MusicPro Insurance: Guardians of the Gear Galaxy

As the feelings of euphoria at the thought of playing live or physically going into the studio in a post-COVID world subside, the challenges of getting the gig, preparing for the gig, dealing with gear, transportation, setting up and so many other things come into sharper focus. But you’re resolved. You’re no stranger to any of it, and you’ve done it all before, so you’ll do it again. You’ll do it for that moment when your act is in the pocket and that connection to the groove is strong. And, for the cash, of course.

And speaking of cash, this just might be the right moment to get your production in order. You know, those nagging things you ought to do but just haven’t gotten around to. Throw a couple of back-up cables in a case. Get that case fixed. Get a new case! The bottom line? Think about protecting your act against the inevitable screw up. You know that someone is going to spill something on something. You know that, at some point, someone is going to walk off with something. And above all, you know that you are going to be the one to pay. Although….

For over 20 years, nearly 10,000 professional musicians have been insuring their gear against loss, theft or damage, with something called MusicPro Insurance. Their policies have been known to come in handy when a project studio is under water or rendered crispy; the gear trailer vanishes in the night, or just when the cat tips one’s morning coffee into their keyboard (computer or piano––take your pick). From the natural or climate change-generated event, to the everyday disasters that dot our lives, when stuff happens to your tools, you’re out of business. Don’t let this happen to you.

Let us therefore seek the advice of an expert; think of her as the angel of salvation, the musician’s gothy godmother, or just a person you can call for an emotional and economic rescue. Meet Laura Donelan, the actual human being who answers the phone if you’ve become a MusicPro Insurance policy holder and need to make a claim.

Music Connection: So, Laura, what’s it like to spend your day dealing with the high finances (no pun intended) of musicians?

Laura Donelan: I’ve become friendly with many of my customers over the years, and frankly, if they’re smart enough to insure their gear (and thereby their careers), they tend to be fun to talk to!

MC: One might think that you’ve got a few colorful claims stories to tell.

Donelan: Absolutely. There’s the one about the relatively new tour bus and trailer rolling down the highway on fire. A passing car had to flag down the driver and the whole thing burned to the ground just minutes after the band, crew and driver got out. It made the news, but with the kindness of other musicians who lent gear, and MusicPro’s quickly paying the claim, the band didn’t miss a gig.

MC: So, if a gear policy truly can save the day, why do you think more musicians don’t carry gear insurance?

MusicPro Insurance policy holders Shane Smith and the Saints.

Donelan: I sometimes hear people say, “I didn’t know that was a thing!” And a lot of people think that because they keep their gear at home, that it’s covered under their homeowners’ policy. Now hear this: if you use your gear to make money, there’s a very good chance that it will not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
   Also, a MusicPro policy provides coverage for accidental breakage, water damage, earthquake damage or coverage when your gear leaves your home—which is pretty essential for a gigging musician!

MC: And you’re saying that if I have a problem and need to file a claim, that you yourself are going to be the person I’d deal with?

Donelan: Yes and no. I may be the first person you call, and I’m always there for my customers, but after that you’ll deal directly with a special service that’s available 24/7 to get the process going. And I know that my clients aren’t 9-5 Monday through Friday people, so neither am I.

MC: How, and who, values my gear? Some of it is new, and some not so much, but regardless, if it walks, I still have to replace it. How does that work?

Donelan: The policy holder determines “current value” or “the cost to replace with similar quality” because we know that if you lose an instrument or a computer or a studio, that you need it back—all of it, and right away.

MC: How long does it take from the time I file until MusicPro sends a check?

Donelan: It, of course, depends on the claim. If your bus goes up in flames, it’s going to take longer than if the cat spills coffee on your laptop, but actually, not that much longer. We’re fast!

In conclusion, when heading out to make music in front of, or with, other people (what a concept!) make sure you’ve got earplugs (check), that favorite mic (check), water bottle (check) and an insurance policy for your rig… in the unlikely case that something goes wrong. Ha!

PAUL IRWIN writes for In Tune Monthly, ASCAP Experience Digital and other music industry and music education media.

Former tour bus of Shane Smith and the Saints, somewhere outside of Lubbock, TX, on a really bad day in November of 2019.