We’ve all heard the horror story, time and time again: the band van, parked in a sketchy neighbourhood where the club’s located, gets broken into and looted of every last guitar, bass, amp, keyboard, mic, stand, and drum. Unfortunately, there seems to have been an increase in gear theft recently, but there are actions you can take to protect yourself and your band. To that end, David Hamilton, President and CEO of Front Row Insurance, has provided some tips and tricks below about guarding your instruments, and some information on how to insure them, so that you’re protected in any worst-case scenarios.
One of the best ways to prevent your instruments from being stolen is to remain as anonymous as possible – in terms of your band and your instruments.
- Avoid having band stickers on your vehicle and instruments, so that you aren’t a clear target.
- Tint or paint your windows or buy blinds, so people can’t see into your vehicle, your rehearsal space, or any place you store your instruments.
This one might sound obvious, but there are a few critical steps you can take to make sure that you’re keeping your items as secure as possible. These include the following:
- Install an alarm.
- Develop a protocol to make sure that your vehicle is locked at all times. Even when you’re loading in, and might be making several back-and-forth trips to a club, concert hall, or rehearsal space. This happens a lot with bands and musicians, and presents an easy target for thieves.
- Chain all of your gear together in your van or trunk, so that if a thief does a smash-and-grab, they won’t be able to get away quickly, or even at all.
Many instrument thefts happen overnight, so it’s important to be careful about how and where you park.
- Park your vehicle back against a wall whenever possible, so that it’s harder to get in the back doors.
- Park in the underground garage of your hotel, rather than the surface lot.
- Leave your vehicle at a tow truck yard: they are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The cost is usually reasonable for the protection provided.
- Keep Records
In the unfortunate case that something does get stolen, it’s important that you have the proper records. It helps with the investigation, and increases the chances of your property being found.
- Take pictures of your instruments – this way you’ll have an image to present should something be taken.
- Keep a record of serial numbers. This way investigators will absolutely know if an instrument is yours or not.
- Store a copy of the appraisal if the instruments are more than five years old. Vintage gear will be likelier to have the best claims settlement if there is an appraisal to which insurers can refer.
In the unfortunate event that your gear is stolen, you’ll really only be protected from losses if you’ve chosen an insurance provider that specializes in instrument insurance for professionals (like Front Row, which offers special discount rates to SOCAN members). Most homeowners’ policies don’t insure instruments and gear used professionally, or damage caused by airlines, so be sure to source a policy for professionals. This ensures that all of your bases are covered, and the tools of your trade will be protected.
Front Row offers one-stop online shopping with low rates, flexible options, and excellent service. You can buy protection online with no need to speak to a broker. For more information on how to insure your instruments, click here.