Insurance is a guarantee against loss or harm and secures compensation in the case of loss, damage, or death. Having insurance of any kind covers the what-ifs in life, offers peace-of-mind, and you just have to have it.
When I finally made the plunge and left my day job to be a full-time musician, I also left my health insurance behind. But just because you might not have an employer covering your health insurance doesn’t mean you have to go without it! Just call up any health insurance company and ask to apply for individual coverage, and they’ll walk you through the steps to apply.
I know, you’re thinking — I can get by without it for a little while. I definitely know some people who’ve been self-employed and gone for years without health insurance, and that’s fine as long as you’re lucky enough to avoid anything happening to you during that time. But having health insurance, or insurance of any kind, covers the what-if, and offers peace-of-mind, and you just have to have it.
Paying out-of-pocket can be pricey, but catastrophic coverage — the kind that’ll help you in a time of GREAT need — is the most basic and affordable and it’s worth it to have that blanket underneath you. Depending how much you think you can cough up in a jiffy for a deductible in the (fingers-crossed) unlikely event that you need major coverage will determine your monthly cost.
There are other things that’ll affect your monthly premium as well, like your sex, age, and health history. When I first applied, I was approved for a smoker’s rate (because I was a smoker and told them so), but 6 months after I quit smoking, I took a test at my Dr.’s office to prove I was nicotine-free, sent a letter along with the labs to my health care provider, and that knocked off almost 50% of my monthly premium. So it actually does pay to be healthy. (FYI, my monthly premium is currently $124 through Unicare – http://www.unicare.com/).
Need some advice on where to start looking? The Future of Music Coalition’s HINT program, started in 2005, offers musician-friendly support and advice to musicians who need information on health insurance. They don’t offer insurance, but can advise you were to start your search. Go here: http://futureofmusic.org/issues/campaigns/get-hint
Compare rates at Anthem Insurance – FREE Instant Quotes!
Remember what I said about the what-if scenario? Well, in January of 2008, my roommate had invited over a new friend she had met on the internet. I was out-of-town for the night, working hard playing a gig, and came home to find that her new friend had managed to sneak out the door with my MacBook Pro (My $1700 Apple computer, my life, my love, my recording studio, my calendar, my contact database, my email!!). Of course, they guy was too new of a friend for her to track him down. My baby was gone.
I then had to cancel that evening’s gig to start canceling my credit cards, changing my passwords, recovering what bits of my calendar where on my iPod, etc. etc. And I also called my Allstate agent to file the claim to try and recoup the cost of my computer, my mouse, all the software I downloaded online, all my iTunes purchases, etc. You may not think to consider you computer a piece of “gear,” but think of everything you do on it! What would life be without your daily login to Facebook??
The only reason this didn’t totally devastate me is because I have homeowners insurance. There’s also renter’s insurance that’ll cover your temporary pad. When I was in a 3-bedroom renting, it was about $200/year, and my condo insurance is closer to $400/year. This covers all the gear in my home (I had to put together an itemized list with pictures and what things were and how much they cost new — take inventory!)
However, I also had my Allstate agent attach an addendum to that policy which also covers the equipment I oftentimes have to leave in my CAR overnight. Can you imagine if on tour, you’re halfway across the country, and your car gets broken into? I just got this email from a musician friend on his way through Chicago last week. He was going to show up at my open mic, but never made it because:
“Funny story. Someone broke into my car in front of my friends place and cleaned it out. Left me my clothes and cds though. So I spent all day Friday running around Chicago getting my window fixed, new phone charger, guitar, mandolin, some accessories, etc… I feel like I got kicked in the nuts.”
Please don’t get yourself in this situation! Pay the extra bucks and get covered!
Do you want to front the bill when your speaker falls on someone and breaks their leg? No? Then you need liability insurance. And no, it’s not just for circus performers. What if a string breaks and pokes someone’s eye in the front row? That’s your fault, buddy.
I didn’t realize this for years and only just got covered in early 2009 when my children’s band was asked to perform at Navy Pier. Uh, duh, yes! But we needed $1,000,000 in liability coverage in order to play. I ended up going with American Family Insurance policy (Allstate didn’t offer this type of insurance) for over $700 for the year for $2,000,000 in coverage. Then I was told about Specialty Insurance that can do the same for about $200. I may change to that next year…
Insurance for Entertainers: http://www.specialtyinsuranceagency.com
You know you have to have it if you drive, so there.
Earlier this year my car was rear-ended, a hit-and-run, but the guy’s license plate fell off. I filed the claim, but they never found the guy. However, I was able to get my car fixed and my deductible was only $200! Initially it was $500, but with Allstate’s good driver program, you get $100 knocked off for each year of safe driving!
If you can manage to have more than one policy with one company, you can save money that way, too! I have my auto and homeowners through Allstate. If you’re in Illinois, feel free to contact my agent, Russ Angelbeck: http://www.allstateagencies.com/RussAngelbeck/ContactMe/SendEmail.aspx
1. One book you recommend
2. Your favorite piece of gear?
Right now, I’d said my Kurzweil 88-key weighted keyboard. I had a dream the other night that I sold it, and immediately thought, “how stupid.”
3. One thing you can’t live without on the road.
Bottled water and rest-stops, they kind of go hand-in-hand.