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What you should know about insurance for musical instruments

Violin covered by musical instrument insurance

Finely crafted musical instruments can cost a significant amount of money. But just as classic cars and high-end jewelry can be insured, so can musical instruments. By getting an insurance policy, owners can cover their instruments in case they are stolen or damaged from disasters.

Insuring a musical instrument is a good idea if it would be cost-prohibitive to replace it, or if the instrument is needed regularly for performances or teaching. Insurance often covers more than just the actual instrument; it might also cover the case, accessories and even sheet music. Here is a rundown of how you can get insurance for musical instruments.

Homeowners or renter’s insurance

You might not need a separate musical instrument insurance policy to get covered. Musical instruments can be insured under homeowners or renter’s insurance, though it’s important to find out coverage details. These policies have a limit for the home’s total property damage and may have a limit per item. The per-item coverage may be lower than your musical instrument costs. In addition, the homeowners or renter’s policy only covers damaged from “named perils” such as fire and theft, but not flood. One option for enhancing the protection for musical instruments under your home property insurance is to get a rider, sometimes called an endorsement, floater or scheduled personal property. This policy add-on provides additional coverage for specific valuables. A rider may have a lower deductible than the homeowners policy. Such riders usually are “all risk” providing much broader protection than “named perils.”

Also, not all homeowners insurance riders cover instruments for professional musicians, since there’s a higher chance of damage or loss. In that case, a commercial musical instrument policy is advised.

When deciding between musical instrument insurance through your homeowners policy or a specialized policy, here are some considerations. 

Location

If loss of or damage to your instrument occurs outside your home—say, if you’re traveling to another state or country for a performance—is the instrument covered? Musical instrument insurance policies vary on how they handle this.

Value

How much is your instrument worth? Some companies have a maximum insured amount per instrument, which may narrow down coverage options. Also, a commercial, or specialized, musical instrument policy will provide several ways to value the instrument, depending on whether you want to get paid for a claim based on the instrument’s value at the time of the loss, an agreed-upon value determined when purchasing the policy or its replacement value at the time of the loss. A homeowners policy or rider may handle this differently than a specialized policy.

Deductible

Determine what your deductible is for both your homeowners policy and a rider, and compare that to a specialized policy. You’ll also need to take into account the cost of each policy and the coverage details. If the policy’s deductible is higher than the instrument’s value, then the insurance may not be useful. 

Claims staff

Some insurance companies specialize in certain types of instruments. If you have a rare or highly valued instrument, consider working with a company who knows your instrument type well. Claims adjustors will better understand your instrument if there’s a claim.

Additional coverages

Commercial insurance policies have other coverage clauses that may not be available in a homeowners policy or rider. These are aimed at professional musicians who need their instruments for work. This coverage might include business interruption (compensating the insured if his or her instrument is lost or damaged when needed for a paid performance), coverage for borrowed instruments and rental reimbursement if the insured instrument is damaged. 

If you have an instrument, whether it’s a rare, high-value one or a good quality student or amateur instrument, talk to your insurance agent about your options for insuring your instrument. 

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