Following up on their announcement earlier this summer that they were rolling out a protection to cover rental theft, online rental platform KitSplit has announced that their "Theft Protection Owners Guarantee" is now live and covering all rentals up to $20,000.
The reason for this is because your rental insurance doesn't cover if the person who rents from you steals from you; that isn't theft, it's fraud. In the above header image of Keanu, if you were shooting and he appeared from the shadows, grabbed your gear and ran off, your normal insurance covers you; that's theft. But if you rented to Keanu, because he wanted to shoot his next kung-fu epic on your gear, and then he ran off with it (which we know he would never do, but this is a hypothetical), you will not be covered under standard insurance. Because, you guessed it -- it's not theft, it is fraud.
The $20,000 figure might seem somewhat arbitrary at first, but it makes sense based on the type of camera package it covers. A $100,000 cine package might be attractive to thieves, for example, but it's going to be harder for a thief to resell since that package is more rare and it will look more like an obvious case of "stolen goods" if/when it appears on the used market.
In addition, a $100K cine package takes considerable time to check out; often a full day. In the six to eight hours you spend going through a package as robust as that one, there is time for you, the rental agency, to know if the person wanting to rent it is legit or a thief that plans to rip you off.
If you are renting your brand new Arri LF Mini to someone, and they don't seem to know what is the difference between a normal Mini and a Mini LF, or even what Arriflex is, that is likely a red flag. So be cautious.
Yes, sometimes people rent very expensive gear that they don't understand -- but not often.
Packages under $20,000 work differently.
I always schedule for an hour when it comes to gear handovers since even small wireless kits or monitors are worth checking thoroughly, but not everyone plans for that time. A potential thief renting a brand new $4000 camera might be in and out the door very quickly. Before they have been properly vetted. Now, if that person has defrauded the platform and you, you are covered.
“The trust of our community and the safety of their gear is of utmost importance to us. With the Owner Guarantee, and our improved vetting, we are excited to give our owners even more peace of mind, ” said Lisbeth Kaufman, CEO and co-founder of KitSplit. “Trust has been a focus of ours from day one, and we’re excited to build the safest way to rent cameras in the industry.”
KitSplit has a 40-point vetting process but sometimes determined criminals slip through the cracks (KitSplit reports less than .02 of 1 percent of their rentals have had theft issues). The best tool you have to protect yourself are your instincts, and never be afraid to cancel a rental if you get a bad feeling midway through it.
Check out the KitSplit site for more info.