As part of our ongoing work to support developing musicians we have decided to start a series of posts to answer your most pressing questions when it comes to developing your music career. We hope to cover topics such as touring, artist management, recording agreements, production tips and advice and much more. If you are a professional in these fields, get in contact with us, we would love to hear from you.
To kick off the Strummerville Mentor Bank for Musicians we would like to introduce to you Steve Howell from Music Insurance Brokers.
As a musician or band member we understand that insurance is not something you generally want to spend your money on, however, if your equipment got stolen, lost or damaged could you easily afford to replace it?
If you got ill or had an accident abroad whilst on tour could you afford the medical bills? If a member of the public got hurt at one of your gigs and a claim was paid against you, could you afford to defend your case or pay damages? If you can’t afford these things then you can’t afford not to have suitable insurance cover.
So this is a basic overview of the key insurance protection you should consider and the issues that will help you make an informed choice about the right cover for you and your band.
Musical equipment cover
When starting out, many artists simply cover their equipment on their household contents policy. Whilst this is ok when playing in a bedroom or garage with mates, it’s not suitable when you perform in public.
As soon as you receive payment (whether it’s in the form of money, a beer tab or guest tickets) they are a ‘business’ and as such no cover is available under a standard household policy.
In addition, a household policy is unlikely to provide cover for equipment whilst it is away from the home, or stored in an unattended vehicle on the road.
For bands there is the additional issue of each individual covering their equipment themselves. This is rarely the most cost effective option. The individual premiums often add up quite quickly and make it an expensive way to have cover.
We can arrange your individual or group travel requirements to events or whilst on tour and can be arranged on an annual basis or for any odd period required. Our policies provide comprehensive cover at very competitive rates and include;
- Medical expenses when travelling outside normal country of residence
- Cancellation or curtailment of your journey(s)
- Travel delay
- Personal accident
- Personal baggage for clothing or personal effects
- Loss of personal effects and cash
The basic principle of liability insurance is that if you cause an injury or damage property that belongs to someone else, then you could be held ‘liable’ and have to pay damages.
Liability cover is split into three areas:
This protects you against claims for damages by members of the public. You need this cover any time you come into contact with the public as an artist or band.
The important issue is to always understand where responsibility lies. All venues will have a public liability insurance policy to cover their property and staff. That policy will rarely, if ever, cover a band or artist performing at the venue.
If you don’t tape down loose wires or equipment falls off the stage into the audience because it was not secured properly, it will be your responsibility to pay compensation for any injuries caused, or property damaged. It will not be the venue’s responsibility, nor will their policy protect you.
The same applies when you are performing at festivals, in recording studios or any such event.
Ultimately, it is the courts that decide who is liable in the event of a claim. In making that judgement, they do not take into account whether or not you have insurance cover. If you don’t have a policy, they will seek compensation from you as an individual.
Employers Liability – A legal obligation
The issue of ‘employee’ in the music world can be tricky given the informal nature of the business. Legally, there is a board definition of when a person becomes an employee.
If you work on the principle that if you ask someone to do something, on your behalf, at an event that is for your benefit and they sustain an injury, they could be deemed an employee. They therefore should be covered by an employer’s liability policy. If you engage third parties under contract (companies or free lancers) then they will usually be recognised as sub-contractors, therefore not requiring you to protect them with Employers liability but they should have their own Public Liability.
It is a legal obligation to have Employers Liability cover if you employ people (including unpaid volunteers)
This provides protection if you provide products to the public which are unsafe or cause harm. Whilst a rare occurrence it is still a risk and is automatically included.
We really hope you found this information useful. Admittedly insurance isn’t the most rock’n’roll aspect of being in a band but it is the first steps you really must take in turning your passion into a professional business. For further information we would encourage you to contact Steven on the details below, be sure to tell him you found him on our website.
D +44 (0)207 287 5054
M +44 (0)7407 463742
If you have any questions on band insurance feel free to leave us a comment.