If you’d rather be strumming away at your guitar or playing a tune on your piano than thinking about your insurance needs, you’re not alone. But protecting your investment in your musical instrument is probably something you think about regularly, especially if you travel with your instrument. Musical instrument insurance can provide peace of mind.
If you’re not sure you really need to insure that musical instrument that cost you thousands of dollars – whether it is a cello or a baby grand piano – consider just a few of the ways people experience loss or damaged to their instruments each year:
- Overexposure to humidity
- Water damage during storage or from burst pipes and flooding
- Being dropped – for example, by a baggage handler at the airport
- Damaged or lost during transportation
- Lost or stolen while you’re traveling or on vacation
- Destroyed in a house fire or other disaster
Who Needs Instrument Insurance?
If you own an expensive musical instrument, you likely need instrument insurance. If you have a child who is in band or is taking private music lessons, insurance can protect your investment in the instrument while your young student is toting it around. If your child accidentally leaves the instrument on the bus never to be seen again, the proper insurance could replace it.
If you are in a band, orchestra, or local symphony, it is definitely a good idea to get your instrument protected against loss, damage and theft. If you transport your instrument to symphony halls, wedding receptions, or bars and musical venues, it is important to evaluate the risks you’ll face in transit.
The amount of coverage you need is based on your instrument’s appraised value. An appraiser will take into account factors such as age, condition and quality. If you have the appropriate coverage and something happens to the instrument, you won’t have to pay out of pocket to replace the instrument at full value.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Musical Instruments?
A homeowner’s insurance policy typically provides some coverage for your non-professional musical instruments, although to ensure full coverage you may need a separate rider. If your instrument is damaged by water from a burst pipe or leaky roof, your homeowners coverage will likely kick in, subject to any policy limits for personal belongings.
As you evaluate your musical instrument insurance needs, also consider the following:
- Your homeowners policy often carry high deductibles, while certain instrument insurance policies offer no-deductible options.
- Your homeowners policy won’t usually provide full coverage for professional instruments you use for paid performances.
- Your homeowners policy likely won’t cover your instrument if it was damaged by a flood or earthquake.
Because of the possible restrictions and limitations placed on musical instruments within a homeowner’s policy, you may want to consider a separate endorsement or instrument insurance policy that better meets your needs.
What Are the Costs for Piano, Violin or Viola Insurance?
A few of the most expensive musical instruments include pianos, violas and violins. Due to their value, they’re often insured under policies separate from a homeowner’s policy. Let’s take a look at the price of coverage for these frequently insured items.
Pianos range in value, but it’s not uncommon that a Bosendorfer can cost over $50,000. Violas and violins, depending on their quality, can also cost thousands of dollars. Piano insurance, viola insurance and violin insurance are all based on each instrument’s current list price.
Determining your instrument’s value is necessary in selecting the amount of coverage you need.
Insurance premiums for these types of instruments can cost as little as $250 per year. If you elect to add additional limits to your homeowners policy, you’ll need to make sure the coverage is adequate based on your instrument’s replacement value.
More What-If Scenarios for Musical Instrument Coverage
To fully assess your level of risk and insurance needs, consider your use of your instrument, including any times when it may be out of your sight, or may be at risk of damage. Assemble your questions and concerns for your discussion with your insurance agent.
For example, you may want to ask your agent the following questions:
- Will your instrument be covered if it is damaged while on loan it to a friend?
- Will it be covered if you rent it out?
- What if you accidentally leave it in a taxi?
- Will it be covered if you transport it out of the state? Out of the country?
In most instances, coverage for these types of mishaps depends on the specific language of your homeowner’s or individual instrument insurance policy.
Purchasing the Best Instrument Insurance
If you realize the importance of instrument insurance, but aren’t sure exactly how to proceed, you’re not alone. The world of insurance can be challenging to navigate. There are numerous companies that offer quotes on homeowner’s policies and individual musical instrument insurance.
As you're researching insurance options, make sure you're looking at the reputation of the insurer. If the company is highly rated (you can do some online searches on sites like A.M. Best for industry ratings), and the quote you see is within your price range, this might be a good option. Just don't stop at the first quote you see. It's highly recommended that you get at least 3 quotes before you buy. That way, you'll have a range of options at your fingertips, and can rest assured that your choice is the right one for your needs and budget.