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Musicians & Music Instructors

Musicians & Music Instructors (1)

It's music that makes the world go 'round, right? At the very least, it taps into our emotions, connects us, and feeds the soul. Not too shabby. Our love of music is why we have so much admiration and respect for musicians. Music plays a big role in our personal lives. Through our business, we get to use our expertise to help musicians with their insurance needs. A win-win for all involved.

Musicians and music instructors have specific needs when it comes to insurance. We'll be adding articles as frequently as possible here, so check back often to view our insurance resources specific to music industry professionals. If you're a resident of or own a music business in California, Oregon, or Washington state, we're happy to answer your questions or offer a free insurance quote. Just give us a call at (888) 310-1027 or Send us a message. We look forward to hearing from you.

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue. - PLATO

I originally wrote this article for the spring 2012 edition of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) newsletter, but the information is applicable to all independent music instructors who teach out of their home.

National Association of Teachers of SingingBusiness Insurance: Protection for the Independent Voice Instructor

Business insurance is an important component in any business development plan. In today’s economic environment, it should not be overlooked considering it could help to protect the business and its owner(s) from financial ruin. For the independent voice instructor who uses his/her home as their office and studio, there are several insurance aspects that need to be addressed. The instructor should review his/her homeowner’s/renters insurance coverage and obtain General and Professional Liability policies.

The first step should be to do a review of their current homeowner’s or renter’s policy. Personal policies are not designed to cover the residence while a business is being operated within it. Therefore, the homeowner’s/renter’s policy may not continue to cover the home unless there are special provisions within the policy or a special endorsement has been made to the policy to allow or extend coverage for the business; the insurance company’s perspective is that a home operated business has a greater potential for a liability claim because of increased traffic entering the home. Review your current homeowner’s/renter’s coverage to assure that your residence will still continue to be properly covered while operating your business. Each business should verify with their insurance agent whether the carrier will continue coverage with a voice studio being run from the home or if the carrier offers an endorsement to the homeowner’s policy for businesses being run from the home.

Once you have verified whether your personal carrier will continue coverage, you can begin to concentrate on obtaining insurance specifically for your business and, if necessary, for your home. If your homeowner’s/renter’s policy will not continue coverage, your agent should be able to find an appropriate policy that will meet your needs. The two major policies that a voice instructor should obtain are General Liability and Professional Liability coverage.

For any business, General Liability coverage is an essential aspect to a business’s insurance protection needs. Although it has been generally labeled as “trip and fall” coverage, meaning it contains provisions to protect a business against suits pertaining to physical injury that occur on premises, there are several different coverages within the policy:

  • Products and Completed Operations – depending on the type of business/profession of business, this coverage (generally speaking) will help to protect the business against suits involving the work or product produced.
  • Personal Injury and Advertising Injury – generally speaking, this coverage protects businesses from suits brought against the business regarding advertising errors or offenses and/or personal injury suits such as defamation of character, slander, etc.
  • Medical Expense – this coverage helps to cover costs of medical expenses related to a physical injury that occurs on premises.
  • Damage to Rented Premises - this applies to damage by fire to premises rented to the insured and to damage regardless of cause to premises (including contents) occupied by the insured.

General Liability coverage limits range from a $300,000 to a $4,000,000 aggregate. For most small businesses whose gross revenues and other rating determinants fall below the minimum premium requirements, a $2,000,000 aggregate usually costs the same as $300,000 depending on the carrier. The average General Liability policy may start at $425.00 for the minimum premium and, as the size of the business increases, will increase proportionately.

For the voice instructor, the majority of the business insurance carriers’ definition of “Products and Completed Operations” coverage is either ambiguous (at best) or does not cover the work performed by a voice instructor. Therefore, due to the nature of the work as well as the type of clientele, a Professional Liability policy should be obtained to assure there is appropriate coverage. For example, if an instructor is coaching a professional singer and causes the singer to injure his/ her vocal cords because of “overuse/misuse” and the singer loses work due to the injury, the Professional Liability coverage would help to defend and cover the damages of the suit. Professional Liability is also known as Error and Omissions and Malpractice Insurance. In the case of a voice instructor, it is known as Professional Liability Insurance. Professional Liability coverage can range from $250,000 to $2,000,000 or higher. A Professional Liability policy can range from $600.00 and higher annually depending on the amount of coverage and the carrier offering it.

With all businesses, there are unique circumstances that need to be considered when securing the correct insurance coverage. Independent voice instructors, especially those working from home, are one such business. General Liability and Professional Liability coverage will help you feel confident that your business’s future is protected. For those working from your home, consult with your agent about your homeowner’s insurance to make sure you are covered appropriately with your home operated business. It may be beneficial to go through an Independent Insurance Agency that specializes in business insurance since they will have the widest selection of products and carriers.