Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cello Insurance

Below is some information regarding cello insurance that I researched to determine the insurance coverage for my two celli.
Both my teachers and my luthier (and consensus online), recommended requesting quotes from the main musical insurance carriers and from your homeowners (or renter's) insurance company and then the not-so-fun part, reading through the quotes and coverage descriptions to see what would best fit my needs.

I've added links to read through some of the insurance coverage specimens (the insurance company's generic, standard coverage).

Be prepared to know/have the following:
  • A list of cello(s), cases, bows, & accessories with descriptions, cost and bill of sale/receipts (and in some cases an appraisal)
  • Questions to know:
    • Will you be traveling or shipping your cello? 
    • Do you belong to any groups or associations? 
      • I don't belong to any, but apparently you get a discounted rate
    • Will you be getting paid or refuse payment? 
      • If so, you're considered a professional musician. You may need to get a rider if you go through your homeowners insurance, otherwise some policies will become void 
    • What type of security do you have and how do you store your cello?
Poor cello! :(

Professional Insurance
  • Clarion Insurance
    • My quote was $160 with no deductible (covers my two cellos, bows, cases and accessories) 
    • Requirements: completed application, proof of value (either bill of sale receipt or appraisal), and premium payment
    • Documents:
    • Heritage Insurance / Musical Instrument Insurance Program
      • Their minimum premium to issue a policy is $250.00 per year. Policies are usually written without deductible. For my quote, this was the case  (includes celli, cases, bows & accessories).
      • Coverage is "All Risk" and worldwide, including devaluation as a result of loss
      • Exclusions: governmental actions, general wear and tear, shipments and air cargo (can be added). Another important condition is if an instrument is stolen from an unattended automobile they require some visible signs of forced entry 
        • Shipping & air cargo coverage can be added when needed. The cost per shipment is $0.50 per $100.00 for domestic and $1.50 per $100.00 international
      • Coverage provided by Hartford Insurance Company
      • Requirements: copy of appraisal and premium payment. If no appraisal is available, they can start coverage based on a complete description of the instrument including make, model, year built, serial #, and current replacement cost. Payment options are available
      • Documents:
    • Total Instrument Insurance
      • My quote was $78.52 premium with no deductible (includes celli, cases, bows & accessories).
      • "All risk," except governmental action, nuclear hazard, war & military action, pollutants, pre-existing conditions and normal wear and tear.
      • Traveling IS covered 
        • Sorry, there was a typo in the email I received from the agent
      • Requirements: Application and premium payment. Must disclose if any item has been repossessed, been convicted of a crime or filed for bankruptcy
      • Coverage provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company 
      • Documents:
    • Merz-Huber
      • I was quoted a premium of $250.00 a year with a $100.00 deductible (two celli without cases or accessories)
      • The policy is "all risk" and covers everything but normal wear and tear. Fire, theft, damage, traveling and shipping is covered. 
      • Requirements: completed application, cello appraisal and check
      • Unfortunately, they didn't have a coverage specimen to forward me
    • Anderson Group
    Personal Insurance: 
      • Farmers Insurance: my current renter's insurance company
        • My quote is $54.78 annual premium with a $250 deductible. 
        • I ended up forwarding Clarion's quote to my Farmer's insurance agent to see if their policy would provide similar coverage. Although it seems that they are not very knowledgeable about celli coverage or any type of musical instrument for that matter.
          • Both my teachers currently have insurance through State Farm, but I don't think my Farmers insurance is as good as State Farm.
        • Personal property with Farmers Insurance covers theft, vandalism, smoke if sudden and accidental, sudden and accidental discharge of water, fire, collapse of dwelling and falling objects. But does not cover flooding or earthquakes (not an issue in Colorado), or if my cello is damaged while walking across the street and it falls out of its case!  
          • Huh?! That was the example my agent emailed me specifically! This is because it does not have a "drop and break peril." 
          • Another instance this may occur is if I were to move and accidentally dropped my cello. Or if my case were to fall over with the cello inside, or if someone bumped into it, and the case didn't protect it (scary thought!). So make sure you ask specifically that this is covered under your homeowners policy!
        • Requirements: check, copies of my receipts and a picture of my two celli front and back
        • Documents: 

      Helpful forum reading from different websites:

      There are a lot of other insurance carriers out there, but these were the ones I found to be the most common. I would recommend getting quotes from all of them and compare the different coverage, premiums and deductibles. Just click on the highlighted links to go the the main website for each one. The quotes are "relatively painless" and should take 30 minutes to complete all 5 carrier's online quotes. You should receive quotes within 24 hours, except for Anderson which took a few days.

      Also, be sure to read through ALL of the specimen policies! I highlighted some aspects that are important to ME in this blog, but I'm sure I missed some important information that may affect your decision in picking a policy. Use this as the BEGINNING POINT of your research only.

      I think I'll be choosing HCC / Total Instrument Insurance since it covers my celli, bows, cases and its accessories, has no deductible and is relatively inexpensive. I believe you can also add coverage to laptops or other equipment used in gigs or teaching too.

      Happy reading! exciting... LOL! =p
      Probably more information on musical insurance coverage than you ever wanted to know...

      ***FOR FUTURE READERS PLEASE NOTE: Entry posted on 1/17/2012, so if you're reading this and its been awhile (say 3 months or longer), the coverage specimens and rates may no longer be accurate. I'm not responsible for outdated material or information! But let me know if you come across any inactive links.***


      1. Thank you! Excellent information here.

      2. NEVER go with Merz-Huber. I had coverage with them. Then I traded in the old one and bought a new cello. Called them, cancelled coverage on the old one, got coverage on the new one. All good. Went for several years, damaged the cello. Called them -- they had somehow CANCELLED the coverage on the new cello, which they acknowledged, and REINSTATED coverage on the cello I no longer owned, the one I had traded in. They refused to honor my claim, "because that cello isn't covered." And they were rude and uncaring, and refused to acknowledge any fault in the matter.

      3. musical instrument insurance For some people, music is his life. If we talk about music professionals, is that these people are passionate about their musical equipment.

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