I would like to insure my musical instruments.
September 2, 2011 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I would like to insure my musical instruments.

I have a number of stringed instruments. Nothing super-valuable but I would be hard-pressed to replace them, especially if anything happened to them all at once. I have asked insurers over the years about getting coverage specifically for my instruments above and beyond basic renters/homeowners, and I never get any further than the question, "Do you ever play them professionally?" because while I am not a professional musician, I do occasionally land a paying gig... as soon as I say this, mainstream insurers get all squirrelly and say they can't help me, but they never have any idea who I should talk to either.

I just had a cigar box uke stolen out a vehicle in my driveway. It was of no value in and of itself (other than personal sentimental value; it was the first somewhat playable instrument I ever built. It was even featured on the Blue some years back!) but there's nothing like that fresh burglary feeling to get a person paranoid.

Can anyone recommend a company that offers policies specifically for musical instruments for "professional" musicians? (Or who to avoid, for that matter.) Bonus points for positive claims experiences. I have no idea what to expect cost-wise, but cost is not my first consideration; I'd much rather pay a little bit more to a company that will actually honor a claim fairly and without hassle than go with a cut-rate outfit.
posted by usonian to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Go to your local nice guitar shop and they'll give you good recs.
posted by resurrexit at 12:56 PM on September 2, 2011

I've used Music Pro for years but haven't yet had to make a claim.
posted by dr. fresh at 12:59 PM on September 2, 2011

I work for San Francisco Opera. We use Merz-Huber.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:06 PM on September 2, 2011

I recently got a policy with Liberty Mutual. I added on some extra coverage for my viola and bow which around around $10,000 together, and they didn't seem to have any problem with it...
Didn't mention that I played professionally occasionally, but they didn't ask.

I think if you are looking for some sort of a "loss of work" claim through the insurance it would change things, but if you are just looking at the value of the instrument, I would encourage you to try LiMu and just be up front about the value of your instrument.
posted by aloiv2 at 1:08 PM on September 2, 2011

Which country are you in? There are plenty of instrument insurance specialists but can only really help you if we know your country of residence. (I can advise for companies in Australia, the UK or France!)
posted by jujulalia at 1:14 PM on September 2, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the recommendations so far everyone! And good point jujulalia - I'm in Massachusetts, USA. Maybe the "professional" question is a Massachusetts thing; it's pretty much the first question that always comes up. I'm not looking for loss of work coverage, at least not yet, just replacement cost.
posted by usonian at 1:29 PM on September 2, 2011

I know a bunch of people who use Merz-Huber to insure their violins. You can get a discount if you are member of ASTA. If you find the discount worth it, you can join even if you're not a string teacher.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:46 PM on September 2, 2011

You can also try your closest musician's union. They'll have very good referrals.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 2:05 PM on September 2, 2011

Clarion Insurance is the agency that the American Federation of Musicians points its members to. They are extremely reasonable and offer pretty good coverage. I don't know if you need to be a union member but I don't think so.
posted by range at 8:00 PM on September 2, 2011

I've also used Music Pro for years and filed a claim a few months ago. The process was quick and easy and the check arrived within a few weeks. I would happily recommend them to anyone.
posted by platinum at 11:00 PM on September 2, 2011

With my renters insurance - now homeowners insurance - I have an extra policy that specifically covers a couple brass instruments I own. The serial numbers and make/model of the instruments are registered with the policy. I think it adds $2-4 a month onto my existing policy. I think this a pretty common option for renters/homeowners insurance. My company is USAA.
posted by bendy at 3:24 PM on September 3, 2011

On a closer read of the question I see my answer may not apply - I've never been or claimed to be a professional musician. Sorry.
posted by bendy at 3:26 PM on September 3, 2011

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