Instrument insurance question
Hi everyone, a question about instrument insurance: how do you decide to purchase musical instrument insurance for your instrument? Is it based on a value threshold or some other factor? Also, for those with experience, how do you handle insurance for the bow and case as well? Thanks for the input....Ken
Having spent a considerable amount recently on the repair of my beloved violin (it was not insured), I would say it is worth it for peace of mind, even for lower priced instruments worth several thousands, though perhaps nothing too cheap or easily replaced will be worth it. Fine, expert repairs are not inexpensive, and unless you are ready to abandon your old instrument for a new one should an accident happen, the insurance will make it just a temporary inconvenience. $200-$250 isn't that much all things considered, and especially if you love your current instrument (plus most good music instrument insurance provide plenty of coverage for all sort of real-life mishaps.)
The general rule amongst insurance companies in the US is that anything valued above $5,000, needs to be inspected by a professional appraiser of instruments and bows (you can’t self appraise for legal reasons). A knowledgeable specialist will inspect your instrument or bow’s condition and its provenance. They will also look at the fair market value of the instrument maker/bow maker and determine an appropriate appraisal amount to present to the insurance company for coverage. For any item $5,000 and below, you can simply tell the insurance company you’d like to insure a bow for $4,999 yourself (without appraisal). Most dealers and auction houses will write you a free appraisal if you purchased an instrument or bow from them.
You can normally cover your violin and bow using your homeowner's or renter's insurance; no extra charge, just part of the value of the goods in your home.
Thank you for the responses so far, I find it helpful.
The insurance is not that bad, cost wise. I use heritage which is what the many people in town use. I insured all of our family’s instruments (several violins and guitars, amplifiers and effects pedals, clarinets, etc).
Choosing insurance for an instrument depends on the amount you’re willing to pay out of pocket to replace and on the intended use of the instrument. If your violin is generally used at home and the value isn’t too high, a homeowner’s policy will likely be able to cover it, as suggested already. You do need to provide documentation to justify its value to satisfy the insurer. The bow and case can be covered as well as long as they’re also appraised professionally. Above a certain limit (the parameters may vary between insurers), you might need to pay a nominal rider fee.
Read the small print.
Went with Anderson after being with Clarion. 3 year policy was about $300 after joining ACMP. Covers bow and violin, don't care about case value. Well worth it, but hopefully never use it.
Update - I was on their "Natural" (amateur - limited) policy. Now, at no extra charge (apart from £10 for the Breton), I am on their "Harmonic" (unlimited professional) policy.
Musical instrument insurance is maddening. Our homeowners insurance (Allstate; policy rider) will cover theft and mysterious disappearance. That is primarily what concerns us, so that's what we went with.
I recently got an insurance policy with Clarion for 2 violins, 2 bows, and a Musafia case. After I submitted my official appraisals from the maker of one of the violins and a luthier for the other one (and bows), the process was quick, easy, and seamless. $260 a year :)
Paul, I did not realize that about the theft with Clarion, now I'm concerned :(
@Paul: "Our homeowners insurance...will cover theft and mysterious disappearance."
Gordon yes as long as it's the violin and not the violinist.
It sounds simple to say that you should go with an insurer that will repair your violin if you drop it. But one that will not replace your instrument if you leave it in a cab or a restaurant or the hallway at your gig, unless the police determine that there was a theft with B&E? Allstate will do that, Clarion will not -- as far as I understood their policy and my discussion with their agent. So I had to ask myself: Which is the greater threat to my wallet? And being somewhat forgetful and frequently rushed, I went with Allstate to cover both theft and mysterious disappearance.
I agree, it is difficult to decide who and what but if we did a poll of who has dropped and damaged their violin vs who has left their instrument on the train, plane or automobile, I am guessing that almost all of us have dropped, banged or smacked an instrument inadventently, but very few have left their Montagnana in the trunk of a taxi, or the equivalent.
I have Clarion for all of our instruments. The cost for a lot of coverage is surprisingly economical, and it is definitely worth the peace of mind.
Duane, I agree that it's quite possible I've evaluated risk incorrectly. You do make a compelling case on that account. I just don't understand why NO insurer will cover EVERYTHING. Do they just assume that we can't or won't pay the premium? How much more would Clarion need to charge to cover mysterious disappearance? The fact that they won't cover it -- maybe THEY know something that is not apparent from your polling data after all?
My guess is the potential for fraud with mysterious disappearance is pretty high, if you have a police report, that's different.
Yes that occurred to me, too, Lyndon. It's reasonable.
Paul, a sage Economics professor once told us that banks are institutions designed to make money with our money, they are not our friends. Insurance companies are designed to make money, the adjustors are trained to give up as little as possible. I have a friend who is an Actuary. He explained things like this to me some years ago, and didn't understand the maths (he was a Fulbright in Math...) but it is complex, complicated and geared toward minimizing risk. Their risk, not our risk.
What you are paying for is peace of mind that your investment in your instruments is secure. I didn't bother with insurance until about 30 years ago. We were on a break, I was still in my chair, my instrument (bassoon) was safely in its stand, and the horn player on the riser behind me knocked his music stand off the riser into my instrument. I barely caught it before it fell to the lower riser in front of me. I got insurance for everyones instruments after that. You need an "All Risk" policy. Total Dollar offers excellent coverage. Also, Huntington T Block (formerly Mertz-Huber) offers excellent coverage. We have many string instruments/bows insured with Huntington, who also gives a discount to ASTA members. We've only had to make one claim in many years. Bow tip broke while shipping for a rehair. Mertz paid with no problems encountered along the process.
No insurance company will cover "mysterious disappearance."
It's not true. Allstate covers it.
I talk about insurance and some things to think about in this article: https://adbowsllc.com/2019/12/01/stringed-instrument-insurance/
People do accidentally forget valuable instruments. I recall Rachel Barton Pine leaving her Amati in the back of a taxicab at one point.
Lydia suggested (and others chimed in) " You can normally cover your violin and bow using your homeowner's or renter's insurance; no extra charge, just part of the value of the goods in your home."
Lots of home insurance policies also expressly exclude musical instruments. Pianos are still covered, generally, because they are considered furniture, and they're more easily evaluated (you just buy another one of the same model, so they're fungible). Generally, rarities like violins, fine art, valuable stamp collections, and the like should be protected by riders.