How to Shop for Entertainer Insurance

We know a lot of you might be headed out on a spring or summer tour soon, and you’ve already gone through the checklist. Van’s in working order? Check. All the gear fits? Check. We’ve got hotels/accommodations booked? Done and done.

Forgetting something? If you’re performing live, we know that insurance might not be at the top of your list, but it could be one of the smartest things you check off before you hit the open road. If you want to learn more, just reach for the good old search bar at the top of this page and plug in “insurance” for a number of helpful articles.

But let’s say you’ve done all your homework already and have decided liability insurance is a good idea (or even required) for some of the live events you’re playing.

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What are some of the things to keep in mind when shopping for entertainment insurance? Let’s explore.


When you’re looking over options for providers, always be sure to ask about the carrier’s financial stability. This is huge – if they’re not financially reliable, what good will they be in the event that a claim needs to be dealt with? There are independent rating companies like A.M. Best that are a safe choice when you’re doing research. Look for carriers with A or better ratings for the best peace of mind.


Along with ratings, make sure the provider you’re looking at is admitted (or licensed). This is definitely preferred because if they’re non-admitted (you may also hear the term surplus lines) they may require you to pay extra taxes or fees. And who wants that?


You’ve considered the rating of the carrier and also their admitted status, the next step would be to investigate their company history and also any testimonials (unpaid) or customer ratings that are publicly available. If the company you’re investigating is dodgy with the details, you may want to explore other options.

Let’s not discount experience, either.  Companies familiar with the unique risks that come along with live bands will be able to more accurately judge your risks and provide more tailored quotes, and will be in a better position to better handle the types of claims that may arise in your industry.  You may also want to look for convenient services such as the ability to apply and purchase coverage online, as opposed to completing a paper application that must be mailed and approved before coverage is in force.


This wouldn’t be much of a shopping guide if we didn’t answer these basic questions. So, the first thing you’d be looking at is general liability insurance for live events. This is what we’re dealing with here (see our other articles on instrument-specific insurance) in case someone is injured or property is damaged. Now that you know what to buy, how much is enough?

Well, as an example, you might want to go with a policy that has a $2 million occurrence limit with a $5 million aggregate limit. What this means is that your limit for an individual incident is $2 million, but your total limit would be $5 million for all the incidents that take place while the policy is in effect.

That might sound like a super-high amount, but bodily injury (or, in the absolute worst case scenarios, even death) are real possibilities and medical expenses can be cripplingly high (especially if you’re on the hook).

Keep in mind, too, that some event organizers and venues might mandate minimum limits for live acts, so before you buy coverage be sure to look over your performance contracts for limits or coverage requirements. If you have a booking agent and/or tour manager, they should be aware of all insurance requirements for your upcoming dates well in advance of your arrival.


We’ve already covered this in-depth (read that article here), but you should know before you buy a policy what sorts of things are excluded from typical liability coverage policies. We won’t rehash all those points here (again, read the full article for complete details), but it is definitely something to keep in mind when it’s time to shop around.


You’ve heard us repeat it a million times, but to be sure, always check over your policy and ask your provider to answer any questions you may have. They have the answers, trust us. The best policy (no pun intended) is consult a professional whenever you’re in doubt. Stay safe out there and look for more tips in the months ahead.

And in the meantime, check out – you may qualify to get a quote or even purchase insurance online.

Main image “Almost Vintage Guitar” by xfile001 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

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