With the mishandled guitar debacle between country musician Dave Carroll and United Airlines a year or so ago becoming headline news in certain circles, is the musical instrument insurance biz still economically viable?
By: Ringo Bones
Back in July 2009, the conflict between country musician Dave Carroll and United Airlines over mishandled guitars might have gained Carroll a new fanbase, but other touring musicians might be wondering whether it is high time for them to get musical instrument insurance. After all, not all touring musicians – especially after the age of Napsterization – are fortunate enough to have their own touring planes or be able to buy one in the foreseeable future.
Compared to homeowner’s insurance, musical instrument insurance are probably about as common as hen’s teeth. But that still doesn’t mean that this “niche market insurance” has been immune from the admen’s charms. “Real World Coverage” has been the recent buzzword being branded about in the musical instrument insurance market and your typical touring musician still managed to eke out a commercially viable living in today’s world were on-line music piracy is the norm rather than the exception. Thus guaranteeing the demand for such insurance given Dave Carroll’s recent high-profile guitar debacle with United Airlines.
When a touring musician who’s still at the mercy of big airline companies consults their nearest insurance agent about musical instrument insurance, they are usually told that the current musical instrument policy they are about to avail provides about the same coverage as their competitors. Not to mention the oft cliché pitch that theirs provide “real world coverage”.
Ten years ago, musical instrument insurance coverage was pretty basic when compared to today’s typical coverage policies. Which now includes: Thirty days free coverage for borrowed instruments – which is a must in today’s free online download generation were a touring musician can seldom afford quality musical instruments commensurate with his or her skill level. The right to keep undamaged parts of any instrument suffering a loss – a must for us who still harbor that emotion called sentiment. Right to repurchase – permitting you, the owner, to repurchase recovered instruments at the price paid for the claim regardless of the increase in market value of the instrument during that time. Loss of market value coverage that pays you the difference in market value for instruments that had been damaged and / or repaired. No exclusion for instruments in a motor vehicle – for those still touring in a run-of-the-mill tour bus. Inflation Guard policy that provides insurance beyond policy limits. And most of all free transferable coverage for replacement instruments – i.e. “loaners” – while yours is still being repaired for a claim.
Lets just hope that the provider’s real world coverage policies work in the real world of your typical touring musician and should provide every touring musician adequate financial compensation. Whenever he or she encounters a problem like that of Dave Carroll when he boarded United Airlines with his musical instruments back in July 2009. The days of the multi-millionaire Rock-Star might be long gone, but it still makes good fiscal sense for touring musicians to be protected from the real world perils of their occupation.