Instrument insurance?

September 24, 2017, 4:20 AM · After a near-miss accident on the train this past week, I'm thinking it's time to purchase insurance for my violin. I'm not a professional and have no intention of becoming one, but this instrument is THE most expensive thing I own.

Any advice on who to purchase a policy from? Horror stories too?

Thanks in advance!

Replies (18)

September 24, 2017, 4:43 AM · I highly recommend doing so, had the absolut worst case once and the money a few days after it. I could not get restored but I was able to buy a new instrument, it was well above 10k the insurance company payed without hesetating. Mannheimer is my insurance company currently, I currently got about 40k insurance value and pay $370 per year if I remember correctly.
I know people insured at Harmonia, even a bit cheaper and they seem to be very good too.
I dont have everything insured though, only the stuff I use very regular, so not every bow and my baroque equip is insured via an ensemble.
Both companies I named are located in Germany and I dont know the policy for people living in other countries.
Edited: September 24, 2017, 8:58 AM · OP, you have a student violin, don't you? Add it to your homeowner's insurance policy (or renter's insurance if you have that). My sister had a serious accident with a contemporary violin worth in the $5k range, and homeowner's insurance covered it.

Musical instrument insurance is really designed for higher-end, professional-class instruments and is priced accordingly. In the USA, I think I pay about what triple Marc does, using Clarion, but I'm also carrying a lot more value.

Edited: September 24, 2017, 10:12 AM · Thanks Marc for the response. I live in the US.

@Lydia, I finally upgraded. I have a Klaus Clement now that's a little under $5k. Add the bow and case and the entire outfit is around $6.5k. I'm mostly concerned about accidents and theft outside the home and my RI doesn't cover that.

I'll be renewing and purchasing new policies next month, so I may see how much it costs to add coverage vs buying standalone insurance.

September 24, 2017, 12:57 PM · My sister's mishap was outside the house and the homeowner's policy covered it, at least. Our instruments were explicitly declared in the policy, though.

There are other threads on the dedicated musical insurance companies elsewhere on this forum -- search Clarion and Heritage, for instance.

September 24, 2017, 3:42 PM · I have homeowners and vehicle insurance through Allstate. My violin is covered as a homeowners rider. Musical instruments (except common pianos, which are considered furniture) are generally not covered on an individuals homeowners or renters policy. It was a ten-minute phone call and an email to send the agent some documentation. The violin is fully insured, even in my car. I think I might pay $120 per year for a $14000 valuation. Just the violin is insured. The case and bow are not special, so I don't insure those. I guess I won't know the "value" of this insurance unless something happens to my violin, which so far it hasn't.
September 24, 2017, 6:52 PM · I use Clarion and pay about $140/year for less than $20,000 worth of instruments.
September 25, 2017, 3:48 AM · Be careful about using homeowners insurance if you use your violin professionally. You may get no payout if you claim. I use a specialist firm and my premium is about 2K. My instruments are not insured if left in a car, but why would anyone do that anyway?

Cheers Carlo

Edited: September 25, 2017, 4:43 AM · These are all matters to discuss with one's agent. What I believe would be most useful in a thread like this would be to have the actual names of agencies that people have used, what they pay (perhaps in dollars per year per $100 of insured value), and a list of important questions to ask one's agent.

My instrument is insured if I leave it in my car because first, while valuable, it's not a priceless Italian antique, and second, I actually feel it's safer in my car where it's not visible compared to riding along in a cart with my groceries, and third, people forget things in their car with some regularity even when they swear they'd never do that (e.g., their infant children). Forgetting to remove one's instrument from one's car seems about as likely as forgetting to turn one's bow spinner but that's the reason people say you need a blanket. For an amateur with an instrument in the $5000-25000 range and a busy life I think it's essential the instrument be insured in your car; that's the very first question I asked my agent.

September 25, 2017, 9:21 AM · I use Anderson and have been quite happy with them. I've heard good things about Clarion and Heritage, too, but Anderson ended up offering the best quote. My homeowners' insurance only wanted to give me $2,000 coverage on my main instrument, and only if it never left the house. When I inquired about getting a rider from them, they quoted a much higher premium than Clarion or Anderson. For me, a separate policy for instruments with a specialist company was the way to go.

I think the key is, as others have mentioned, whether you are already adequately covered by homeowners/renters insurance, or if your instrument's value significantly exceeds that coverage, or if you're doing something with it (like going to lessons, rehearsals, performances, etc) that they're not willing to cover.

Edited: September 25, 2017, 11:24 AM · OP, if you have a homeowners or renters policy, just call them and ask if they'll cover it and what you need to do. Then you'll really know.
September 26, 2017, 5:48 PM · @Jennifer, yeah that's my biggest worry about my current RI. They said they won't cover anything that happens outside of the home [per my 2nd post], so purchasing a separate policy is what I'm going to do. I was asking for names of insurers and experiences, but I've looked through older posts and found some.

Thanks for the Anderson mention. I didn't see that in my search.

@Paul yes, names and experiences is what I was looking for. You bring up a good point because I ride public transportation. Once I find an insurer, I'll make sure I ask about this as well. Thanks!

September 26, 2017, 6:04 PM · I use heritage for mine. I believe the annual price was about 150 for about 15k of coverage. I sent the agent a long list of scenarios to make sure they would be covered.
September 26, 2017, 7:59 PM · Even though my violin is only $3800, I do have insurance for it, just in case. The issue is because I've had some (cough cough) serious incidents with my past violins at school where people (stupid tuba players) stepped on it...
September 26, 2017, 8:00 PM · Oh btw it was in my case with a few other people's instruments
September 26, 2017, 8:42 PM · Violin Kiddu;

Why was there an instrument in a location that a tuba player -could- step on it?

September 26, 2017, 9:18 PM · Unfortunately, in many rehearsal rooms, there is not enough space for all violinists to be able to put their case on a safe surface, which results in cases being on the floor during a rehearsal-break and the like.
Edited: September 26, 2017, 9:42 PM · The idea of walking so heavy that one steps on a violin case hard enough to damage the instrument inside makes me cringe..

Maybe I'm just used to apartment living and walking lightly.

Anyway, on topic, I'm mostly interested if the Bon QuiQui followed up with any of the recommendations and how that went.

Edit: Actually, I wonder, will insurance policies cover damage when people do things such as leaving their instruments on chairs and hanging from stands, etc. I'm not sure I would consider this accidental damage as it was only exposed to the risk due to willful negligence. Perhaps similar to expecting your insurance to cover a stolen laptop from your car when the doors weren't locked.

Edited: September 27, 2017, 5:33 AM · I had asked the agent that sold me the policy if it would be covered if someone knocked it off a violin stand or knocked it over and did damage, he said yes. But I've never had to go through a claims process to see how difficult getting a claim paid is.

I know that's a little different than leaving on a chair or hanging from stand but closest I have asked about.

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