Music for a lifetime: Educating musicians to create a better world

Insuring Your Instruments

You can't imagine your life without it; it's an extension of who you are, it's your creative voice, it's your dearest companion and it's more important to you than anything else in the world. This wonderful entity is your beloved instrument. It doesn't matter what it cost, it only matters what it means to you. But to protect yourself, instrument insurance is a necessity. Here are some steps to help you in your search:

First: You must have your instrument appraised by a reputable appraiser. Most dealers, auction houses, instrument makers are qualified. The value that is stated in a written appraisal is the amount of money you will be compensated to replace your current instrument. Good appraisers will usually include a 10 -15% increase in the instrument's value. There is usually a moderate fee (usually $35 - $75.00) for a written appraisal. In addition, if you want to insure your bows, case, or anything else of value (highly recommended), be sure to have the appraiser include those items in the written appraisal.

Now you ask, who will insure my instrument? If your instrument is valued at less than $5000.00 and /or you are a student, your homeowner's insurance might cover it. However, check this out carefully. Be sure that they will insure the instrument OUTSIDE of the home. Some companies do this easily, some add a special clause to your existing policy, and some will refuse. Most accidents, thefts, etc. occur outside of the home. Some homeowners policies will also not cover your instrument if you are being paid for your services when the damage or loss occurs. It is important to be certain that your instrument is covered everywhere in the world. Otherwise, the policy is basically worthless.

If your instrument is worth more that $5000.00, or you play professionally, you should definitely have a separate individual instrument policy from a reputable company. The best solution is to find a company with an “all-inclusive/all-risk” policy. Read the fine print: perhaps acts of war and natural wear and tear are not covered. But, if you live in a flood zone, you might want to make sure that is covered.

This is a brief summary of the process of insuring your instrument. Please ask many questions and investigate all of your options carefully. If you choose wisely, your instrument (and you!) should be protected fully and completely.

The following is a short list of reputable companies that can help you find a policy that meets your individual needs:

Clarion Associates, Inc.
Musical Instrument Insurance
35 Arkay Dr. # 400
Hauppauge NY 11788
PHONE: 800-Vivaldi or 631-435-4500

Merz-Huber Company
630 Fairview Road, Suite 200
Swarthmore, PA 19081Phone: 610-544-2323
Fax: 610-544-8286

Total Dollar Management Effort, Ltd.
325 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 800-962-5659 or 212-689-4477
Fax: 212-685-9268

-- Patty Plombon