Protect Your Band: Insure Your GearBy -
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
With everything on your plate as a musician—and there’s a lot: songwriting, recording, booking gigs, connecting with fans, managing social media, building your website, finding music distributors, looking at record labels, selling your music—you’re more than busy and a little distracted. That’s all the more reason to make sure you’re covered in case the worst happens.
The Worst That Could Happen
“What’s the worst that could happen?” you ask. Well, since you asked, let’s go there…
Your band is doing well: playing regularly, recording a few tracks for your newest album, booking a small tour. After a gig, you decide to go celebrate with friends before the band leaves town. All the instruments and equipment are loaded into your van—the guitars, bass, drums, keyboard, mics, amps, the iPad and audio interface you used to record that night’s gig, the band leader’s laptop and notebook of song lyrics, all the cables and pedals and boards, and your band merch. You head over to the all-night diner along the highway, and when you emerge two (or four) hours later, the back window is shattered and everything is gone.
The items were in a car, so auto-insurance would cover them, right? Wrong. Most auto policies won’t cover personal belongings stolen from a vehicle (although they might cover your broken back window). If you’re lucky, your homeowners or renters insurance might cover the missing property. However, there are often limitations on electronics and high-ticket items; additionally, if the insurance company believes the items were used for business purposes (which your band might qualify as), you might be out of luck there as well. (FYI: this might also be true if the items were stored at your home but in a room/building dedicated to the band/business.)
Again, now what?
There are steps you can take to decrease your chances of facing a similar situation, but, to be bluntly honest, it could still happen. Your best bet is to be prepared for the worst situation so that it’s only a headache and not a game-changer. The best way to be prepared is to properly insure your band’s gear. Here are several companies for musical instrument insurance:
Heritage Insurance Services
Heritage Insurance Services is one of the best in the music industry. They are very knowledgeable about instruments and the needs of musicians. They offer worldwide coverage from the typical threats for the instrument itself as well as the related gear (cases, recording equipment, accessories, amps, etc). Heritage even provides insurance for shipment or travel. However, they do not insure laptops or iPods.
Clarion Musical Instrument Insurance
With over 40 years of experience, another leader in the musical instrument insurance business is Clarion Musical Instrument Insurance. They offer insurance for professionally-used instruments against standard threats (breakage, earthquake, flood, etc) regardless of where in the world the instrument is. One nice feature is their Business Interruption Endorsement, which will help cover lost wages from gigs cancelled because of instrument damage or theft.
Music Pro Insurance
Again, this company offers worldwide insurance against unintentional damage, disaster, and theft for your instruments and equipment. Coverage starts as low as $150, which is a great deal for the peace of mind provided.
Choosing an Insurance Company and Policy
Contact several musical instrument insurers to be sure you’re getting the right coverage for you and your band. It also can’t hurt to call your homeowners insurance company to see if they offer an insurance policy for musical instruments. Regardless of the company, be sure to clarify that the instruments are used for performances and the type of music you perform. Also, ask whether it’s possible (or advisable) for your band to insure your instruments and equipment collectively.
The loss or damage of your band’s instruments and equipment can be a nightmare. Without the proper insurance, your band would have to rebuild from scratch, requiring a heavy investment of funds without your main method of making money. This could force even a successful band to fold. Instead, the right insurance policy could let your band get back on track quickly and easily.
Does your band have insurance? Is it collective or spread across the individual members? How did you pick your insurance company and policy? If you don’t have insurance, what’s your emergency plan?