April 09, 2015
Musical Instrument Insurance: Pros and Cons
As a musician, you’ve probably formed a special bond with your instrument. Not only have you invested plenty of time and money into finding and purchasing your instrument, but it’s traveled with you wherever you perform. Whether you play an instrument purely for your own enjoyment, as a part of an orchestra or band, or play professionally, you can purchase musical instrument insurance that’ll travel with you anywhere in the world. This guide aims to help you decide if musical instrument insurance is worth your money. If you do decide to purchase insurance, remember this: you should purchase it before you need it. Otherwise you’ll be unprotected when disaster strikes.
Who Needs Musical Instrument Insurance?
First things first: if you depend on your instrument to make a living, you should probably invest in insurance. If your gear is lost, damaged, or stolen, you’ll want to minimize the amount of time you’re without an instrument, otherwise you aren’t making any money. Whether it’s paying for repairs, renting a temporary instrument, or purchasing a brand new one, insurance policies can cover one or all of the above.
Next, if you travel with your instrument often, musical instrument insurance should be a serious consideration. You never know when it’ll fall out of the overhead bin or react horribly to pressure changes in the cabin. A third group of musicians who should consider insurance are collectors or those with an especially expensive instrument. For example, if your vintage guitar falls off its stand and splits its neck, certain policies will cover the cost of repairs and the resulting depreciation in its value.
Advantages of Musical Instrument Insurance
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of musical instrument insurance is peace of mind. Even if you never use the insurance, you can rest assured knowing your instrument (and pocketbook) are protected from harm. Between setlists and locking down shows, musicians have enough things to worry about. Being insured means one less reason to stress. Depending on the policy you choose, you could have access to a team of highly specialized customer service agents. This will come in handy when the time comes to explain what’s wrong with your instrument over the phone. Most insurers are flexible in nature, meaning you can pick and choose the coverage that makes sense for you. Whether you’re insuring a hobby instrument or an entire orchestra, you’re sure to find a policy that works for you.
Disadvantages of Musical Instrument Insurance
At the end of the day, musical instrument insurance is just another bill. If your instrument wasn’t expensive to begin with or isn’t played very often, investing in musical instrument insurance may not be worth it in the long-run. In addition, some insurers will expect you to pay a small deductible if something ever does go wrong, so don’t expect that you’ll never have to pay for a repair again. Another con of insurance is that it won’t cover everything. Even the most expensive policies won’t cover damage from neglect, poor storage, or everyday wear and tear. Additionally, if your instrument was confiscated by a government agency, it won’t be covered. If you aren’t sure about whether or not musical instrument insurance is right for you, speak with your music teacher or a repair technician for more advice.
What’s Covered in Most Policies?
Musical instrument insurance is designed to cover circumstances that musicians typically encounter. Since musicians travel, coverage is worldwide and isn’t limited to your city or state. Some situations might not be covered, like checking instruments in as baggage or shipping cello bows or other accessories, so be sure to inspect the ins and outs of your policy before signing. In general, your instrument will be protected against fire, floods, theft, and damage, but won’t be protected from nuclear threats, mold, vermin, or general wear and tear. Whether your instrument appraised or you provided a list of the value of each item, you can expect the claim to be filled quickly- as long as it falls within your policy. As previously mentioned, coverage varies from policy to policy, so read the fine print and ask a lot of questions.
If You Purchase Insurance…
If you do decide to go through with purchasing musical instrument insurance, spend some time getting to know your policy. It can be tedious, but even the most basic policies have terms and conditions. If you break them, you won’t be covered so make sure to follow the rules. If you change your address or need to change any of your insured items, be sure to notify your insurer as soon as possible. When it comes time to value your instrument, don’t be lazy. Take the time to calculate the full value of your gear and do as much outside research as necessary. Finally, don’t become careless. Just because you’ve invested in instrument insurance doesn’t mean you should keep your instrument in an unlocked car or store it improperly. Besides, damage from neglect or improper storage likely won’t be covered.
Is Insurance Covered in My Rent-to-Own Program?
One of the undeniable facts of life is that mistakes happen, and instruments aren’t immune from this law of nature. They can get dropped. Younger siblings can decide to play with them when no one is looking. And, even with the good fortune of being accident-free, an instrument is subject to routine wear and tear. For this reason, many rent-to-own programs offer repair and maintenance programs for a few extra dollars a month. In most cases, these programs cover 100% of the cost of any repairs, accidental damage, or loss of the instrument. Whether it’s just routine maintenance or a major mishap and as long as the damage wasn’t intentional, you’ll be covered under most repair and maintenance programs.
Although you may never take advantage of it, musical instrument insurance could save you thousands of dollars in case of an emergency. For coverage specifics, check with whichever program you choose. If you do end up damaging your instrument and don’t have insurance, learn how to find a qualified repair technician near you.