V.com weekend vote: Do you have instrument insurance?

December 8, 2019, 9:17 PM · What happens if your violin gets damaged in an accident, or heaven forbid, stolen?

protect my violin

It's something that has been on my mind this week, with the story about the University of Wisconsin student's violin, which was stolen from a locked locker over Thanksgiving break.

Even with insurance, nothing can replace a valuable violin that has the voice you love. But if you have insurance (she did), at least you can seek another instrument that is somewhere close to the same price range. (Though if it has appreciated, you might have trouble claiming its value without an updated appraisal).

When I first bought my current violin, I realized that I would need insurance, and it felt like a pretty big deal, getting the appraisal and getting it all set up. But I'm very glad to have it.

Some people get insurance through their homeowner's or renter's insurance. I'm not sure if this works for every situation; for example, a musician who earns part of his or her living playing or teaching the violin may need another kind of policy. The same is true for a collector who has an instrument with extremely high value. For those situations, you may need designated instrument insurance.

What is your experience with insuring your instrument? Do you have insurance? Is it something you've been meaning to do, but just haven't done? If you have it, what company or policy do you use? Have you ever had to make a claim? Was your claim covered as expected? Please participate in the vote and then share any experience you have, insuring your instrument and using that insurance.

Replies

December 9, 2019 at 04:02 AM · I have insurance on my instruments via homeowner's insurance. However, it is void if I'm playing for payment.

December 9, 2019 at 04:11 AM · My employer (professional orchestra) provides instrument insurance as part of our benefits package.

December 9, 2019 at 12:00 PM · Yes, through homeowner's insurance, since I don't play professionally. Never had to make a claim so far.

December 9, 2019 at 01:52 PM · I have insurance through my homeowner’s insurance policy (Liberty Mutual). They specifically listed the instrument as covered by the policy and required that I provide proof of its value via a receipt from the maker. The additional premium for covering the instrument was quite reasonable. The instrument is covered both at home and during travel. I do not play professionally. No experience with claims, thankfully.

December 9, 2019 at 03:22 PM · Long time professionals. We have a number of different instruments insured through Huntington Block. When it was Mertz-Huber, we did have a violin bow claim once when it was damaged while shipping. There was no problem during the claim process.

December 9, 2019 at 03:39 PM · I have it through employer. #clarion

December 9, 2019 at 03:39 PM · I have it through employer. #clarion

December 9, 2019 at 04:15 PM · I use Heritage and got many instruments (and electronic music gear!) insured for very little, given the cost of what I'm insuring. The decision was precipitated by one of our children learning the cello, which seems to be an accident-prone instrument based on my online research.

December 9, 2019 at 07:00 PM · Yes, I have specific instrument insurance on all my instruments. It's super important, I recently wrote an article on instrument insurance here: https://adbowsllc.com/2019/12/01/stringed-instrument-insurance/

December 9, 2019 at 09:08 PM · Like other amateurs, through my homeowners policy. Honestly, my instrument has more sentimental value than market value. Losing it would be a heartache but replacing it with as instrument of equal market value would be inexpensive. Since the insurance companies don't insure for sentimental value...

December 9, 2019 at 09:16 PM · We have to supply our own insurance in our professional orchestra.I had Huntington in the States but have been informed that they no longer insure Canadian musicians.

There is Western Financial out West in Alberta but Im still shopping around.

December 9, 2019 at 09:54 PM · As a complete aside, is there a back story to the title photo? It looks like a modern violin restrung as a (medieval?) 3-stringer, with a baroque bow.

Getting back on track, like George my instruments are covered by household insurance.

December 10, 2019 at 04:22 AM · Homeowners (Allstate). Covers theft and mysterious disappearance but not damage. Covers disappearance from my vehicle. Does not matter if I am playing a paying gig (at least I think so). I contacted Clarion and had good discussions with an agent there, but they do not cover mysterious disappearance. On the other hand they cover damage, which I do not think my homeowner's rider covers. I'm most concerned about theft, frankly.

The line between theft and mysterious disappearance appears to be a pretty fine one -- one that insurance agents are not able to explain very well. But the practical difference is that a theft needs to be reported promptly to local authorities, and they determine whether or not a theft occurred. For example if you lose your violin from your home and there's no evidence of forced entry, is that theft? An insurance agent said that if I left my violin in a restaurant, returned an hour later, and it's not there, then that's mysterious disappearance. A lawyer I know said it's theft because someone obviously took it.

December 11, 2019 at 11:12 PM · Trevor Jennings, the painting is "Bohemeinne, 1890, oil on canvas, 42 X 59, painted by Adolphe-William Bouguereau (French)

December 11, 2019 at 11:19 PM · I'm in UK, and followed my then luthiers' advice and insured with British Reserve's specific musical instrument policy (now taken over by Allianz). It was good news, when I had to have an instrument repaired by a later luthier, Ealing Strings, that the insurance included damage.

December 12, 2019 at 02:10 AM · Here in Australia I use EBM. I pay a reduced premium because I'm not covered for leaving it in the car, so when I'm out and about and need to pop into the shops, my baby comes with me on my back. I was once asked to open my case in the supermarket because they "have to check in all bags to reduce theft". I know that's not actually a violation of my privacy, but it felt like one...

December 12, 2019 at 02:54 PM · I have Clarion, and had a great experience with them last summer in covering a large repair on my instrument. They were kind, easy to work with, & sent the payment to the luthier promptly. Highly recommend this company!

December 12, 2019 at 04:26 PM · I don't even know were to look for an instrument insurance.

My best violin is worth ca. $1500, so I don't know if I really need an specific insurance.

December 14, 2019 at 04:24 AM · I have my viola, case and bow insured through Clarion. As of today's date, I have had no reason to make a claim.

December 14, 2019 at 08:09 PM · Beware; insurance based on general homeowner's coverage is, I think, a mockery. For starters, there is usually a large deductible - often larger than the value of your instrument. However, even where your instrument may be partially covered the insurance company can simply raise your rate to recover the outlay.

I am covered through my homeowners but the instrument is listed as a separate item. Thus, there is an additional premium. I was REALLY glad I did this because my violin was destroyed in a simple accident due to falling off a stand (yes it DOES happen). The company was terrific and reimbursed me for its full value. I now have a 'new' violin - and it is likewise covered.

Thus, if you have an instrument that is a large outlay ('large' depends on your circumstances really) I do suggest that you cover it separately.

December 14, 2019 at 11:57 PM · I would say, since most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, anything around the thousand dollar mark should be insured. Most Americans can't even afford a four hundred dollar emergency so replacing an instrument worth three times that and up would be a real hardship, and might stop someone from playing altogether. It's usually around 75 dollars for an appraisal and another 80 for insurance, so it might well be worth it. Better safe than sorry, I always say.

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