Finding the right insurance for your band or performing group is an important step in protecting your business and achieving long-term success.
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Playing in a band or as a solo musician can be rewarding, but it’s important to be aware of the risks that could affect you when performing for hire. Accidental property damage, an injured attendee, or valuable equipment damaged in transit can result in high costs for your performing group. Purchasing appropriate insurance can help your group feel secure, knowing that you will be financially protected if an incident occurs—and many venues and events will require you to have coverage as well.
What insurance coverage do I need as a musician?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to bands and musicians:
Inland marine insurance provides financial protection for your business property that does not remain at a fixed location. Since bands and musicians transport equipment such as musical instruments, sound and lighting equipment, amplifiers, stage decorations, and other items from venue to venue, this is a crucial coverage. If valuable property is stolen or damaged by an auto collision, fire, during air travel, or by another peril, inland marine insurance will provide funds to cover the loss.
- Someone steals your band’s van with all your musical instruments and equipment in it. Your inland marine insurance would cover the value of the stolen equipment.
Professional liability insurance can protect you from allegations of mistakes or negligence in your professional work. As a band or musician, venues and clients could lose money if you fail to perform as contracted—and you could be sued. Even if circumstances outside your control caused you to be unable to play, you could find yourself dealing with a costly lawsuit. Professional liability insurance can provide funds for legal fees and settlements, whether or not you were at fault.
- You are hired to play a venue and during the set, part of the stage collapses, injuring members of the audience. The venue managers claim they cautioned your band against playing before the stage had been inspected for the show and allege that your band insisted on playing without the inspection. The venue sues your group for negligence. Professional liability insurance would cover the lawsuit.
Commercial property insurance can protect the value of your business property if it is damaged by a covered peril such as windstorms, hail, fire, vandalism, or water damage. This coverage is particularly important for musicians who operate out of a recording studio or have expensive recording equipment, musical instruments, amplifiers, and other items.
Since many bands and musicians keep instruments and equipment at their homes, it’s important to be aware that homeowners or renters policies have coverage limits for items like musical instruments, which means that you may not receive reimbursement for the full value of the items if they are damaged or destroyed.
- A fire at your home destroys several expensive guitars, keyboards, recording equipment, and amplifiers in your home recording studio. The limits of your homeowners insurance policy are not sufficient to cover these items, but luckily you have commercial property insurance to cover the loss.
General liability insurance covers third-party property damage, bodily injury, personal injury, and advertising injury. Bands and musicians play at a wide variety of locations; if you damage equipment or property at a venue, you could be held liable.
There’s also a risk that an attendee of your concert may be injured or have property damaged during one of your concerts. Although the venue you play in could be held liable for property damage or bodily injury that occurs during one of your shows, it’s important to be aware that you could be named in a lawsuit as well. In addition, bands that own recording studios must protect against the possibility that someone could be injured on the premises.
General liability insurance can step in to protect you, providing funds for medical payments, legal fees, and settlements related to claims of bodily injury or property damage. General liability policies also include a personal and advertising injury component, which provides coverage for a number of non-physical injuries, including libel, slander, and copyright infringement.
- Bodily injury: While moving equipment, you accidentally lose control of a hand cart, which rolls into a passerby and causes her to fall. Her elbow turns out to be fractured and requires medical attention. Your general liability insurance would pay for her medical expenses and for your legal costs if the passerby decides to sue.
- Property damage: You’re playing a private party at a wealthy fan’s home when one of your band members spills red wine onto an expensive carpet. Your general liability insurance would cover the damages.
- Personal and advertising injury: During an interview, one of your band members makes a number of disparaging comments about a music promoter. The promoter sues for slander. Your general liability insurance would cover the lawsuit.
A business owner’s policy can be a convenient and cost-effective way for musicians and bands to obtain insurance coverage for a number of risks. This type of policy provides coverage for key property and liability risks that most businesses face, including general liability, commercial property, business income, and extra expense coverage. Buying a business owner’s policy can help you save money on premiums, as the cost is typically lower than purchasing each coverage separately. It may be possible to add additional coverages, such as professional liability, by endorsement, and some insurers offer insurance policies specifically designed for bands and musicians, combining general liability and professional liability coverage.
- Workers’ compensation insurance is legally required for companies with employees in most states. It covers the medical expenses and lost income of employees who are injured or fall ill while working. You may not need this coverage if no one involved with your band qualifies as an employee, but it’s important to check with your state regulations to ensure that you are in compliance, as there can be severe fines and penalties for failing to secure appropriate coverage.
- Commercial crime insurance provides financial protection from losses caused by theft, fraud, robbery, burglary, forgery, or other crimes. Coverage applies both to crimes committed by outside parties and crimes committed by your own employees. This may be necessary for bands that sell merchandise or recordings for cash or rely on employees who pay for expenses and take payments for the band.
- If you own or lease vehicles in your business’s name, commercial auto insurance is an important coverage to purchase. This insurance type can protect against liability and property damage in the event of a car crash, and it can also protect the value of your business vehicles.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for business insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a band with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for musicians, bands, and performing groups:
|Provider||Business Interruption||Business Owner's Policy||Commercial Auto||Commercial Crime||Commercial Property||Cyber Liability||Employment Practices Liability||General Liability||Product Liability||Professional Liability||Workers' Compensation|
Bands and musicians face many risks that arise in the course of their work. It’s a good idea to make sure you have appropriate business insurance in place in case an accident occurs. With the financial support insurance can provide, you can feel confident that you won’t be financially devastated by unpredictable events.