This is a question we are often asked by our students and graduates. The answer isn't a simple yes or no because it depends what kind of DJ you are. Here's our handy guide to help you understand your liabilities and what you need cover for.
Equipment or contents insurance if often used to describe cover for your DJ equipment. You will need to have all your equipment covered in the event that it is stolen or something else happens like a fire or flood. Make sure that when you take out this kind of policy the insurance will cover your equipment in your stored location, in transit and also in the venue you work at. Normally your insurer will require you to keep them updated with a list of items and serial numbers so make sure you document everything in an inventory. You will of course need proof of purchase, which means sometimes buying second hand equipment can be a false economy unless you can prove you bought it. You may also need to make sure that you adhere to certain security measures like having special locks or alarms fitted, read the small print. This insurance can apply to any DJ but it's optional. It's a big risk if you do not insure your equipment because if something happens you might not be able to afford to replace it, it could be a difficult end to your DJ career.
Public liability insurance covers you in case a member of the public files a claim against you. For example you might have laid down a cable, which someone tripped on and broke an arm, they could then sue you for damages. If you don't have this kind of cover you could have to pay all legal expenses and any compensation they may win in court. It is also important to protect the property of a company you work with. For example, if you DJ in a hotel and your DJ lights start a fire you are going to be liable, and you need adequate cover to protect yourself. This type of insurance is essential for any mobile DJ or a DJ who simply takes any of their own equipment to a gig, even a small controller.
You may wish to take out personal insurance or loss of earnings insurance in case anything happens to you. For example, if you are a DJ working for yourself and you have an accident that renders you disabled, you need insurance to cover your loss of earnings. DJs have even been known to insure their hands or ears specifically. Your health is tied to closely to your income and wellbeing so it might be wise to make sure you are covered. Even more so if you have a family to support.
If you are organising gigs for other people, working as an employer directly or if you have any PAYE staff you should have employers insurance to cover you and your business should anything go wrong. This is perhaps more suited to those who have started their own mobile DJ business and are now hiring other DJs. If you have freelance DJs working for you via invoice, aka self-employed you do not need employers liability insurance as you are not employing them directly.
Travel insurance really varies so read the small print and make sure the country you are visiting is covered. Travel insurance normally protects you in the case of injury or death, sometimes for belongings and also for cancellations, delays etc. Make sure you get something which covers your trip completely and make sure that it covers any equipment you are taking with you. Remember that if you are DJing abroad you may need a work visa, if you are supposed to have one and you don't apply for one your insurance may be classed as void.
Mobile DJs are DJs who often play at birthday parties, weddings and various other events. They are often bringing DJ equipment with them, including DJ decks, lights and sound systems. Although, sometimes they just bring themselves if equipment is already provided. Insurance is essential for these DJs, both equipment and public liability insurance. Most clients would like to see your insurance certificate before booking you, especially corporate clients. Having a high level of insurance may also work to your advantage as some large clients, like hotels would not take on a DJ without being covered for multi-million pound claims. If you run a mobile DJ business you may also need to have employers liability insurance.
Club and bar DJs are those DJs who normally use vinyl, CD or USB, perhaps a laptop to DJ in a club or bar which has a license. Rather than a wedding DJ who might DJ in an unlicensed space like a wedding tent or village hall. It is generally recommended to be safe that these DJs cover their equipment, be it at home or the gig and also have public liability insurance. Remember, even if you leave your record bag on the floor and someone trips on it you could be liable! Many club and bar DJs do not cover themselves and the majority do not encounter any major issues but if you have the money it is recommended.
International DJs need to make sure they have solid travel insurance covering their trip and equipment. They may also need public liability insurance if they are taking any equipment with them to the gig itself. Make sure if you are DJing internationally you have a valid work visa if required. International DJs often have booking agents so ask you agent how they are protecting you, perhaps you are covered under their insurance but perhaps you need your own.
If you are a producer with a recording studio make sure you have your equipment covered and perhaps also top it up with loss of earnings cover. Specialist synthesisers may also need specialist musical instrument cover. There have been a spate of music studio thefts so it's considered high risk. Make sure you are covered.
Our recommended supplier in the UK for DJ insurance if DJ Guard you are click here for a quote.
This blog is UK based so if you are living elsewhere we suggest you simply google for 'DJ insurance' or 'Mobile DJ Insurance' or 'musicians insurance' to find a supplier in your region. Make sure you read the reviews.