Disc jockey (DJ) insurance isn’t a specific policy. The term refers to all the policies that protect professional DJs against business losses related to expensive equipment or stemming from interactions with hosts, party guests, and venues where they work. Depending on the carrier, DJ liability insurance typically costs between $200 to $400.
Next Insurance is a good way to get low-cost DJ liability insurance. Basic plans start at just $17 per month for $500,000 in coverage. Plus, you can apply on your phone and get a certificate of insurance in 10 minutes.
How DJ Insurance Works
DJ insurance is the term used to describe different policies professional DJs, video jockeys (VJs), and karaoke jockeys (KJs) need to cover their business risks. For instance, most DJs need a business owners policy (BOP). By combining general liability and commercial property insurance, BOPs cover DJs’ most common problems — lawsuits involving third parties and damage to their own equipment.
Essentially, the different policies that make up DJ insurance match events that might cause them to lose money. Most DJ can’t earn money if they can’t use their equipment, so they need commercial property. However, DJs can also be sued by venue owners and partygoers. That makes general liability insurance essential.
DJs also face risks because they travel between venues. That may require commercial auto insurance for their car, plus inland marine insurance for their equipment when it’s in transit.
Top DJ Insurance Providers
|Next Insurance||New DJs who need same-day liability insurance|
|Insurance321||DJs, KJs, and VJs who want to be matched with an insurer|
|R.V. Nuccio & Associates||Mobile DJs who want hired and unowned auto and inland marine insurance|
|Brown & Brown||Mobile DJs who belong to the National Association of Mobile Entertainers|
|ProSight Direct||DJs who want short-term liability insurance|
Next Insurance strives to make insurance easy and affordable for consumers. It does this by offering a simple online application and offering three plans for DJ liability insurance, depending on your specific risk. The company also offers commercial auto insurance.
New DJs may like working with Next Insurance for its simplicity, but also its same-day coverage. When a new contract suddenly requires DJ liability insurance, Next Insurance can get you covered immediately and send you a certificate of insurance in 10 minutes.
Insurance321 is an online insurance marketplace that wants to eliminate the hassle of applying for insurance. Once you supply your business information and a representative confirms the details, you are connected to an independent insurance agent in your area.
The major benefit of working with Insurance321 is that it matches you to an insurer that matches your risk. Some insurers may readily offer coverage to a DJ but refuse to cover a VJ or KJ. Insurance321’s streamlined approach means you won’t have to waste time completing an application that results in declines.
R.V. Nuccio & Associates
R.V. Nuccio & Associates is a leader in event-related coverages and developed its DJ insurance program in 1994. This experience led R.V. Nuccio & Associates to create DJ liability insurance that automatically includes hired and non-owned auto and to offer inland marine insurance. With inland marine, your equipment is protected in storage, on the road, and at the venue.
DJs, KJs, and VJs who play gigs in multiple locations can find DJ insurance that matches their mobile businesses. Plus, R.V. Nuccio & Associates is 100% automated. You can quote, bind, and service your policy from its online portal.
Brown & Brown
Brown & Brown Insurance is the sixth-largest insurance broker in the United States with roots going back to the 1930s. The company is currently the insurance program administrator for the National Association of Mobile Entertainers (NAME), which means it partners with quality carriers to customize coverage for NAME.
NAME members can get DJ liability and equipment insurance from Brown & Brown Insurance. Members can get up to $5 million in coverage at a discounted rate, and they can add equipment coverage for their media libraries, sound equipment, and related accessories. NAME membership costs $125 for disc jockeys.
ProSight Direct was developed by ProSight Specialty Insurance to make it easier for small business owners to buy and manage their policies online. Once DJs purchase a policy, they can use the online portal to access documents, file claims, and request service.
Applying through ProSight Direct results in quotes with three premium levels: Basic, Enhanced, and Premium. Each level offers a six-month policy that includes DJ liability insurance and equipment coverage. This may be appealing to DJs who only want short-term insurance; however, the premium package is the only one that meets the coverage limit that most venues require.
DJ Liability Insurance Costs
No two DJs are alike. Similarly, no two DJ liability insurance policies are alike. Your specific cost depends partly on what kind of events you play, how many times you set up each year, and how much money you make. A DJ who mainly performs at private events averages about $260 for DJ liability insurance.
However, that’s assuming they get an annual policy. Many insurers offer coverage for significantly short time periods. A three-day policy for a DJ who books private events can cost as little as $60. These short-term policies are often offered as special event coverage. Learn more about them in Event Insurance.
DJ Insurance Costs & Deductibles by Policy Term
$1 million occurrence/$2 million aggregate
|Business Owners Policy|
$1 million occurrence/$2 million aggregate
The chart compares the average costs of getting DJ liability insurance and property insurance separately versus in a BOP. Combining liability and property coverages in a BOP usually results in a lower overall cost.
The premiums listed are averages and might increase for DJs who:
- Want property coverage for their equipment in transit and at venues
- Need higher limits.
- Incorporate light shows, fireworks, or other performers in their acts.
- Book gigs in nightclubs.
- Have shows that run past 2 a.m.
- Play to larger crowds.
President of R.V. Nuccio & Associates Robert Nuccio says DJs need to think about their equipment when they set their liability limits:
“DJ equipment itself is not as expensive as it once was, but it can increase their liability exposures. In fact, DJs have much higher liability exposure than other event vendors simply because of their equipment. Speaker stands can fall over. Overhead lighting can fall down. These are things to consider when buying liability insurance.”
— Robert V, Nuccio, president, R.V. Nuccio & Associates
Types of DJ Insurance
DJ insurance isn’t a single product. Instead, it’s a group of business insurance policies that match DJs risks. One popular DJ insurance policy is a BOP. It combines commercial property and general liability into an affordable package. However, mobile DJs also need inland marine to protect their property at venues.
Most Common Types of DJ Insurance
|General Liability Insurance||Third-party claims of bodily injury, property damages, and advertising injury|
|Commercial Property Insurance||Value of business property when it is lost, stolen, or damaged|
|Inland Marine Insurance||Value of business property that is lost, stolen, or damaged in transit|
|Commercial Auto Insurance||Value of business vehicle when it is stolen or damaged and the policyholder’s liability in accidents|
While these are the most common policies DJs buy, they may need other ones if they have other risks. For instance, DJs with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in most states.
Most DJs qualify for a BOP. BOPs typically combine general liability insurance with commercial property. For DJs, KJs, and VJs, insurance providers often add other key coverages like commercial auto and inland marine. This lets DJs get these common policies at a reduced rate.
DJ General Liability Insurance
DJ general liability insurance covers your interactions with people who aren’t your employees like clients, venue owners, and party guests or audience members. If one of these people accuses you of causing their injury or property damage, general liability covers the costs. General liability insurance also covers lawsuits regarding copyright infringement and defamation.
Say, for example, your sound system blows a circuit and a spectator is injured fumbling around in the dark. DJ liability insurance typically pays their medical bills or your legal fees if they sue. It also pays if an artist claims you used his or her music without permission.
General liability is a fundamental insurance policy. Pretty much anyone who runs a business needs general liability insurance, including DJs who only book a few gigs a year. Coverage for copyright infringement might be particularly attractive for DJs who post samples or remixes online. However, some insurers may exclude copyright infringement from DJ insurance, so check your policies.
DJ Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers workspaces your business owns, plus the items within it. When your items are damaged or stolen, commercial property pays the amount you insured it for, minus your deductible, so you can repair or replace it.
DJs, VJs, and KJs who own their equipment and cannot afford to replace it immediately need commercial property insurance because it helps them get back to work faster. Considering how expensive their equipment is, that’s probably most DJs. DJs may also need property insurance if they work out of a building they own other than their house.
DJ may not need commercial property insurance if they:
- Rent their equipment: Rented equipment is typically excluded from commercial property insurance; DJ liability insurance often excludes damage caused by rented and borrowed equipment too
- Rent business space: Commercial landlords are responsible for their own property coverage; however, most protect their interests by requiring tenants to have general liability
- Work out of their home: A standalone commercial property policy may be too much coverage for a home-based DJ business, but you still need business insurance; other options include a BOP, a business rider on your home insurance, or an in-home business policy
You learn more about home-based business policies in Home-based Business Insurance.
DJ Inland Marine Insurance
Inland marine insurance is a type of property insurance that covers your equipment when it’s being moved from one place to another. Commercial property insurance only covers your belongings when they’re in a specific location. Inland marine picks up where property insurance stops, covering your property when it’s damaged or destroyed.
DJs who own expensive equipment and transport it to different venues need inland marine insurance. You might also need it if you borrow another DJs equipment. For instance, if you borrow another DJ’s karaoke machine, you become a bailee. You’re responsible for the karaoke machine as long as it is in your care.
DJs don’t need inland marine if they contract with venues that have their own equipment. They also might not need coverage if they typically rent trucks. At least, they won’t need their own coverage. Most truck rental companies sell coverage to protect the renter’s property.
DJ Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance covers the cars, vans, and trucks your DJ business owns. At a minimum, most states require liability coverage so that you can pay damages if you’re responsible for an accident. But like your personal auto insurance, you can add other coverage if you’re willing to spend more.
Examples of additional coverages for commercial include:
- Medical payments: Necessary for injuries you and your passengers sustain
- Collision: Needed for damage to your car
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist: Needed when the other driver is responsible for damage but cannot pay
DJs who have cars registered to their business are required to have commercial auto coverage, but who drive their own cars for work may need it too. Personal auto insurance usually excludes business driving, so accidents between gigs may not be covered. On the other hand, DJs who always rent vans or trucks can skip commercial auto insurance.
Other Types of DJ Insurance
Most DJs are one-person shows. However, you may need additional coverages if you have employees.
Here are three common insurance policies for DJs with employees:
- Workers’ compensation insurance: Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation in most states; it pays for employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses, covering their medical bills and lost wages
- Commercial crime insurance: This policy covers employees stealing from either your business or your clients; it does not include illegal acts committed by you or your business partners.
- Hired & non-owned Auto: Hired & non-owned auto (HNOA) also covers your liability in cars your rent, hire, or borrow, so you may want a policy if you regularly rent vans to haul equipment; you may also need this coverage if you send employees in their own cars to perform job-related tasks, like checking out a new venue
Of these three, workers’ compensation is the only one mandated by law. HNOA and commercial crime coverage may be a good idea depending on your unique risks.
Tips on Getting DJ Liability Insurance
Unless you have a standing gig at a major club, chances are you’re responsible for your liability coverage. Use these tips to help you find the right policy for your business.
1. Plan Ahead
Business owners need insurance to protect their assets. This is true even when the business is a side gig like so many DJs’ businesses are. Most venues require DJ liability insurance policies in their contracts, so it makes sense to get the coverage before you book a job.
2. Part-time DJs Need Liability Insurance
Playing two or three weddings a year may not require annual DJ liability insurance. Part-time DJs may be able to get all the coverage they need through short-term policies offered as event insurance.
3. Your Equipment May Be a Source of Risk
Some of a DJ’s greatest liability risks come from their equipment. Think about the medical bills that might occur if someone trips over your amplifier stand or a speaker falls into a crowd. Look at your equipment and imagine the worst-case scenario before you set your limits.
4. Compare Policy Terms
You have many choices when it comes to DJ liability insurance. However, buying the cheapest policy may leave you underinsured. For instance, a DJ liability insurance that includes hired and non-owned autos automatically makes sense if you regularly rent trucks, even if it’s more expensive.
5. Make Contracts a Habit
Many insurers reward small business owners for good risk management. For mobile DJs, KJs, and VJs, using contracts is a good way to minimize risk.
According to ProSight program executive Dexter Alcedo:
“Not having a contract opens DJs up to disagreements, poor publicity, and exposures that could have been controlled or eliminated. A standard contract for a DJ business should describe the expectations of the client and the DJ, the details of the scope of work to be performed and hours of the performance, cancellation and payment requirements, and the indemnification provisions.”
— Dexter Alcedo, Program Executive, ProSight
DJ Liability Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This article covers most of the important details about DJ liability insurance. We’ve added a few additional questions here. If you don’t see yours, post it in our forum for a reply.
Who Needs DJ Insurance?
Anyone who plays recorded music at a club, party, or other event needs DJ insurance. This includes mobile DJs, KJs, and VJs who mostly book weddings, birthday parties, and other private events. However, it also includes club DJs who regularly work at bars and nightclubs.
Do I Need DJ Liability Insurance If I Only Play a Few Gigs a Year?
DJs need liability insurance whether they work regularly or only book a few jobs a year. DJ liability insurance protects their assets by paying medical bills and legal fees when they’re blamed for physical injury or property damage. Without it, DJs have to pay those costs out of pocket.
Does My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover My DJ Equipment?
You may need DJ insurance if you run your business out of your home because most homeowners’ policies exclude business activities. A BOP is one solution but adding a business rider added to your home insurance may also work. Your last option is to get standalone commercial property and general liability insurance.
The Bottom Line
DJs tend to focus on liability insurance, and for good reason. They face many liability exposures because of the number of people they interact with and the equipment they use. That’s one reason venues almost always require DJs to carry general liability insurance. However, DJs should also consider other risks, like property theft and automobile accidents.
DJs can get same-day liability insurance with Next Insurance. The application is short, and coverage plans start at just $17 a month. Plus, coverage starts immediately so that you can have a certificate of insurance in hand in just 10 minutes.