While public liability insurance is one of the most common types of business insurance for a musician, you may want to consider additional coverages as well to protect you against the specific risks you face. Here's what you need to know about musician insurance to protect yourself financially in case of disaster.
- What types of insurance does a musician need?
- Does a musician need insurance?
- How much is insurance for a musician?
Types of Insurance for a Musician
While insurance needs vary depending on the situation, there are a few types of business insurance that musicians often need. We discuss them below and give some illustrative examples to show how the different types of cover work.
1. Public Liability Insurance for Musicians
Public Liability insurance for a musician protects you against a lawsuit if a member of the public is injured or their property damaged, and the incident is related to your work. Public liability insurance can pay for legal defence expenses and compensation payments. It's common in the UK marketplace to see limits of £1 million, £2 million, £5 million or £10 million for public liability insurance.
- Bodily Injury Example: A guest at an event trips on a speaker cord, breaking their hip. They end up in hospital for weeks and are unable to work. They sue you for lost wages and damages.
- Property Damage Example: When carrying your cello into a venue, you accidentally trip and fall, damaging a painting on the way down. The client sues you for the cost to repair the painting.
2. Employers' Liability Insurance for Musicians
Employers' Liability insurance is a legal requirement if you hire anyone—from fellow musicians to an assistant. This type of business cover takes care of legal costs and resulting settlements.
- Employers' Liability Example: An employee slips and falls while setting up for a gig, seriously injuring their back. They blame you and sue for damages.
3. Professional Indemnity Insurance for Musicians
Professional Indemnity insurance can protect you from a compensation claim from someone who is unhappy with your professional services. Professional indemnity insurance can cover legal defence costs and compensation settlements.
- Professional Indemnity Example 1: Perhaps you're a music teacher and are sued when a student fails to pass their music exam, blaming you for sub-standard teaching because you didn't cover the correct materials.
- Professional Indemnity Example 2: A key piece of equipment breaks last minute and you're unable to perform at a client's wedding. They have to pay another musician twice as much for a last minute booking to replace you. They sue you for the cost.
4. Equipment Insurance for Musicians
Equipment Cover can reimburse you for a replacement instrument or piece of equipment if yours is stolen or accidentally lost. Between the expense of music equipment and the fact that you can't perform without it, many musicians opt for this cover as well.
- Equipment Cover Example: When you're unloading your car at an event, a valuable guitar and a violin are stolen from your locked boot. Musical equipment cover that includes away from home protection can reimburse you for these stolen items.
5. Personal Accident Insurance for Musicians
Personal Accident insurance can protect you if you're injured while using a musical instrument or entertainment, sound and/or lighting equipment. This type of cover provides a financial benefit to you, for instance to help you pay for household bills while you're out of work. Personal accident insurance is not tax deductible (because it pays a benefit) and is typically offered as either a weekly payout for temporary injuries (e.g., broken arm) or a lump sum payout for permanent disability (e.g., loss of a hand).
- Personal Accident Example: When setting up your equipment for a concert, a heavy speaker crushes your hand. You can claim a benefit as a result.
In addition, a photographer might need other types of cover as mentioned below.
Do Musicians Need Insurance?
Yes, musicians who have exposure to members of the public should have public liability insurance cover. Needs might change depending on whether you play in private events, gigs, concerts, in an orchestra or you are a recording artist or a teacher—but professional musicians frequently consider these common types of cover: public liability insurance, professional indemnity, equipment cover, personal accident and employer's liability (if you hire anyone).
Public liability insurance is critical for when you're dealing with members of the public, as most musicians do. Professional indemnity cover can also be important to protect against clients who are unhappy with your work. Musical equipment cover can protect expensive instruments and other equipment from theft or accident damage. Personal accident insurance can provide you with a financial benefit if you're injured at work and can't play. Employers' liability insurance is required by law if you have any employees, even if they work part time.
Whether or not you need other types of business insurance as a musician will depend on the specific risks you face. Other coverages you might want include commercial property, commercial vehicle (e.g., for your car or van), legal costs, business interruption insurance, etc.
How Much is Public Liability Insurance for a Musician?
The average cost of public liability insurance starts from just over £50 a year for a self-employed musician. Increasing your public liability limit to a higher level won't have a massive impact on your premium—for instance, doubling your public liability cover from £1m to £2m only costs a few quid extra on average.
|Average Cost of Musicians' Insurance|
|£1 million public liability||£51|
|£2 million public liability||£55|
|£2 million public liability||£77|
|£2,000 musical equipment||£80|
|£10,000 musical equipment||£230|
But a musician's business insurance costs can quickly rise as they add additional coverages. For example, musical equipment cover costs roughly £80 a year to insure £2,000 worth of instruments and other equipment (e.g., sound, lighting, etc.). Expand this to protect £10k of equipment and you could be looking well into the hundreds of pounds a year. This partially depends on whether you need cover on the road, out of the UK, etc.
These premiums reflect the average of the three cheapest quotes we found for each scenario, reflecting dozens of sample quotes in all; your premiums might vary significantly depending on your situation and the details of your application.
Public liability insurance is essential for musicians who deal directly with members of the public (e.g., this could include people who hire you, audience members, etc.). Public liability insurance protects you against people suing you for bodily injury or property damage, and can cover both legal expenses and compensation settlements to the injured party.
Anyone who deals in a professional capacity with members of the public (as in, people other than their own employees) should have public liability insurance to protect against lawsuits from others in case you're liable for an injury or damage to a third party. Since most professional musicians fall into this category, they need public liability insurance. But not all musicians need it—for example, a musician who only sits in their living room recording music for their YouTube channel probably doesn't need it.
Musician Employment and Earnings Statistics
The amount you can earn as a musician spans a wide range. While chart-topping hit makers earn millions, most musicians earn less than £20,000 a year. Here are some employment statistics for musicians in the UK:
- Number of Musicians' Union members: 32,000
- Number of professional musicians in the UK: 52,000
- Percent of musicians who have worked for free in the past 12 months: 60%
- Percent of musicians who earned less than £20,000 last year: 56%