KitSplit is the only gear rental community to offer coverage of this kind filling a major insurance loophole
Since KitSplit launched in 2015, tens of thousands of filmmakers and creators have safely rented gear to and from each other on KitSplit with incredibly positive experiences.
Now we are taking a huge step to further ensure safety and gear coverage, more than any other gear rental platform. We are launching a first-of-its-kind insurance product for owners: the KitSplit Theft Protection Owner Guarantee.
We’ve been working on this issue for a while. It’s what the insurance world calls “voluntary parting.” It plagues all rental platforms as well as rental houses.
Recently, we had a wakeup call that fast-tracked our work to solve voluntary parting once and for all. Someone stole $3,500 cameras from two of our owners. To put it mildly, this was an awful experience for the owners. One of them wrote about it on the internet. At first, we reacted by basically telling him “sorry, you knew the risks (or should have). It’s all in our terms of service and explained on 10 different parts of our site!” And technically speaking, it’s true. Traditional gear rental insurance that we (and all other gear rental platforms) offer doesn’t cover theft by the renter.
But traditional gear rental insurance is inadequate. And so is our policy. That all changes with the Owner Guarantee.
The Owner Guarantee coupled with our existing rental insurance and damage waiver means that KitSplit owners and their gear will be covered in all scenarios, whether damage, loss, or theft (more info below). To make good on this promise, we’re starting by reimbursing the two owners who’s gear was recently stolen.
We are the only rental platform to offer coverage of this kind. It fills a major insurance loophole, and it’s the right thing to do for our customers.
Our aim is to become the leaders in safety for gear rentals.
Fixing the problem once and for all: KitSpit Theft Protection Owner Guarantee
We’ve built an incredibly effective vetting system that has stopped the vast majority of voluntary parting thieves. As a result voluntary parting is extremely rare, .02% or about 1 in 5000. That means that 99.98% of our rentals are safe, secure, and an excellent experience. That said, we agree that even one case is unacceptable.
Everything changes with the KitSplit Owner Guarantee. For owners who opt in, we are pledging to cover the costs if a renter disappears with the gear and refuses to return it. For the renter, there’s no additional cost.
This is a new service that no one else is offering. So we have to start off slow and work in increments. Here’s how it will work:
- We are starting off with an opt-in waiver program that covers gear up to $20,000.
- When an owner gets a rental request they will be offered the chance to opt-into the waiver.
- We plan to increase that amount as we continue to grow the program.
The Owner Guarantee program will be launched in the next few months. We’ll have more details soon!
Wait… I thought KitSplit already offered insurance?
Yes, we already offer gear rental insurance and a damage waiver. All renters are required to have it. Many professional filmmakers already have their own insurance, but if not, we sell it.
Here is what standard gear rental insurance covers:
- Damage to the gear
- Loss of gear by the renter
- Theft FROM the renter
Here’s what standard gear rental insurance does not cover:
- Theft BY the renter, which the insurance industry has termed “voluntary parting”
The “voluntary parting” policy is a rule of the insurance companies, not KitSplit. It’s an insurance gap that has plagued the rental industry for decades.
“Voluntary Parting” Explained
Voluntary parting refers to a situation where the renter buys an insurance policy and then turns out to be a fraudster thief and disappears with the gear. Because the insurance company sold the policy to the renter, the renter is technically the customer, and the insurance company can’t file a claim against their own customers. Insurance just doesn’t work that way. For that reason no insurance companies have been able to offer voluntary parting coverage for marketplace rentals on a rental by rental basis.
Owners can buy annual insurance to cover their gear that includes voluntary parting coverage. KitSplit recommends that owners buy this annual insurance on 10 separate parts of our website. However for owners who can’t afford owners insurance, they’d be left high and dry. Up until now if a renter stole from the owner the insurance companies told the owner: tough luck, and offered no help.
It’s confusing and we have not done the best job of communicating these nuances. The KitSplit Theft Protection Owner Guarantee simplifies all that. Owners who opt in will be covered in all scenarios.
Why didn’t you launch this earlier?
You’re probably wondering why we waited until now to offer the KitSplit Theft Protection Owner Guarantee.
We’ve been working on this problem for a while. But it wasn’t at the top of our list because voluntary parting theft is so rare. It’s .02% or 1 in 5000, thanks to our vetting system. We’ve built an amazing vetting system that blocks thieves from getting onto the platform. I’m really proud of our vetting system. It’s a proprietary 40-point risk assessment that uses a combination of machine learning and human review.
We know through alerts from the Production Equipment Rental Group, an industry association of rental houses, that our system has stopped many thieves who tried to rent on KitSplit, didn’t pass our vetting, and went on to steal millions of dollars from other rental marketplaces and rental houses.
What happened in the recent two cases is incredibly rare, but also disastrous. We now know that we need to offer coverage for these rare cases to guarantee that our owners are always covered.
Why are we able to offer this when no one else can?
Two reasons KitSplit is able to offer this coverage.
One: our vetting system is that effective. Our vetting system will catch 99.98% of thieves and fraudsters on the platform. We are constantly updating and improving it.
Two: we care about our members. We are willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars if it means KitSplit members can be made whole and keep doing their work.
As a Community We Can End Gear Theft
Theft and fraud are terrible in any industry and any scenario. But the creative world is different. We should be better than this. As creatives, we are uniquely community driven. It’s part of the reason why a platform like KitSplit is so powerful; filmmakers help filmmakers. Our fuel is collaboration.
We have to keep supporting each other.
That’s why KitSplit is going out on a limb for owners with our Owner Guarantee. It’s also why we hope you’ll spread the word and bring all of your rental activity to KitSplit. We need as many rentals as possible on KitSplit so that we can continue to offer the Owner Guarantee and expand the program. As an owner KitSplit will protect you. As a renter, you know that you are supporting owners and supporting a platform that truly values creators and will stop at nothing to help.
The Owner Guarantee is just one of the many ways KitSplit is working to protect our members. In addition, we also do the following:
- We vet everyone transacting on the platform with our 40-point risk analysis.
- We require that all renters have rental insurance and we vet it to ensure it covers the gear they are renting.
- For renters who don’t have rental insurance, we make it easy for them to buy it from our insurance partners, and we’ve negotiated the lowest rates in the industry, 40% less expensive than the competition.
- We also have an amazing customer service team on hand 7 days a week to help with anything.
And we’re not stopping there. We’re continuing to innovate and add protective measures to our community to make it the safest most collaborative platform for creators in the world.
If we all band together we can stop theft and fraud. We can protect the generous owners in our community who offer their gear so those less fortunate can create. That is what KitSplit is all about.
To Yohahn, Our Customer
I’m sorry. This really sucks. Both what happened to you and our initial response. I have told you personally but I also want to say it publicly: as the founder and CEO of KitSplit, please accept my sincere apology.
We’re going to make this right and retroactively apply this new Owner’s Theft Guarantee to you and your situation. This means that we will cover the cost of buying you a new camera.
Lastly, thanks for giving us your business. We’re a small 15-person startup. We depend on the trust and goodwill of customers like you for our existence.
We hope you’ll give us another shot.