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Insuring Your Gear

Q: I recently had a stolen instrument scare. It got me wondering, what do you and other working professionals do? With all your traveling, I’m sure it’s a small worry in the back of your mind. What do you use to ensure the safety of your gear? Do you have instrument specific insurance or some other option? I think a lot of people believe that their home owner’s or renter’s insurance covers their stuff, but that isn’t always the case!

A: Good question! (And I’m glad to hear that your stolen instrument scare was only a scare and not the real thing!)

You’re right, most times, home owner’s insurance (or renter’s insurance) only covers your gear while it’s at the house. Mine, for example, will not cover any gear once it’s left the house for any kind of work purpose.

Insuring your gear is not only smart to cover against theft but also damage. I’m actually usually more concerned about what any given airline may do to my gear, especially when I have to check a pedal board or some such thing underneath the plane or gate check my bass because the plane is too full, too small or the crew is too unsympathetic.

I did some research years ago when I was first looking and found that there are quite a few companies that will insure your gear. Search for companies who specialize in instrument insurance. In my case, I went with a company that specializes in instruments, up to and including classical instruments costing over a million dollars. I suggest you talk with a representative for each company on your prospect list. Compare not only their rates, but also their policies. For example, ask them how they deal with an ever-changing list of gear, as you’ll want to be able to add new gear (and remove them too) as time goes on.

I personally insure about $20,000 worth of gear and it only costs me $160 a year. Because it’s so cheap, I’ve wound up insuring most everything that leaves my house for a gig, including every pedal, bass, rack case, flight case and so on.

For 13 bucks a month, it’s hard to buy that kind of piece of mind for that little these days.

I highly encourage you to investigate your options and insure your gear, and especially if you travel by plane or by van and trailer… nothing beats up your gear like the cargo hold of a plane, the people handling it or a trailer on a bumpy road.

Even if you only gig once a month in your home town. All you need is one thing stolen and the insurance would’ve paid for itself and then some.