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3 Things I Learned About Insurance Being a Stuntman

Silhouette of man with bmx bike making an extreme trick on the air with cloudy sky as background.

Whether it’s car, life or medical insurance, having good coverage can be your lifeline – the tether that keeps you grounded when everything around you is in chaos.

As the many fine emergency doctors that have treated me at one time or another, and the car mechanics that have saved a picture car for one last shot can attest to, insurance is great to have and something you don’t ever want to be without.

I’ve picked up a few tips from playing with fire (literally!) I feel that are based around the concept of insurance. Here’s what insurance has taught me:

Insurance helps you plan ahead for the unexpected. We’re all so busy with day-to-day activities that it’s human nature to put things off which we’ll “get around to later”.  In the movie business, the ever-present lament from the assistant director shrieking, “We’re losing light”, pushes the cast and crew to sometimes compromise safety for the sake of the production. When you’re about to do a fire burn stunt and the wind direction suddenly shifts, you better have contingency plans with extra fire extinguishers ready. Those extinguishers are your insurance in case something goes wrong.

Insurance gives you peace of mind. Rappelling down a 200-foot waterfall in the jungles of Vera Cruz will get your heart beating like a tom-tom drum in your head. Knowing that your safety line is securely tied to that tree on top of the cliff allows you to concentrate on your job – and getting down the waterfall in one piece. That insurance translates into providing you with peace of mind.

If you don’t have the right insurance, get it before you need it. Shooting a high-speed car chase in a mid-Eastern country without proper permits isn’t a smart thing to do.  Driving the chase car without a seatbelt is another matter.  Only when I insisted on having a seatbelt installed on the spot did the filming begin.  The seat-belt turned out to be added insurance that saved me from serious injury when the front tire blew, sending the car into a telephone pole.

Bottom line – having the right insurance does more than just cover repair costs, it provides you and your family with something you can’t put a price on – peace of mind.


Wondering about what goes on with stunt performers behind the scenes before and after emergency room visits?  Feel free to write in the comments section.


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