I'm going to assume that professional musicians already know the liability issues for their instruments and amps and have taken care of them. Those of you who volunteer at church playing instruments, and leave your equipment at church, do you insure your own instruments and equipment? Do churches in general assume any responsibility for damage or theft of equipment which has been approved to be left at church? What if someone is injured during unauthorized use of someone else's equipment? Should volunteers insure their own equipment as though they were professionals and using the equipment to earn an income? Anyone have some guidelines for minimizing risk and cost for volunteers who provide their own equipment and leave it at church?

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Good questions.  I have never insured my instruments.

Back in the late 1980s I had a bass, bass amp and a small pa mixer that got stolen from the church. The police later caught the guy and I got the mixer back but not the rest. (was not really interested as I had considered them "donated" anyway) The congregation used the insurance money to buy a better mixer and bass amp. 

Now if something happened to my Gamba ......(but that will NEVER stay at the congregation)

My only experience has been with a theft at a church many years ago - wish I knew the name of the company; it was in Arizona.  The church carried a "replacement cost" policy.  I had a portable cassette + reel-to-reel recorder for which I paid $200 overseas.  It was no longer made.  To replace the components would cost $800, which they paid with only an itemization I made myself (and I went the cheapest, Radio Shack).  I don't know if such adjusters exist today.

I would check with the business director. I would bet that the church carries a liability clause for items within the building/on premises. This is pretty typical. They usually have a payout limit ($1MM is common). 

The problem with insuring it yourself is that you now enter "business insurance" territory, where rates are higher since the (perceived) liability is greater. If you belong to any performing rights organizations, they often offer group rate discounts on instrument insurance...but check at the church first. I'd be surprised if they didn't have blanket coverage.

Hmmm...quite honestly, I would go to your business director and say "look, I don't get paid for this, my equipment is a necessary part of the service & I think you should add a rider to the church's policy to cover my equipment while on the church premises". It seems to be a fair solution.

Otherwise you may want to begin asking them for a stipend equal to the cost of insuring your equipment. I just checked at MusicPro (musicpro.com) and the annual cost for up to $25,000 replacement value is about $150.

After playing at inner city churches for years, where equipment does get stolen fairly often, even the church equipment, I decided to use my own fairly light weight keyboard and insisted that the church buy amps, cords, etc. That satisfied my need for the Korg board I like to use and the fact that I wasn't going to haul heavy amps weekly.  You might point out that you aren't being paid, that someone else sitting in will need the amp and that this is a purchase that won't need to be made again for a long time.  God bless!

Just wondering on this insurance coverage thing. What happens if your damage your gear in transit, i.e rain, car crash ( car insurance covers car) or stolen out of car? That's why I insurance my electric bass and amp head and cabinet myself.

That's the beauty of MusicPro. You're covered for just about anything, anywhere....including accidental damage while in transit to/from the church.


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