October 10th, 2023
Knowledge is definitely power when it comes to protecting your instruments. If your flute isn’t insured, this article will arm you with the basic knowledge and questions to ask your insurance company before purchasing insurance.
Home Owners vs. Specialist Insurance Companies
When the value of a flute is in the under $3000 range, and it isn’t being used for professional performances, it is sufficient to have it insured with your normal home owners or renters insurance. If you are shipping the flute, you would need to ask your insurance company if they cover it in the mail. If they don’t, under $3000 is not prohibitively expensive to insure with most major shippers.
When the value of a flute is over $5000 and/or you perform professionally, then you are seen as a bigger risk to insurance companies. You usually won’t find coverage with your renters or home owners insurance. The cost of shipping insurance through other carriers becomes very expensive. To protect your instruments, I highly recommend the following two insurance companies:
Clarion Associates (which I have)
These two companies both specialize in insurance for musical instruments and could cover every piece of musical equipment in your home for one price. If you have a lot of musical equipment, including instruments, microphones, recording equipment, stands, etc., then one of these companies is highly likely to be the best solution for you.
I have had clients with less expensive instruments who had no trouble when making claims with their various homeowner’s policies.
The most trouble I have seen was when either amature or professional clients had a rider on their home owners or renters insturance for a flute in the $10,000-40,000 range and needed to make a claim. The insurance companies dragged their feet for many months then demanded that the customer pay up-front for the replacement and they would send a reembursement check. You can imagine that it might be difficult for someone to make that once-in-a-lifetime purchase a second time!
I have had clients with instruments in the $10,000-40,000 range have claims with both Clarion and Anderson, and both of these companies have good track records of hastle-free payments when flutes were stolen.
Market Value vs. New Replacement Value
Current market value is the price of the exact model on the used market today. New replacement value is the cost of purchasing a new instrument that is the closest model to the instrument being insured. This difference is very important when getting insurance. For instance, when I am writing this article, a vintage Haynes flute from the 1940s may have a market value of $2000 to $3500 depending on condition and features. It probably would have sold for under $500 when new, so it has gained quite a bit of value over the years. Our example flute is handmade in the USA, all solid silver headjoint, body, and keys, drawn toneholes, open hole, B foot. The replacement value – a new flute with these same features – is going to run over $15,000. This is an extreme example, but it illustrates how important it is to understand the difference.
Questions to Ask
If you own a flute with a value over $5000, I highly recommend that you consider either Clarion or Anderson insurance. Make sure to ask them a few important questions:
- Is the flute insured in the mail?
- Is it covered if used in professional performances?
- If you ever have to make a claim, what is the process and how soon should you expect payment? Would you be paid before having to purchase the new instrument?
- What is the cost of covering all of your musical equipment at once vs. just one instrument?
- Is it insured for current market value or for new replacement value? (More on this below)
Feel free to reach out to us if you have other questions about insuring your instruments. We’re here to help!
In 1999 Erik got his start in the flute industry building handmade flutes that cost over $12,000 for Verne Q. Powell. He was a finisher there, and for Williams flutes. He was the Repair Manager at Haynes, and the Quality Control Managaer at Nagahara flutes for 9 years. He bought FluteWorks Seattle from Courtney Westcott in 2019.