You dream, you practice. Invest time and money. You plan, scrimp, save, and budget. Scout for venues. You buy a van and trailer. Put your “real” jobs and lives and hold while you take a shot at the dream. You pour your heart out on stage. Spend hours greeting and thanking every fan at your merch table after every show. You sleep 6 to a hotel room and wash your pits in gas station bathrooms on overnight drives. It’s hard and exhilarating and exhausting. But you are doing it, living the dream… until one morning when you stroll out of your motel room and realize someone has lifted your entire trailer. Now you’re thousands of dollars in the red with no way to go on. You didn’t buy equipment insurance, so you have to set up a go fund me account and appeal to the generosity of strangers to recover.
Guys. Seriously… Seriously? GUYS!!!
It’s a story I have heard a hundred times, and it makes me crazy because there’s a simple, inexpensive solution to this super sucky scenario. It’s about as high tech and sexy as a brown polyester suit. Old school and awesome. It’s called… insurance.
I remember it well. We were about 2 hours deep on a drive from one show to the next. It was late. We were tired and sweaty, exhausted from the show that night.
The vans engine hummed while our beloved and bloated clump of vanilla scented air freshener trees gently swayed to the rhythm of the road. I looked down and saw the gas gauge dangerously hovering near “E”. I pulled over for a fill up and my go to late night drive refresher. A mediocre gas station cafe vienna cappuccino (it was the 90’s). While pumping gas into the behemoth 30 gallon tank of our Dodge ram van, I hear a gentle squeak from behind the trailer. I walk around to see what the noise is… and see it. Our 12 foot trailers single rear door wide open and swinging in the breeze.
My eyes quickly survey the contents.. packed masterfully like a game of tetris within 2-3 inches of the trailer roof, and the same distance to the door in a vertical wall. Amazingly, despite two hours of bumping and swaying, the only thing missing was a skateboard. We quickly realized that someone had forgotten to latch and lock the trailer door after the load out that night. We gasp and praise God for the miracle we witnessed. The miracle of driving for two hours at highway speed with a completely open trailer door without losing a single piece of gear.
Lady luck has not always shone upon me despite the miracle mentioned above. During my life as a musician I’ve lost several things. I’ve had expensive guitar pedals lifted from the green room at Hotel Cafe. Tweakers have broken into the studio and ran off with computers and hard drives (loaded with irreplaceable sessions). “Friends” have “lost” (read: PAWNED) a vintage stratocaster that I loaned to them during “hard times”. Our first tour vehicle (a Chevy Suburban) was stolen, parted out, and burned in the mountains.
My point is: The world is riddled with unfortunate circumstances and poopy people lurking in the shadows just waiting to pounce. You’re too awesome and you’ve worked too hard to lose the gains you’ve made.
That’s why it blows my mind that nearly none of the professional / performing musicians I know have ever purchased insurance for their gear. It’s also why I see at least 3-4 go fund me campaigns from musician friends, or friends of friends per year pleading for relief when it happens to them.
There seems to be a huge lack of awareness about the availability and affordability of gear insurance.
What if I told you the cost of insuring your precious custom shop Les Paul and Matchless amp for an entire year was less than a tank of gas for your van? What if no matter what kind of demise your precious axe faces (fire, flood, forgetfulness, faulty trailer door lock, or the fingers of a filthy thief) you could be safe from financial hardship? Because my friends… you can.
We have full coverage on all of our gear through Clarion and the premium costs us less than 1%, with a $500 deductible. That means $100,000 in coverage costs us less than $1000 per year, and $10,000 coverage would cost less than $100 per year. It’s crazy affordable. Furthermore, it covers you in practically EVERY circumstance.
In the ten years we have had equipment insurance we have had to use it twice. It’s literally paid for itself, all while providing us with total peace of mind about the assets we’ve worked so hard to attain.
I actually LOL-ed when someone broke in to our studio and ran off with our main computer. We had been griping about how old and slow it was getting, planning to upgrade to a Mac but unable to afford it at the time. Less than two weeks later we had a brand new mac pro, thanks in large part to insurance.
In conclusion, when you’re planning on showcasing your talents and instruments night after night in front of strangers, bad things can happen. Take a few moments to get a quote and insure your gear because you never know when an unlucky moment might strike. Moreover, if you have insurance when it does, you’ll be planning your next purchase instead of begging your friends for help.