News Release


Are Your Musical Instruments Covered?

The insurance of musical instruments is often overlooked

A top of the range violin can cost anything from R20 000 with a concert grand piano coming in at a staggering cost of up to R2.4 million. "Even if you play an instrument that is not quite as expensive, by the time you add a few accessories such as a bow or a few pics, plus a carry case, perhaps a good microphone, even your sheet-music; the total value adds up surprisingly fast," says Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa.

Appreciation of fine arts is a budding industry in South Africa, with a host of premium art and theatrical venues having been added to the scene in recent years. The cost of operating in the orchestral environment is however regularly and vastly underestimated, with the soaring costs of musical instruments, in particular, affecting musicians and venues alike. Correctly insuring these items is an aspect that is frequently overlooked, until something goes wrong.

"Given the complexity around correctly scoped insurance covers for these appreciating assets, it is highly advisable to obtain a professional specialist valuation of your instrument, rather than a generalist’s valuation, and then agree on a value with your insurer. A specialist insurer – such as Artinsure - knows how to manage any potential claims in respect of instruments and most of all, understands that your asset is an appreciating asset," says Mandy.

"There are a great many artists who value and take pride in their musical instruments and these comprise of students that take a cello to varsity through to an owner that loans a Stradivarius for a concert," says Gordon Massie, Managing Director of ArtInsure. "We insure private individuals as well as corporate entities that own musical instruments against damage and theft, whether it is in situ or in transit, such as travelling concerts or musicians. Values range hugely and can be several millions of Rands," explains Gordon.

The key to correctly scoped insurance is a valuation of the instrument, performed by a third party valuator that is an expert in the field. Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos for example, offer valuations on pianos for insurance purposes. "We provide a report with both a new replacement value and a replacement value of the instrument with a piano of similar age and condition," explains Adele Massyn from Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos.

There are however many costs and responsibilities that come with owning a prestige musical instrument. One of these responsibilities, that is often stipulated within an insurance schedule, is to take reasonable measures to protect the item. "This includes the moving of an item such as a grand piano," says Gordon. "It is highly recommended to make use of professionals with properly trained staff who utilise methods and materials that are optimised for the safe removal of an item of this nature. It is absolutely not worth the risk you take in saving a few Rands in removal costs, only to jeopardise the integrity of your asset," he warns.

A prestige orchestral instrument can often be classified as an antique, which lends itself to a different set of criteria when it comes to assessing the insurable value of these items. "The services of a professional broker could well prove to be invaluable in the making of a well-rounded insurance programme that understands the value of your musical instrument. Your broker will also be able to confirm exactly what you are covered for to ensure that there are no surprises waiting for you at claims stage," concludes Mandy.

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