, horses, and other animals are frequently used in film productions. They can make viewers feel affection or fear depending on how they are used. Other times they provide historical relevance. However, whether they are the star of the show or simply an extra, several things need to be considered when using animals that could impact your project.

First, if the animal has a major part in the movie, you might consider insuring them under “cast coverage.” Cast coverage takes care of extra expenses incurred by the production caused by death, illness, or injury of insured cast members. Therefore, if the animal were not able to fulfill its obligations, it may cause the same loss to the production as a human actor. Costs to hire, train and film the new animal would be covered, allowing the film to get back on track. Should producers determine that the film should be abandoned, cast coverage reimburses for expenses incurred up to that point.

Death of animals is sometimes included in commercial insurance policies, but not always. Injury to animals is frequently not covered. Animals are usually obtained from companies that specialize in providing trained animals to film & tv production crews. If one of these animals is injured on the set, you could be held legally liable for the injury. Animal Mortality insurance can protect you if an accident happens and you are found at fault.

Contracts with animal owners and trainers should be examined closely prior to signing.

Here are questions insurance companies may ask if animals are used in a project:

  • Dates of use
  • Location
  • List of animals
  • Values of animals
  • Current vet certificates
  • Description of use
  • Name and telephone number of trainer

Animals require special care and handling and have insurance needs like anything else in the film. If you intend to use animals in your next project, contact the Barrow Group for advice. We provide a full range of coverage options for your film, video or TV project. Click to complete an application, and we’ll be in touch shortly.


Topics: Barrow Group, Cast Coverage, Film and TV Insurance, Animal Mortality Insurance, Animals Used On Set, Dogs in Films

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