Are You Insured?
How To Avoid Losing Everything
Theft from your home or from a gig could leave you with no way of replacing valuable equipment. Zenon Schoepe explains how to keep yourself covered.
As anyone who has ever had anything stolen from them will testify, the feeling that lingers after the realisation that you have been robbed is among the foulest in a human being's repertoire of emotions. The tingle of disbelief that runs up your spine as you stare at the vacuum previously occupied by your possession(s) gradually breaks into a genuine sorrow of loss, and then into full-blown anger as your mind struggles to grasp the bare-faced cheek of the thief who has infiltrated your world and taken something that you worked and saved for. The only feeling that even begins to get close to this cocktail of emotions is the gut-tightening nausea of coming to terms with the fact that you weren't insured.
Musical instruments are precious things, more precious to the musician than their price list value would suggest. While it is true to say that you can bulk dump your customised patches and load them into another example of the same model of keyboard without too much trauma, umbilical attachment to organic instruments like guitars and inanimate objects like modules and amps is inevitable in a musician's life. I still promise to break both arms of the chap who half-inched my first guitar amp from the repair shop in 1977.
Insurance is the only real contingency you can take if you have any gear at all. While it is unlikely to stop you from frothing at the mouth every time the subject of theft is broached, it does make you a little less bitter and easier to reason with. Anyone with half a brain has household insurance, and this can normally be extended to cover musical equipment provided it is only used on a purely amateur basis. Once you start earning money from your musical endeavours you will require a specialist insurance policy.
Hencilla-Canworth ((Contact Details)) deals with many name bands, and is one of the oldest insurance companies in Britain dealing with the niche market of musical equipment insurance. MD Dudley Parker explains:
"You needn't pay an awful lot more for a dedicated musical instruments' policy, particularly if it's for a modest home studio in your home. The reason you pay more once you start to travel is because your exposure is greater, and this cover gets more expensive as you move further afield."
Remember that there is an 'excess' figure in any insurance policy, which means that the first £75, say, of every claim is absorbed by you to cover all the carrier bags of leads, tobacco tins of used strings and picks that are always the first things to go walkies at a gig.
A representative insurance rate for UK pro use through Hencilla-Canworth weighs in at 2.5% of the sum insured, which will drop over the years provided there are no claims, and there's a minimum premium of £50 (giving £2000 of cover).
"To be fair about it," concludes Parker, "if you are purely amateur and your equipment isn't very high in value, extending your household insurance is a perfectly adequate means of cover. Otherwise don't take the chance."
"The only thing worse than the realisation that you have been robbed is coming to terms with the fact that you weren't insured"
• Get insured. Period.
• Admit to being an amateur if you are — an extension to household insurance will suffice if you play at the old people's home on Sundays or have a private home studio set up.
• Admit to being a semi-pro or pro if you are — even if you don't make enough to cover the petrol, do you really want the hassle when you make a claim?
• Don't take insurance companies for mugs — they can spot a non-amateur by the claim.
• Be realistic about how much you insure your kit for — don't under or over-insure. Everyone knows how much a DW8000 is really worth these days.
• Review your list of insured items regularly — if you're gigging with the first, and as yet uninsured, Korg 03R/W in town, it's probably been noticed by the local tea leaves too.
The SOS Guide To Going Live
Feature by Zenon Schoepe
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