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  • Liability Insurance?

    Rehearsing with a band last night for a Christmas party gig and the leader tells us the venue was all in a tizzy wondering if the band had liability insurance and they need to see a certificate. He went out and got some thru Gig Masters, so our take from the gig will be reduced (no big deal).

    I was just wondering; this is the first I have heard of a band being asked to show proof of liability coverage. It's a private party at a gated community where I have played with this band on previous occasions with no such request. I would think the band would be covered by the venue's liability insurance, no?

    I wonder if I should inquire if the venue has paid their ASCAP/BMI license fee? No, probably not.

    So if this is common, the request for liability insurance, how do you handle it, annual costs, or per date. (He got a one-time policy for just this event.)

    I'm a hired hand.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Liability Insurance? started by Bill Mecca View original post
    Comments 51 Comments
    1. Aldevis's Avatar
      Aldevis -
      In the UK it is not uncommon to be required to have public liability insurance. Musician Union membership includes it, though.
    1. Rich Maraday's Avatar
      Rich Maraday -
      Most catering facilities require it in Rockland ,Westchester and NYC. My cost is $600.00 a year.
    1. 1958SelmerMarkVI's Avatar
      1958SelmerMarkVI -
      Liability for what? I've never heard of a band being required to have liability insurance. Who or what is it intended to cover...guests, other employees, the band itself, or property damage to the establishment? I've never heard of such a thing and I'm serious curious what the rationale is in requiring a band to carry such insurance to perform a gig like this.
    1. BarrySachs's Avatar
      BarrySachs -
      Yes, this is often required. If the gig is in the greater NYC area, you can have "go legit" be the "employer" for the job and the liability insurance will be covered. Naturally, the job will have to be on an AFM contract for go legit. But they pay the musicians and take out all the taxes.

      http://www.local802afm.org/about/ben...yroll-service/

      If it's a cheap gig through Gig Masters, there may not be a budget for such things, therefore you'll need to get insurance for this one gig, and make the client cover the cost.

      Also, the BMI/ASCAP thing isn't your concern as a bandleader. The venue is responsible. It's really a non-issue.
    1. KeithL's Avatar
      KeithL -
      Quote Originally Posted by 1958SelmerMarkVI View Post
      Liability for what? I've never heard of a band being required to have liability insurance. Who or what is it intended to cover...guests, other employees, the band itself, or property damage to the establishment? I've never heard of such a thing and I'm serious curious what the rationale is in requiring a band to carry such insurance to perform a gig like this.
      This is exactly what I was going to ask 1958SMVI. Can one of you give us an example of how this insurance would be applied or better yet and example that you know of where a group needed to use it?

      As difficult as it is these days for most gigging musicians this seems like a pathetic way to extract (extort?) money from them by lawyers and insurance companies.
    1. GHawk's Avatar
      GHawk -
      Quote Originally Posted by 1958SelmerMarkVI View Post
      Liability for what? I've never heard of a band being required to have liability insurance. Who or what is it intended to cover...guests, other employees, the band itself, or property damage to the establishment? I've never heard of such a thing and I'm serious curious what the rationale is in requiring a band to carry such insurance to perform a gig like this.
      Covers you if you or your band/equipment cause harm to anyone or if the facility is damaged by you or your equipment.
    1. Bill Mecca's Avatar
      Bill Mecca -
      IIRC he told me it was $102 to cover the night, which comes out of our pockets. As GHawk says it's to cover the facility, and anyone there if they say trip over your speaker stand and get hurt, or that duct tape you used instead of gaffer tape takes the paint off the wall.(though that would probably be beneath whatever deductible one would have).

      small time band, usually plays bars, but is branching out to these private gigs. they use GigMasters sometimes, this one didn't come through there, but he was able to use GM to get the insurance about half what he was quoted elsewhere.
    1. Sigmund451's Avatar
      Sigmund451 -
      So I can sue an insurance company if the next band I listen to plays out of tune?

      ....Personal damages! Its can be pretty traumatic ya know.

      What a glorious world we live in.
    1. LostConn's Avatar
      LostConn -
      Quote Originally Posted by 1958SelmerMarkVI View Post
      Liability for what? I've never heard of a band being required to have liability insurance. Who or what is it intended to cover...guests, other employees, the band itself, or property damage to the establishment? I've never heard of such a thing and I'm serious curious what the rationale is in requiring a band to carry such insurance to perform a gig like this.
      I can see how a liability insurance requirement might be disturbing to a very small group of musicians that had not encountered it before, but really there's nothing unusual about it. Businesses that occupy the premises of other businesses, even if only temporarily, are expected to be insured. I belong to a community symphonic band that has carried such insurance for as long as I can recall. We are hosting a multiday event and were required by the owner of the venue to show proof of $1 million of liability coverage.
    1. bstrom's Avatar
      bstrom -
      The cost of doing business. You have to be able to somehow pass it on in your fee which is of course hard in music unless you are in someplace like NYC. It's the same for any private contractor, if you are doing it as a legit business you are almost always required to carry liability. It sucks, especially with what gigs sometimes pay. Someone trips over a cord or mike stand and falls - guess what? You could be screwed for a long time depending on how it goes down.
    1. FredCDobbs's Avatar
      FredCDobbs -
      Okay, so suppose a drunk falls over and injures one of the band members and/or equipment--who pays for that, the drunk, the venue that served the liquor? Seems like the liability is all one sided.
    1. bstrom's Avatar
      bstrom -
      Quote Originally Posted by FredCDobbs View Post
      Okay, so suppose a drunk falls over and injures one of the band members and/or equipment--who pays for that, the drunk, the venue that served the liquor? Seems like the liability is all one sided.

      That would be your equipment insurance, or possibly a rider on your liability. You get to pay again. That's how it is for most small contractors. I'm a carpenter in my real job and people wonder why we charge what we do. Well It's skilled labor and the expenses you pay before you even start earning money are quite high. Just like music except that in music so many people are willing to go out and play for peanuts and get taken advantage of just for the glory of saying they had a gig that night ( on FB). But that's another story...
    1. Sigmund451's Avatar
      Sigmund451 -
      Come work on my house Bstrom. Do you work for mouthpieces
    1. bstrom's Avatar
      bstrom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sigmund451 View Post
      Come work on my house Bstrom. Do you work for mouthpieces
      Yes since I seem to be an addict you would probably get me there. Good thing you live on the other coast.
    1. John Laughter's Avatar
      John Laughter -
      Bill, I just paid $322.00 for liability insurance for our New Years gig at a country club. The attorney for the country club started requiring it three years ago but it is built into the cost of the band so it is not out of our pocket. So far this is the only club that has required it in our area.

      A local dance club organization that we play for twice a year is paying an annual ASCAP/BMI fee. They received a letter last year indicating that the fees had to be paid or they would have to stop holding the dances. I remember this issue back in the early 60's when playing nightclubs but I do not recall if the club had to pay the fees.
    1. 1958SelmerMarkVI's Avatar
      1958SelmerMarkVI -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Laughter View Post
      Bill, I just paid $322.00 for liability insurance for our New Years gig at a country club. The attorney for the country club started requiring it three years ago but it is built into the cost of the band so it is not out of our pocket. So far this is the only club that has required it in our area.

      A local dance club organization that we play for twice a year is paying an annual ASCAP/BMI fee. They received a letter last year indicating that the fees had to be paid or they would have to stop holding the dances. I remember this issue back in the early 60's when playing nightclubs but I do not recall if the club had to pay the fees.
      Holy crap! $322 for insurance for one gig! That is insane! How could any band be expected to pay that on a regular basis??? I mean even if the band's fee is $10k that is a sizeable chunk of change! Glad that isn't a norm in my area (yet).
    1. Dave Dolson's Avatar
      Dave Dolson -
      . . . and we wonder why paid gigs are drying up. I'm guessing that the pyrotechnics involved with modern R&R, punk, or grunge band-shows may have been the motivator for such nonsense. DAVE
    1. 1958SelmerMarkVI's Avatar
      1958SelmerMarkVI -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dave Dolson View Post
      . . . and we wonder why paid gigs are drying up. I'm guessing that the pyrotechnics involved with modern R&R, punk, or grunge band-shows may have been the motivator for such nonsense. DAVE
      Yeah, I could understand this if you are an act booking your own show at a venue where you are bringing in your own stage rig, pyro (I recall the incident with Great White many years ago), etc., but to require it for a cover band at a country club???
    1. John Laughter's Avatar
      John Laughter -
      Holy crap! $322 for insurance for one gig!
      Yep. It was $250.00 three years ago. That same carrier was going to charge $420.00 this year so I had to shop around for a better price and $322.00 was the best out of three insurance companies in the same county (Greensboro, GA). Just lucky that the club is willing to pay that on top of what we charge. If and when they stop paying it, we stop playing the gig.
    1. GHawk's Avatar
      GHawk -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Laughter View Post
      Yep. It was $250.00 three years ago. That same carrier was going to charge $420.00 this year so I had to shop around for a better price and $322.00 was the best out of three insurance companies in the same county (Greensboro, GA). Just lucky that the club is willing to pay that on top of what we charge. If and when they stop paying it, we stop playing the gig.
      Is it for a year or one gig,?

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