If you own a musical instrument, you should know that proper care doesn’t just include replacing guitar strings and cleaning dust out from under violin bridges — it also involves protecting your instrument against disaster, theft, or damage.
If you want to invest in musical instrument insurance, we’ve covered what typical policies involve, who needs a policy and our top picks for insurers.
Insure Your Instrument with Your Home Policy
Tip: Compare 2-3 Companies
Quick Look: Best Musical Instrument Insurance
- Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance Solutions
- Heritage Insurance Services
- Huntington T Block
- MusicPro Insurance
Do You Need Instrument Insurance?
You may want to consider investing in musical instrument insurance if any of the following circumstances apply to you:
You’re a Professional Musician. If you make a living playing your instrument, musical instrument insurance should be a no-brainer. Musical instrument insurance can help you cover the costs of a replacement instrument in the event that yours is lost or broken, as well as any accessories (like a bow or an amp). Maintain at least some level of musical instrument insurance to avoid the need to cancel a concert or appearance in the event that something happens to your instrument.
You Collect High-Value Instruments. Even if you don’t play your instruments, you’ll want to insure them against theft and damage. Unless you have a rider on your instruments (more on that later), your homeowners or renters insurance probably won’t cover the entirety of the cost to replace your valuable collectibles.
You Frequently Ship Your Instruments or Travel with Them. The more you move your musical instrument, the more likely it is to be damaged. If you frequently travel with your instruments or ship them out to be displayed in museums, musical instrument insurance becomes a necessity.
Hobbyists, casual players and musicians who play an instrument that’s easily replaceable (like a piccolo or clarinet) typically don’t need specific instrument coverage; your homeowners or renters insurance is usually more than enough to cover the instrument in the event of an accident or burglary.
What to Look for in a Policy or Company
Musical instrument insurance often includes more than just damage and theft. Your policy will likely also provide public liability insurance. Public liability insurance protects you against damage you accidentally cause with your instrument while you perform in a public or private setting.
For example, imagine that you plug your electric guitar’s amp into an outlet in a very old studio venue and the outlet catches on fire and causes damage to the venue. Public liability insurance can help fund legal protection if the owner of the venue decides to sue you for the damage you cause and can also help cover any payouts awarded by a judge. Not all musical instrument insurance policies include public liability insurance, but if you’re a performer who frequently switches up your studio space, you may want to ask a representative how you can get liability coverage.
Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance might already protect you. The best homeowners insurance policies often includes natural disasters and thefts that can harm your instrument. However, most policies also include limitations on coverage for high-value items. For example, you may have a policy that provides up to $50,000 worth of coverage for personal possessions damaged during a fire, but your policy may also include a caveat that states that only $5,000 may be used to cover musical instruments that are damaged.
If you have an instrument on which you want more protection, you may also add a rider to your homeowners or renters insurance policy. A rider is an additional layer of protection that extends your line of coverage and provides more financial compensation in the event that your instrument is damaged or stolen. Riders also extend beyond typical circumstances that would warrant a payout. For example, if you leave your violin in a studio, visit the vending machine, and come back to find that it has been stolen, a rider will offer you compensation even if your homeowners or renters insurance policy would typically find you liable for the loss.
You’ll probably need an appraisal before insuring a collectible. Most insurance companies require that you have an instrument appraised before they extend coverage. If the instrument is lost or damaged, the insurance company will have to write you a check for the replacement value under most policies — and not many insurance providers want to risk shelling out $70,000 if the violin that you own isn’t an authentic Vienna antique. Be prepared to produce appraisal documents at the time of insurance. For very rare collectibles, insurers may also request to send their own appraisal expert before they are willing to extend coverage.
Not every insurance provider insures every instrument. Just like how some pet insurance companies will not extend coverage to certain breeds of dogs, some musical instrument insurance providers will not cover large and easily-damaged instruments like antique harps and string basses, or they may charge a higher premium to secure coverage. If you have an especially delicate or very expensive instrument, leave yourself extra time to search for the right coverage and budget more in monthly premiums.
Your orchestra or ensemble might have a group insurance discount. Do you work as part of a musical group, orchestra, or ensemble? Your performance house or director may already have an insurance policy in place that protects your instrument. If you play your own instrument, you may have access to a group insurance plan, as many insurance providers offer discounts for orchestras and performing groups. Talk with your manager or HR representative if you aren’t sure if you have access to a bulk insurance plan.
Every instrument insurance policy has its limits. Even the most comprehensive musical instrument insurance policies will have limitations on the type of damage that’s covered and the circumstances under which you can expect a payout. For example, if you accidentally drop your guitar during rehearsal, your insurance will almost always save the day. On the other hand, if you intentionally smash your guitar at the end of a concert, don’t hold your breath waiting for a check in the mail.
Make sure to thoroughly read your insurance policy before you sign so you know what’s covered and what isn’t.
The 5 Best Musical Instrument Insurance Companies
1. Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance Solutions
Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance Solutions is one of the most reputable and well-known musical instrument insurers in the country. Anderson insures everything from mandolins to trumpets. The company even extends coverage to delicate orchestra instruments like harps, though if you play one of the most frequently-damaged instruments, you can expect a higher premium.
Anderson’s premiums are affordable when compared to some other competitors, and its coverage limits are significantly higher than those that you can secure from most homeowners and renters insurance policies. You can expect to pay between $165 and $250 annually for coverage depending upon what instrument you play for up to $30,000 worth of coverage.
You may also qualify for less expensive “preferred pricing”, depending on where your instrument is stored, how often you travel with your instruments and your level of professional experience. Anderson even has coverage options for synthesizers and software equipment, which are often excluded from musical instrument policies.
2. Heritage Insurance Services
Based out of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Heritage Insurance Services provides musical instrument insurance to musicians in both the United States and Canada. Heritage covers a variety of musical instruments but specializes in covering professional-grade wooden instruments like violins, violas and cellos. Heritage policies include sound depreciation coverage, which is especially important for professional musicians, as it helps ensure against decreases in sound quality alongside theft and damage. Heritage also offers policy options for instrument makers and repair shops as well. Policies with Heritage begin at $200 per year and coverage options range from $500 to $100,000,000, which makes the company equally as popular with students as it is with antique collectors.
Heritage’s coverage is extensive. Its policies cover a massive range of perils and situations and its coverage extends around the world. The company does not insure against damage due to mold or vermin, and you won’t be compensated for instruments seized by customs or as a part of a debt settlement agreement.
3. Huntington T. Block
Huntington T. Block is a fine art and instrument insurance service that works with everyone from personal collectors to some of the world’s largest symphonies. Its specialty is insuring high-value collections and orchestra supplies. Policies from Huntington are considered “all risk,” which means that it provides coverage for everything except named excluded perils. The list of excluded perils is short and includes regular wear and tear, inherent vice (quality of an instrument that can cause it to damage itself, such as a piano with faulty wiring), nuclear accidents and acts of war. This means that Huntington’s musical instrument insurance includes damage and loss caused by flooding and earthquakes, two perils commonly excluded from insurance clauses.
Huntington’s policies offer a number of provisions that are especially beneficial for traveling musicians. Policies include in-transit coverage for instruments damaged during a flight and inflation protection will even pay out the cost of replacing a new instrument. The company even offers coverage for loaned and borrowed instruments on a worldwide scale — a major benefit for musicians who frequently swap out instruments when on the road and those who loan them out to friends.
4. MusicPro Insurance
All-risk policies from MusicPro Insurance are affordable yet comprehensive; you can expect to pay just $100 for your deductible per instrument that’s insured and premiums are low as well. MusicPro offers two insurance plan types: standard insurance for most individual musicians and classical packages for symphonies and orchestras.
MusicPro’s team delivers speedy and efficient service; all applications are processed in as little as 24 hours and you’ll have a check in the mail between 24 and 48 hours after paperwork and documentation are submitted. This focus on speedy timing might make MusicPro a top choice if you need to secure coverage quickly.
Need quick but temporary coverage? MusicPro also offers short term borrowed instrument insurance protection for less than 30 days. MusicPro also offers special liability packages for musicians who need to protect a home or commercial studio and it has event packages available that offer temporary protection for a one-time concert or recording session.
You may already purchase your home, auto, or commercial insurance from Travelers — but did you know that Travelers also provides additional coverage options for musical instruments as well? Individual musical insurance policies (referred to as “jewelry and valuable coverage”), as well as additional rider options, can be available if you already purchase homeowners or renters insurance from Travelers.
If you purchase insurance for an individual interest from Travelers, you will likely not have to pay a deductible if your item is lost, damaged or stolen. Travelers also provides group insurance options for collectors and studio owners as well.
Each and every insurance company uses its own unique formula to calculate what you’ll pay in monthly premiums and it’s possible to get the exact same coverage from three different companies at three totally different price points. Don’t be afraid to “shop around” and compare pricing and policies before you commit.