Review: Musical Instrument Insurance

Sam Gilbert By Sam Gilbert

In this review, we've compared the costs and features of musical instrument insurance policies from the UK's best-known musical insurance companies. Read on to learn about:

1. Insure4Music

A relatively new entrant into the music insurance market, Insure4Music has a simple, mobile-friendly website and online quote process.

Insure4Music doesn't vary prices based on the type of instrument you play, or the kind of musician you are. This means they represent especially good value for DJs, musicians in bands, and anyone looking to insure a bass guitar, electric guitar, drum kit, accordion, or amplifier.

Get a quote at the Insure4Music website.

Other useful features of Insure4Music include the ability to pay monthly at no extra cost, and a lowest price guarantee (where they promise to refund the difference if you find a cheaper quote for the same cover within 14 days of purchase). For professional musicians, Insure4Music can also provide cover for loss of earnings, equipment breakdown, and equipment hire.

When we ran our example quotes for this article, Insure4Music's price for £5,000 of cover, worldwide, with unattended vehicle cover included was £111.65.

You can get a personalised quote at Insure4Music's mobile-friendly website.

2. Allianz Musical Instrument Insurance

Allianz is one of the world's largest insurance companies. Their musical insurance policy will cover any instruments and musical equipment. When applying online, there is £10,000 per instrument limit, and a total limit of £25,000 - but cover for more expensive instruments can be arranged over the phone.

Allianz's prices start from £3 per month.

At the time of our review, Allianz had the cheapest prices for insuring Violin, Cello, Piano, and Bassoon. As a general observation, Allianz's prices are more competitive for orchestral & acoustic instruments than for electric instruments and electronic equipment. You can see the full comparison of musical instrument insurance prices at the bottom of this article.

In contrast to the other insurance companies featured in this review, Allianz's prices vary based on the specific type of instrument being insured. For example: covering a £5,000 violin with Allianz muscial instrument insurance would cost £59 per year, while insuring a £5,000 electric guitar would cost £196.

Allianz covers instruments when travelling overseas for 365 days a year. There is no excess for instruments or musical equipment claims, and a £100 excess for computer equipment.

You can get a quote at the Allianz Musical Instrument Insurance website.

3. JLT

A major insurance broker, JLT (short for Jardine Lloyd Thompson) has created separate musical instrument insurance packages for different types of musician:

  • OrchestralGuard is designed for musicians who play orchestral instruments (for example: strings, woodwind, brass) - costing around £56 per year
  • DJGuard is designed to cover electronic music equipment such as laptops, sound & lighting gear, or karaoke machines - costing around £166 per year
  • MusicGuard is designed for all other musicians, including bands and singer-songwriters - costing around £132 per year

All of JLT's policies can provide cover of up to £250,000, and include musicians' public liability insurance and personal accident insurance as standard. Optional cover is available for mechanical breakdown of instruments. The excess is £100.

When we ran quotes to cover a £5,000 musical instrument, JLT looked competitive on price for bands and jazz musicians, and had the cheapest prices for saxophone, double bass, and trombone, as well as amplifiers.

4.E&L Musical Instrument Insurance

Niche insurance specialists E&L offer insurance cover of up to £30,000 for musical instruments, with a 25% discount when applying online.

Like JLT, E&L has separate musical instrument insurance plans for different types of musician:

  • BandCare covers electrical instruments and drum kits, as well as electronic equipment
  • OrchestralCare is intended for "all types of orchestral equipment such as brass, woodwind, stringed etc."

In our comparison of quotes to insure a £5,000 instrument, E&L had particularly competitive prices for Flute, Trumpet, Harp, and Clarinet.

E&L allows up to 120 days of worldwide travel with its "All Risks" option. The excess on E&L musical instrument insurance is £110.

You can get a quote at the E&L website.

5. Endsleigh Musical Instrument Insurance

With its focus on university campuses, it's understandable that Endsleigh is a popular choice for students looking for musical instrument insurance. Endsleigh offers less cover than the other musical instrument insurance companies, with a limit of £10,000. The excess with Endsleigh musical instrument insurance is £25.

When we compared prices on musical instrument insurance, Endsleigh was more expensive than the specialist providers for most instruments. The exception was guitars and drum kits, where Endsleigh was the second cheapest after JLT MusicGuard.

You can get a quote at the Endsleigh website.

What does musical instrument insurance cover?

Musical insurance is intended to pay out when your instrument is accidentally damaged, lost, or stolen.

Not to be confused with a product warranty, most musical instrument insurance policies will not cover breakdown of the instrument due to mechanical failure, electronic faults, or problems with the instrument's construction. If you need this type of cover, of the insurance companies we reviewed only JLT provides it.

Does musical instrument insurance cover instruments left in cars and vans?

Yes, provided you select "unattended vehicle cover". Theft from a motor vehicle is included with any policy bought from Insure4Music, even when left overnight. Meanwhile, it's an optional extra with Allianz and JLT, and is included in E&L's "All Risks" musical instrument insurance option. Opting for unattended vehicle cover may increase the cost of musical instrument insurance.

Will musical instrument insurance cover my instruments when I am overseas?

Yes, all of the policies we reviewed can provide worldwide cover, but you will need to make sure you select this option when getting a quote.

There is a lot of variation in how many days of the year musical instrument insurance companies allow you to spend abroad and still cover your instrument. For example, Allianz provides worldwide cover for 365 days, but E&L (120 days) and Endsleigh's (90 days) limits may make their insurance policies unsuitable for musicians who spend a substantial proportion of the year touring or travelling for other reasons.

Remember that your travel insurance is unlikely to be much help if you take your instrument abroad as single item limits on travel insurance policies are rarely more than £500.

How much does musical instrument insurance cost?

For this review, we ran quotes on each of the featured insurance companies' websites, for a £5,000 instrument, with worldwide cover and unattended vehicle cover included. The prices are per year to make comparison of the different policies easier.

The first table compares the two musical instrument insurance policies which price based on the instrument being insured - Allianz and E&L - with Insure4Music who charge the same price regardless of instrument. The prices include Allianz's "free month" of insurance, and E&L's 25% online discount.

InstrumentInsure4MusicAllianz
E&L
Bass Guitar
£112
£196
£160
Electric Guitar
£112
£196
£160
Acoustic Guitar
£112
£135
£160
Drum Kit
£112
£171
£160
Violin
£112
£59
£64
Flute
£112
£90
£64
Saxophone
£112
£108
£64
Amplifier
£112
£196
£160
Harp
£112
£90
£64
Trumpet
£112
£108
£64
Double Bass
£112
£135
£64
Cello
£112
£80
£64
Accordion
£112
£137
£160
Clarinet
£112
£90
£64
Trombone
£112
£108
£64
Bassoon
£112
£55
£64

The second table compares the two musical instrument insurance policies which price based on the type of musician you are - JLT and Endsleigh - along with Insure4Music who charge the same price to all types of musician.

Type of MusicianInsure4Music
Endsleigh
JLT
Musician in a Band
£112
£160
£132
Classical Musician
£112
£110
£56
DJ
£112
£166
£132

As always, when making your choice about musical instrument insurance, do bear in mind that insurance isn't all about price. What is and isn't covered varies a lot across these different musical instrument insurance policies, and you need to make sure the policy you choose will actually meet the needs you have.

Does the Musicians Union provide musical instrument insurance?

Yes, members of the Musicians Union get £2,000 of musical instrument insurance cover as a benefit of membership, at no extra cost. Members need to register with the broker Hencilla Canworth (who arrange the insurance) to make sure their instruments are covered.

Can I insure musical instruments on my home insurance policy?

If you're a professional musician, it's unlikely that your home insurer will agree to cover your instruments and equipment. But if you are an amateur, it is an option. There are a two things to bear in mind if you choose this route to insure your instruments.

First, what is the item limit on your home insurance? Insurance companies will usually insist that individual items worth more than £2,000 need to be specifically named on the policy and may charge more to include them than the cost of a separate musical instrument insurance policy.

Second, is your home insurance an "All Risks" policy that covers your possessions when they are outside your home? If not, your instrument would not be covered if it was out of the house.

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