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Musical instruments and homeowners insurance
Musical instruments can be some of our most cherished possessions. They can also be expensive and difficult to replace. Whether you’re a concert pianist or a weekend hobbyist, you’ll want to make sure to find an insurance policy that adequately protects your instruments. Below you’ll find our guide for insuring musical equipment at all value levels.
Musical instrument insurance — table of contents:
- Does homeowners insurance cover my musical instruments?
- How to insure a musical instrument
- What does musical instrument insurance cover?
- Does renters insurance cover musical instruments
- Home studio insurance
Homeowners insurance provides built-in coverage for most musical instruments, including accessories and sheet music. However, this coverage is only available up to a certain dollar amount. Musical instruments fall into a category of items that are often worth considerably more than many other personal belongings. Other items included in this category are jewelry and fine art, among others.
The chart below shows the standard coverage sub-limits for such items.
|$200||Money, Gold, Coins|
|$1,500||Jewelry, watches, furs||Theft-only|
Most home insurance carriers will only provide coverage up to around $2,000 or less for musical instruments. As even a single guitar or piano can clock in over that amount, these limits can be exhausted quite easily. Those with high-value instruments should consider other options. Consider the following ways to insure your musical equipment.
There are a number of options for insuring your music equipment. Depending on the value and amount of equipment you own, you may be fine with a standard homeowners policy, as discussed above. Be aware, however, that you will likely have to pay a deductible in order to make a claim, which could be upwards of $1,000 or more. Unless your item was worth more than the deductible, it wouldn’t be wise to make a claim.
Those with more expensive instruments or who own equipment collectively valued at more than $2,000 (or your insurer’s sub-limit for instruments) should consider the below options.
Scheduled personal property insurance
For instruments of particularly high value, consider a scheduled personal property endorsement — sometimes referred to as a rider — from your insurance company. This is a form of instrument coverage that allows you to go above the sub-limit imposed for these items to fully cover your instrument for repairs or replacement.
With such an endorsement, your insurer will cover an instrument at replacement value, providing a payout for the full cost to repair or replace the item. An appraisal may be required to assign the instrument's value.
These endorsements often cover items on an all-risk basis, meaning that they are covered for a much wider range of perils. For instance, a standard homeowners policy would not cover your instrument if it was destroyed or damaged by an accident, though it’s likely that a scheduled endorsement would. Such endorsements typically even cover the “mysterious disappearance” of items, something that your homeowners coverage won’t. Furthermore, scheduled items are also not likely to be subject to a deductible either.
Most insurance companies will cover musical instruments through a rider, but a few explicitly stating their musical instrument coverage include:
Other musical instrument policies
Stand-alone musical instrument insurance policies do exist and could be the best option for some. This type of coverage is ideal for professional musicians or those who regularly take their instruments out for performances. Popular musical instrument insurance companies include Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance Solutions and Clarion Musical Instrument Insurance.
Like scheduled endorsements, many of these companies insure your items on an all-risk basis, therefore providing more coverage than is found with a standard homeowners or renters policy. Typically, they’ll cover your instruments even if they are damaged or destroyed in a flood or an earthquake.
Most instruments will be covered under your policy or a scheduled endorsement. Some of the most common instruments covered include the following:
- Acoustic or electric guitars
- Stringed instruments (cello, violin, etc.)
- Brass, woodwind and reed instruments (trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, etc.)
While they may not be instruments, most policies will usually cover other types of accessories and musical equipment as well. Gear such as amplifiers, mixing and mastering units, microphones, and PA systems can be just as expensive as your instruments, and therefore require proper coverage. If you have a robust collection of non-instrument gear, you may want to consider a stand-alone instrument policy to ensure you're covered.
Are your instruments covered while playing live?
Professional musicians who are regularly in the studio or out on the road will find that most renters or homeowners insurance policies won’t provide coverage for their instruments in these situations. This is because they are being used in a professional capacity.
Likewise, if you’re a musician who travels outside of the United States to perform, you’ll need to make sure that your instruments are covered internationally. Most stand-alone instrument policies will cover instruments for professional musicians who travel, though it always pays to double-check beforehand.
What if your equipment is stored in a rehearsal space or at a friend’s house?
Oftentimes, musical equipment may be left at a rehearsal space to avoid lugging it back and forth. If you pay to rent out professional rehearsal space, they should have an insurance policy that would cover you. However, you’ll want to check with the owner of the space beforehand, as the nature of your lease could stipulate that you are responsible for such coverage. Make sure to go over your contract in detail to verify what is and isn’t covered.
If your rehearsal space is at a friend’s house, you’ll want to make sure that their renters or homeowners policy carries sufficient personal property coverage to cover all of the gear present. If the instruments are more valuable than the company's sub-limit, coverage should be extended. Bear in mind that your own renters or homeowners insurance policy may provide coverage for items that are not on your property, though this limit may be even lower than the sub-limit.
Does my insurance policy cover my laptop or computer?
Insurance companies don’t consider your computer to be an instrument — no matter how many plug-ins or virtual instruments you have loaded on it. As a crucial piece of most home studios, you’ll need to make sure that the personal property portion of your home policy covers your electronics. As such, claims made regarding your computer will likely be subject to a deductible. Furthermore, your personal property coverage won’t cover accidents like water damage or drops. Some companies may offer similar scheduled property endorsements for certain types of electronics which could be worth looking into.
Just as homeowners insurance covers musical instruments, so too does renters insurance. This works in much the same way as a homeowners policy, wherein coverage is provided up to a certain limit. To increase the amount of coverage, you can schedule an item up to its value. It’s likely that you will need to either provide receipts for this item or otherwise have the instrument appraised.
Lemonade offers affordable, ample coverage options for most types of instruments through its renter insurance policies, making it easy to add a scheduled endorsement for your musical instruments, electronics and more. Click the button below to customize your renters coverage with Lemonade.
Computers have made studio technology far more affordable and accessible to the average consumer. Instead of having to house a behemoth Neve mixing console in your home, the average musician can now record, mix and master their songs on a simple laptop. However, recording equipment can still be quite expensive, so you’ll want to make sure that your gear is properly covered.
Most recording gear cannot be scheduled as an endorsement by many companies, as insurers typically reserve that for musical instruments. If your studio is decked out with vintage compressors or other rare and valuable gear, you may want to consider one of the stand-alone policies discussed above.
The location of your studio
The location of your home studio is also an important consideration. If your home studio is in a building separate from your primary dwelling (such as an unattached garage or specially designed shed) you should ensure that your other dwelling coverage limits are set at a high enough limit to cover it should it be damaged or destroyed.
Be aware that other structures are typically only insured at up to 10% of your primary dwelling. This means that a policy with a dwelling limit of $200,000 would only include up to $20,000 available to rebuild or repair your studio structure. If you’ve had a custom-built backyard studio constructed, it’s highly unlikely $20,000 will be sufficient. Increasing your primary dwelling limit will automatically increase your other structures coverage.
Furthermore, any sort of custom construction done to your home — such as acoustic treatments — should be reported to your insurance company to ensure they are covered.
Is your music studio a business?
You will likely need a commercial policy if you are regularly conducting business on your property. Some homeowners endorsements allow for extended business coverage, so it may be worth asking your current insurance agent.
If you have regular guests (musical groups, singers, instrumentalists) coming to your studio, a commercial policy will certainly be worth considering, especially if they are paying you to record them. Having guests on your property poses certain liability risks that commercial policies are much better equipped to handle. Should they have an accident while in your studio or elsewhere on your property, you could be held liable for injuries or damage to their property.
Hopefully, you won’t have a similar situation to the violinist who had a priceless Stradivarius stolen while he was in a sandwich shop. But even if your instruments aren’t as valuable as a Stradivarius or a Steinway, you still want them to be covered. Musical instrument insurance is a good way to keep your items protected, whether through your homeowners policy, a scheduled endorsement, or a standalone musical instrument policy.
If you are concerned about the effect that this additional coverage will have on your annual premium, consider searching for a new policy altogether. The Zebra can help by allowing you to compare insurance quotes side-by-side so that you can find the best rates. Enter your ZIP code below to get started.
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