Key Insurance Concepts for Musicians

When it comes to the new musical landscape we find ourselves in, insurance may not be top of mind for many artists out there. That said, we definitely think it’s smarter to be prepared for when touring and live gigs open up, than be caught flat-footed as other acts swoop in for festival slots with all their ducks in a row. If you need a refresher, read our previous article “Why You Should Be Thinking About Insurance RIGHT NOW.”

But for a lot of live entertainers, it might be wise to take it back a step and explore some of the key basic concepts that musicians should know about insurance first, before they dive into the reasons why they should be lining up policy options now. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most important concepts you should have a handle on before contacting an agent for quotes and policy comparisons.


Probably the most important thing to wrap your head around is what we mean by insurance. For our purposes, we’re talking about liability insurance for live musicians. Acts on the road, at the clubs, and on-stage at festivals. This is different than insurance that covers damage to your possessions, which typically falls under the umbrella term of property insurance.

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For musicians, this would be a separate policy that insures your instruments and gear against loss, theft and damages. And for a lot of us, luckily, our current renter’s or homeowner’s policies often offer coverage options (at least a minimal amount) for these items. But for comprehensive coverage, there are companies out there specializing just in music gear. Oddly, in some jurisdictions, these protections might fall under a marine policy (yep, marine…like for boats. We were surprised, too!).

All of that was a long-winded way to ensure (not insure, get it?) you know that for live performers, you want LIABILITY coverage, to protect you against things you might be…you guessed it…liable for during your performance slot. Look, the world’s an imperfect place (as if 2020 hasn’t already proven that), so things can go wrong unexpectedly, accidents happen and, in those instances, liability insurance can help cover expenses you’re deemed responsible for in the case you damage the stage, for example. Or if someone’s injured on account of something you did, or because of your direct negligence. Nasty stuff no one wants to think about, but wouldn’t you sleep better knowing you had a policy in place to protect you financially than go out and risk it? Not to mention some bookings may require insurance anyway.

If you remember nothing else, keep this in mind: property insurance covers your STUFF, and liability insurance covers the results of your ACTIONS. That’s they takeaway here, and an important distinction when shopping around. Likely you’ll want some form of both, but liability insurance is something that has the potential to cover much larger damages – say, for medical bills, as an example, compared to a $500 guitar that your renter’s policy is covering after flood, fire, theft or other damaging act (pro tip: always check your policy to see exactly what’s covered and what’s not). We all know medical bills can add up to huge figures, and liability insurance can be a saving grace when faced with a catastrophic situation.


So, you know what liability insurance is as a general concept. If something were to go wrong, would you automatically be sued? That’s the fear a lot of artists have and in part, causes some trepidation even thinking about insurance. Insurance often triggers the word “lawsuit” in our brains, but actually it’s more likely a claim will be filed long before the “L” word comes into play.

It’s generally (though not always) in everyone’s best interest to avoid suits, lawyers, trials and courtrooms as much as possible if a settlement can be reached before it gets to that point. That’s where insurance comes into play. Lawsuits are a drain on time, resources, money and (in a real way), anxiety. What’s a more likely first step is a claim made against you – in the example above where you perhaps damaged the stage of a venue or were responsible for someone’s injury at the show.

A claim is, at its most basic core, a request. A request for money, usually, to make someone whole for their losses. Now, your insurance provider may pay that claim, they might reject it, or they might work with you to come to some sort of agreement with the party that brought the claim. But in most circumstances, they (and you) will work in whatever capacity possible to avoid a lawsuit.

So, is there cause for worry? Well, nothing in life is guaranteed. But having a good insurance policy in place before you hit the stage should actually give peace of mind, not cause stress and anxiety. For more, check out our previous article “What’s The Difference Between a Claim and a Lawsuit?” where we explore this more in-depth.


You’ve heard us repeat it a million times, but to be sure, always check over your insurance 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.

The world might be scarier right now, but being caught flat-footed is even scarier.

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


“Cold War Kids at The Hype Hotel” by nan palmero is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

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