Insuring a valuable instrument
While there are no dedicated saxophone insurance policies, there are several insurance brokers than specialise in musical instrument insurance. If you are not taking the instrument out of your house, you should be able to include it in a normal house contents policy, but check with them first, especially if your saxophone is a more valuable one. You should also find out whether it is still covered if you do happen to take it out of the house.
If you choose to insure with a company that has a policy specifically for musical instruments, you will probably find they have a different rate for instruments that are taken out of the house and/or out of the country. If you are travelling overseas you will be able to either insure your instrument worldwide, or else just arrange temporary worldwide cover when you travel.
Vintage & antique saxophones
In the event that a valuable vintage instrument is lost, stolen or destroyed, it is particularly important to be able to prove its market value. Some companies may have a policy to replace your instrument with a new instrument, not necessarily what you want. If you lose a very special vintage instrument, the chances are you want to replace it with something just as special. Make sure the company will reimburse you for the full vintage market value, so that you have enough money to shop around for something that you consider to be an adequate replacement.
How about insurance while I’m on the touring?
An extremely important things to check is whether your instrument insurance company will cover your horn when left in the car unattended, especially overnight. If you are travelling abroad, depending on how often you go, you need to decide whether to get domestic only cover with a temporary extension or whether to get full international cover from the outset so find out the cost of each and do some arithmetic based on how often you think you might be travelling.
What about motor insurance?
Your motor insurance is unlikely to cover theft or damage to your saxophone, but you do need to make sure that your motor insurance company knows you are a musician or you may not be covered properly. When it comes to musicians and musical instruments, some insurance companies can be a bit paranoid.
When I was looking for car insurance a while back, as soon as I mentioned that I was involved with music I distinctly heard a sharp intake of air through the teeth of the otherwise very helpful person at the AA insurance advisory service. “Why? Is it because musicians are going to get drunk, take drugs and drive recklessly?” I asked. No. The reason I was given is that anyone in the music business might give Elton John a lift home, and if they crash, he will sue for millions. I tried to assure her that the very last person I would give a lift to is Elton John. Kenny G maybe, but not Elton. It cut no mustard and I had to pay up that little bit extra.
Many musicians I know get a cheaper insurance quote by saying they are a teacher, this may well get you cheaper insurance, but in the even of an accident on the way home from a gig, you may have a little trouble explaining why you appear to be working as a professional musician. Of course it might help if Elton John is in the car and you can get him to say you were giving him a saxophone lesson. Yeah right
- If you are working professionally, semi professionally or even just taking the saxophone out on amateur gigs, make sure the insurance company know this and that you are adequately covered for using the instrument at work.
- Is your saxophone covered if left in an unattended vehicle?
- Does the company have any specifications regarding the security of your property or vehicle – locks, immobilisers, alarms etc?
- Is the instrument covered for its current market value or for the cost of replacing it with a brand new instrument?
- Make sure you have photographs of the instrument, a purchase receipt and/or a valuation. Most shops or repairers will give you a valuation certificate either for a small charge or often for no charge if you are a customer.
- If you are travelling with the instruments, make sure you have serial numbers in your wallet, personal organiser or mobile. This will help the police if your horn is stolen.
- Make sure the company will reimburse you in full for a vintage instrument’s full market value and not just buy you a new saxophone.