Professional DJ Insurance for a day/event, a week or a month

In this DJ insurance guide, we will outline the proper management steps that you must take if you are setting up a professional DJ business, one of which is the requirement for you to protect yourself against unfortunate accidents and unforeseen problems by taking out professional DJ insurance. 

Disk jockeying is not normally a full-time occupation, with the special exception of professional DJs that work for radio stations and TV networks.

So most often DJs who are working part-time will be looking only for protection in the hours that they are actually working, which is why temporary DJ Liability Insurance for a day/event, a week or a month is an important topic that we will also deal with.

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DJ Insurance

What does a DJ actually do?

It’s surprising that although most people know what a DJ is, very few can tell you what a DJ does. We are trying in this article to describe the great vibe that truly cool DJs create at clubs, parties, and functions, and the opportunities that being a DJ gives you for some exciting work with potential for great earnings. 

The work of a disk jockey is very similar to what a concert director does.

The main difference is that a concert is a music played in real-time by live musicians that has been selected by the concert manager, whereas a DJ is playing his own selection of pre recorded music.

Each one has to structure the selection of music, the sequence, the way the music flows and engages the feelings of the audience.

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So in this sense, a good DJ is a highly artistic and skilled individual who can “read” his audience and knows how to shape the stream and mixture of the music he (or she) is presenting to make them happy and to radiate this happiness to the people around them.

How much can a professional DJ earn

Because you are a creative artist, the money potential is enormous.

Some of the more famous DJs in the US earn millions of dollars every month.

A good starting rate is around $45-$50 per hour, and you should set a minimum fee representing around 2-3 hours additional to the working hours, because it takes time to set up and dismantle the equipment, plus transport time to and from the venue.

What is the difference between a mobile DJ and a club DJ?

Club disk jockeys have a fixed workplace, like a nightclub or dance hall, where they are a “featured artist”.

Often, having a famous DJ at a club is what is drawing it’s customers, so you are very valuable to them.

In this case, your equipment and gear will be stored permanently on-site at the club, and you may also be regarded as an employee of the company running the club.

In this case, your insurance needs are completely different from when you are a self-employed DJ running your own business.

If you have any questions or doubts about what kinds and levels of insurance you need, talk to the managers of the company running the club, and to a professional insurance agent or broker to make sure you are not exposed in any way

A mobile DJ is taking his services out into the world for individual customers, in their own homes, hired halls, rented spaces etc.

In all of these cases, you are running your DJ services as a business, and need to carry all of the kinds of insurance we talk about below.

What insurance does a DJ need?

Every business needs several basic kinds of insurance, to protect you in case something unexpected happens while you are working.

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The most important kinds of basic business insurance are:

General liability insurance / Public liability insurance

To insure you in case some accident causes injury to a person, or damage to their property, while they are in the place where you are working.

For DJs, some of the most frequent examples are trips and falls because you have many cables and boxes in the venue where the event is happening.

If anyone before, during or after an event of which you are the DJ has such a fall, they may claim that your cable or box was placed improperly or without proper supervision, in which case you could be held responsible for the injury, damage, or any other consequences.

Another possible problem for DJs is having elaborate hot lighting positioned around the venue, which could fall and hurt someone, or just cause a burn to a person touching up against it, or a fire if something inflammable comes into contact.

Also, there is the problem of improper electrical grounding starting a spark leading to fire.

All of these events can lead to a claim for damages and if this goes to court, you can also be liable for legal costs of both parties if the judgement goes against you.

For this, you definitely need to insure yourself and your business, otherwise the judgement could ruin you.

General liability insurance can cover your for all these possible claims.

Normally, small businesses take $1 million protection for a single claim, and $2 million for the full year.

If you are not working fulltime as a DJ, then read more about DJ liability insurance by day / week in the sections below.

Professional Liability insurance / Error & Omission insurance

To cover you in the event that a customer claims that you were in some way negligent in performance of your job and they suffered some monetary damage.

An example is where you are engaged as a commercial DJ for a dance night, and you either fail to show up, or your equipment malfunctions and the whole event has to be cancelled.

In such a case, the customer could claim the expected revenue from the event, plus damages for loss of reputation and other such ancillary losses.

In the same way as for general liability insurance, if a court decides against you, you will have to find the money out of your own pocket.

If you are not working full-time as a DJ, then read more about DJ liability insurance by day / week in the sections below.

Equipment insurance

Working as a disk jockey, you will need highly specialized gear for music selection, speakers, lights, cameras and a whole basket of other paraphernalia.

Modern DJs are switching from the traditional music storage on vinyl discs (from which comes the name “disk jockey”) to sophisticated digital sound machines that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

It represents a big outlay of your money, or a big liability if you are renting or hiring the equipment, and so you must insure it against the possible risks, such as theft, malicious damage, fire, water damage and much more.

Not only do you have to replace the stuff in the case of a loss, but your business could freeze completely, because without the right equipment, you can’t operate so you need to be able to replace it without delay.

Commercial Vehicle insurance

Professional mobile DJs take their work where it is needed, to customer’s homes, function halls, sports clubs and so on.

The equipment you need is heavy and usually cannot fit into the back of an ordinary vehicle.

Even if it fits into your private car, it’s essential to know that your regular vehicle insurance will not cover the DJ equipment in the event of an accident, fire, theft or any other loss.

At the very least, you need to add some form of commercial cover to your vehicle insurance, but you are much safer to take out specific commercial vehicle insurance so that there can be no chance of a dispute as to whether you were fully insured in case of a claim.

Workers Compensation insurance.

In most states, it is mandatory to have worker’s compensation insurance if a business has one or more employees.

Worker’s compensation insurance covers the business against any costs that arise if an employee experiences an injury or becomes sick as a result of work.

“Employee” is a very broad term and it means anyone who works full time, part-time, casual, or as a contractor for you.

Currently, workers’ compensation legislation provides for specific benefits to any workers who suffer work-related illness or injury.

If you wish, you can include yourself under the workers compensation policy, which means you have the benefit of such health and lost wages cover.

The benefits include medical expenses, death benefits, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation.

Failure to meet a state’s regulations in this regard can leave you as the employer exposed to fines, penalties that could include jail time, as well as having to pay the whole claim out of your own pocket.

What will professional DJ Liability insurance cost

Public liability insurance for disk jockeys

Public liability insurance for the levels we spoke about before would be around $90 per month, or $1050 for annual payment.

In general, additional coverage doesn’t go up in proportion, so a policy giving double that level of cover does not cost double the premium.

If you feel that the level of cover is not suitable for you, it’s worth asking around for the best deal on different policies.

Professional indemnity insurance for DJs / E&O insurance for DJs

Professional indemnity insurance will cost based on the level of cover you choose to take out.

Most startup DJs take $25,000 single-claim cover, with a total $50,000 for all claims in a single year.

Likely costs are around $15 per month, or $150 per year.

The cost of all of the other types of insurance depends completely on the level of cover.

Talk to your agent or broker to get the best deal for the levels you consider necessary based on your own experience. to pay penalties levied by the states. 

DJ insurance per day or per week

Fortunately, some insurance companies have begun to offer special policies where you can nominate a specific period when you want to be covered.

By only paying for the period of cover that you need it for, you will save by having lower premium costs while still having the same risk cover.

For most DJs, income earning is sporadic, which means you don’t do the same level of business activity every day or week or month.

In that case, temporary insurance can be an excellent alternative to full annual cover.

It’s important to understand upfront that insurance companies cannot structure policy cover so that regular part-time or casual businesses can be insured on a temporary basis.

The key feature of short-term insurance is that you purchase the cover for a specific and defined period – a date on the calendar, or a week starting on a specific date, or a month – for example for 30 days beginning on the specified date.

Insurance for “evenings only” or such is not available.

Temporary insurance coverage can provide you with all the usual protection from risk in the same way as regular annual cover.

So it’s essential to find a policy that covers all of the risks that you are taking on when you start the work.

Let’s take an example of a casual mobile DJ who works on weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Each job occurs on a specific schedule, and you may only be working for 10 or 20 days in the year.

It makes sense then to only take out insurance for the days when you are actually on the job.

You need both public liability insurance to protect from the possible accidents that you could cause.

You need equipment insurance because you will have your expensive sound console, speakers, lighting and visual equipment, and whatever else you need to do the work.

This will be located in an area where it is vulnerable to many different kinds of threats.

If you’ve set up your video camera and the stand gets knocked over, that can cost you thousands of dollars to replace, and you need it immediately otherwise you can’t finish the job and so you’ll need to fork out immediately or risk a double loss.

As well, your valuable gear is now outside of your immediate control, and could be misplaced or stolen.

Equipment insurance lets you take on the work with the assurance that unforeseen events don’t end up costing you more than you would ever have earned from your part-time job.

The good news for you is that because you are working to a predetermined timetable, you can arrange to have insurance coverage just for the times when you are working, instead of wasting money paying annual premiums covering times when you do not need cover.

The bottom line is that any form of temporary work opens you up to risks, and you must take out enough insurance to cover this or you risk uncontrollable losses.

What does temporary insurance for DJs’ cover?

Temporary insurance coverage is a policy that provides insurance for a nominated time period, which could range from a single day through a week, a month or several months.

There are individual policies for each type of insurance, such as public liability, general liability, equipment etc.

Why is temporary insurance for mobile DJs so expensive?

Every insurance company loads its policies with “front-end” costs relating to the expenses that it has to carry in administration, like creating, marketing, registering and processing the policy and any claims that arise from it.

This means that a policy for one week starts off with a “base” premium of 10-15% of a standard annual policy even though it’s only giving 2% of the actual risk cover.

Think of what happens when you hail a cab.

Immediately, the “flag-fall” charge starts at a few dollars, and you then pay on top of that for the mileage and time.

Insurance policies come with a built-in “flag-fall” cost that is the same regardless of the length of the coverage.

You only begin to notice it when the period of coverage is very short, like a day or week or month, so that the difference between the cost and the period of cover becomes a factor.

Can you get DJ insurance for one day?

Business insurance by the day is a special sector of the commercial insurance market.

Not all companies offer it, so you may have to hunt around to find one that sells temporary insurance policies.

It’s also worth your while to talk to your friendly insurance broker because they may be more aware of what’s available in this particular field.

Can you get DJ insurance for one event?

Temporary insurance for a business activity like disk jockey can be found, but there may be special exclusions or conditions.

Be sure to check what the company does cover.

Some short-term insurance policies are restrictive when it comes to high-risk work and because you are working with electrical gear, your kind of work may have special clauses…

How much is mobile DJ insurance?

Obviously, the time you are going to be covered is one of the main factors determining the cost of temporary insurance.

A rule-of-thumb calculation of the rates for insurance by the day, week or month for a typical DJ worker can be based on the standard charge for full annual cover.

Let’s say the annual policy charge is around $1000, which is what you can expect to pay for a Business Owners Policy with normal limits in liability insurances and without very heavy equipment coverage. 

You can then expect to pay about $70, equating to 7%, for a single day policy.

For a week, expect to see a charge of around $110-$120, or 10%-12%. So as we said before, there’s a hefty “flag-fall” component in the temporary insurance policy.

Although you’re getting seven days of cover compared to just one day, you are not paying seven times the price.

The same thing goes for a policy for one month.

The expected charge would be in the range of $160-$180 or 16%-18%, which means you’re getting 29 extra days of cover for just double the cost as the original single day!

Liability insurance for mobile DJs by the month

Professional liability insurance and Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O) by the week or month may be available from some companies that already offer short term and temporary insurance for general liability, but it is not a common option because the insurance company has to do a lot of background work to extend such cover and it would push the premiums up considerably.

You could perhaps find companies that can tack a PLI or E&OE clause onto a temporary business owner policy but expect the costs of the extra cover to be high.

Temporary car insurance for mobile DJs

This is probably the most accessible kind of short-term insurance to get.

Suppose you are hiring a car for several days or weeks for use in your own mobile DJ business activity.

In that case, you need separate insurance, because the car-owner’s policy may not cover you in any way.

Especially if you’re renting a car or truck, you must take out a short-term insurance policy that covers explicitly your business usage of the vehicle.

Standard leasing agreements almost all exclude business use of the vehicle.

Auto insurance by the mile or by the hour or month is an option if you are hiring or renting a van or truck periodically for specific business activity.

Final thoughts.

There are many times when short-term insurance makes sense for DJs because they engage in irregular or casual activity.

However, compared to a full annual policy, it is expensive when you compare cost-per-day.

The good thing is that many of the options give you an incentive to bundle the coverage because you avoid paying the “flag-fare” repeatedly.

For example, 30 days of cover given to you in a monthly policy does not cost four times as much as individual covers per week, so if you have a way to bunch your work together, then you are paying much less for the essential insurance cover.

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