Do you need guitar insurance? What happens if the unthinkable happens and your guitar or equipment is damaged? Can you afford to repair the damage?
I must admit it is not something I have ever thought about. Thankfully, because none of my guitars have ever been damaged, I have never been faced with a hefty repair bill. However, you can never predict when an accident may occur, which causes significant damage to your prized guitar. You are then faced with a predicament of how to fund a repair. For most of us we feel re-assured in the knowledge that our home contents insurance policy will cover our guitar should the unthinkable happen. However, you may be alarmed to find out that your guitar is not actually covered.
As I mentioned above guitar insurance is not something that I have ever considered before but a story that I heard from a friend brought the question of guitar insurance into sharp perspective. My friends experience started when he left his rather expensive guitar propped precariously against a chair. Now we all know that this short story is not going to end well! Needless to say the inevitable happened, the guitar fell over, and the neck broke at the headstock. Said friend, apart from being a trifle annoyed, thought that this would not be an issue as his guitar would be covered under his home contents insurance policy. A short phone call to his home insurance provider demonstrated, rather disastrously, that his re-assurance was misplaced. He found that the insurer classed his guitar as a high value, high risk item and therefore it was not covered under his existing home contents policy. He was then faced with a not insignificant bill to fix the damage to his guitar which he had to pay for out of his own pocket.
So how do you find out if your guitar is insured?
The easiest way to find out whether you have guitar insurance is to simply phone your insurance provider and ask the question. Many policies do in fact cover guitars. I discovered, by giving my insurer a call that my guitars were, as they were not particularly high value. However, you may find that when you are arranging your home contents insurance policy it is best to declare up front the value of your guitars and equipment so that the insurer can decide if they are classed as high risk. Different insurers will view musical instruments in different ways especially if they are of a high value. If you are talking about a guitar worth less than £500 then many policies will cover them. But if you are talking more than £1000 then it is worth checking.
One other thing that is critical to consider is if you use your guitars at gigs or in another professional capacity. Although many home contents insurance policies cover possessions outside of the house for transport purposes you may find that you are not covered if you are gigging, practising in a band room or busking for example. Therefore if you are a gigging guitarist you would need to mention this to your insurer as they might not provide cover.
If your current insurer won’t provide cover what are the options for guitar insurance?
There are specialist insurance providers who will provide cover for musical instruments and these might be worth considering as they can provide greater level of security.
An internet search for the term “guitar insurance” returns a number of results for providers of insurance cover tailored for musicians.
The 4 main providers of specialist guitar insurance that I looked at were Music Guard, Insure 4 Music, Allianz and E&L. I wanted to look at some main stream insurance providers as well as more niche providers to get an idea of how they compare.
I did a quick quote for each insurance provider where I looked for insurance for a guitar worth £1000 to be covered in a home location as well as when taken out of the home. The insurance included in car protection and didn’t include a voluntary excess. Finally, if you are a professional musician I have included public liability and personal injury cover as a comparison. These quotes are for illustrative purposes only to provide an idea of typical policies as well as cost.
So let’s look at the various quotes that I received from the 4 providers.
Musicguard, as the name suggest, is a specialist insurance provider for owners of music equipment. They have been providing specialist music equipment insurance since 1997 and insure £60 million of instruments and equipment for thousands of musicians.
Musicguard policy – £53.79 per year. Policy includes full cover if instruments are taken away from insured location, in vehicle cover, £1 million public liability, £10,000 personal accident and no voluntary excess.
Insure 4 Music is a relatively new specialist provider of music insurance. They are part of the JRW Group which is the UKs leading niche insurer.
Insure 4 Music £71.00. Policy includes full cover if instruments are taken away from insured location, £1 million public liability, £10,000 personal accident and no voluntary excess.
Allianz is a major European financial services company based in Germany. As well as offering general car and home insurance policies they also provide niche insurance which includes covering music equipment.
Allianz £69.32. Policy includes full cover if instruments are taken away from insured location, in vehicle cover, £1 million public liability, £10,000 personal accident and no voluntary excess but excess of £250 on public liability and personal accident.
E&L like Musicguard and Insure 4 Music is a specialist insurance provider. E&L is the trading name of the Equine and Livestock Insurance Company, which gives you a hint about its roots, has been in business for over 70 years. As well as specialist insurance cover for livestock E&L also provide music cover.
E&L – £37.46. Policy includes full cover if instruments are taken away from insured location, in vehicle cover as long as instrument is in a secure boot, £1 million public liability, £7500 personal accident but the policy included an excess of £110 on all claims apart from public liability claims where the excess was £160.
Just from this small exercise it is clear that there was quite a spread of prices for guitar insurance. As to which provider is best that is a difficult question to answer. It is difficult to compare like for like as each policy had slightly different wording as to what was and was not covered. In the end it boils down to what you are willing to pay and whether you are happy with the reputation of the company providing the insurance.
Deciding on whether to purchase guitar insurance is a difficult choice. Before you do it is worth going through the checklist below and if your guitar is not covered on your home contents insurance policy then consider going for a bespoke policy.
So to summarise:
- Check that your guitars are covered under your home contents insurance policy.
- Give your insurance provider an accurate value of your guitars and equipment.
- Ask if the policy covers your guitar for burglary, fire, accidental damage.
- If you are likely to take your guitars out of your home check that they are covered. For example if you are a student whose guitar is covered under your parent’s home contents insurance policy you may find that this does not cover your guitar in your student accommodation. It is also worth checking if you take your guitar out of your house to attend guitar lessons.
- Check that the policy covers your guitars if you use them for gigging.
- If you are a professional musician it is likely that you will need a separate policy.
- Get everything confirmed in writing and always check the fine print!
Let us know what you think. Have you ever had a guitar insurance disaster? Do you think guitar insurance is worth it and which insurer would you recommend?