As a musician, you might not lead an entirely ordinary life, but going to gigs, rehearsing, traveling and moving your gear are the perfect way of life for you. But at home or on the road, anything can happen to derail your ability to perform and cost you a whole lot of money.
Musicians need insurance that is not ordinary, either. Relying on a basic homeowners or renters insurance policy simply won’t cut it. You need a knowledgeable independent insurance agent and specialized musician insurance so you can entertain without worry.
Why Do I Need Musician Insurance?
Your music is your life, and it’s your business. As a business owner, you need to protect your livelihood and your ability to continue to perform and earn a living.
You probably already know that anything can happen while you are playing a gig, or even while you are at home or in your studio rehearsing. You can’t leave your expensive or rare equipment unprotected. Here are just a few examples of how you can lose your equipment, and your livelihood:
- Your home or studio catches fire or is damaged by smoke or severe weather
- Your equipment is stolen from your home or studio, or while out on the road
- Your van with your gear in it is stolen
- Your expensive guitar is stolen out of your car
Just as scary and potentially more costly: you can be sued for damaging someone else’s property or causing an injury. Anyone can be sued for any reason, and it would be naïve to think that you would not be held accountable for a concertgoer’s injury or damage to a venue that occurs during one of your shows.
- A guitar player trips while hauling gear into your home studio: potential lawsuit.
- Fan gets injured at your show: potential lawsuit.
- Your powerful gear starts an electrical fire at an older venue: potential lawsuit.
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You might think that most of these circumstances would be covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy, especially if you have a home-based studio. Your homeowners insurance policy might offer some coverage, but you probably won’t be able to replace your damaged gear with items of equal value.
Most homeowner insurance policies have per item or category limits. This means that, for example, you might have coverage for musical instruments or equipment up to a limit of $2,500. If your $10,000 vintage guitar is damaged in a fire, you will only receive $2,500 to replace it.
What’s more, most homeowners insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for business property. If your musical instruments and gear are your business, they may not be covered by homeowners insurance.
What Does Musician Insurance cover?
Musicians insurance is designed to cover the unique risks that musicians face while in the studio and on the road. It covers your expensive instruments, equipment, and gear at appropriate values and wherever you take it. And it protects you from the costs of lawsuits that arise when you are associating with and playing for the general public.
- Instrument and equipment coverage (property insurance):
- Specialized property coverage designed for musicians and music professionals protects your instruments, gear, and equipment from theft (from your home or studio, from your car or van, from a venue). It also will help you replace your stuff if it is damaged by fire, weather, vandalism, and even accidental breakage (trip and fall while carrying an amp, spilling a beer on your keyboard).
- Instrument and equipment coverage should include worldwide coverage, or inland marine coverage. This means it protects you from property losses that occur no matter where you take your gear, and while it is in transit. In addition to protecting your gear while you are at a venue or playing a show, you might need coverage for equipment that is being transported by car or van, equipment that is locked in a car or van overnight, and equipment loss or damage during air travel.
- General liability coverage:
- You can be sued for any reason, with or without merit. Whether you are at fault or not, you need to defend yourself, and that will cost a lot of money. General liability insurance, will help you in these circumstances.
- Your liability insurance should be specially designed for the unique risks faced by musicians and bands. If you perform as an independent contractor (no venue or company considers you to be an employee) you are probably on your own if you are sued. You can be sued because of an incident during one of your shows (e.g., a fan is injured by an unruly crowd) or any of your operations (e.g., a delivery person trips over a cord in your studio and breaks an ankle).
Remember that these policies have some coverage exclusions. If you intentionally damage your equipment or a venue, all bets are off.
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How Much Does Musician Insurance Cost?
You might think that you can’t afford specialized musician insurance, but it would be more costly if you had to replace your gear or defend a lawsuit on your own. The cost depends on how much gear you need to cover and its value, but you might be able to secure coverage for a few hundred dollars per year.
It’s important to get some help from an independent agent who can help you shop around, and who can work with insurance companies who specialize in coverage for musicians.
Find and Compare Quotes
An independent agent can work with you one-on-one to determine the types and amounts of coverage you need. Your agent can get quotes from multiple insurance companies so you can evaluate the cost and coverage options and make the best choice.