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Peter's Pointers: Never Hire an Uninsured Wedding DJ

Here's one question you might not think to ask when shopping for a DJ: "Are you insured?" An uninsured DJ might be cheaper up-front, but can cost you much more in the long run. I'm proud to say I'm insured -- find out why that's so important in this edition of Peter's Pointers.

How an Uninsured DJ Can Cost You

Mobile DJs in Central New York are not required by law to carry any type of insurance. Plenty don't. Whether they just never considered it, or they purposely chose against it, doesn't matter. I won't name any specific competitors, but I will say this: always ask, and never hire an uninsured DJ.

Some uninsured DJs might try to convince you, "nothing bad ever happened before, you've got nothing to worry about."  Knock on wood, I've never needed to file a claim on my own liability insurance. But I'm insured anyway, because accidents can happen anytime.  Hiring an uninsured DJ is extremely risky:

  • You could be stuck paying big bucks. If the DJ causes any damage or injury, but can't afford to pay, you could be held responsible since you hired that DJ.
    • A cables haphazardly strung across a hallway could cause someone to trip.
    • An unsecured speaker or an unbalanced lighting truss could fall on someone, or break a table or a window.
  • Your venue might send the DJ home. Some venues require DJs to show proof of insurance. Imagine if your DJ arrived to set-up, only to be turned away for lack of insurance... with no time to get a replacement.
    • Even if your venue doesn't require DJ insurance now, that could change by the time your wedding day arrives.
  • Other problems?  Any DJ willing to work without insurance is already demonstrating major carelessness.  It could be a hint of carelessness in other aspects of their work.  For the most important day of your life, do you want careless or do you want professional?

BEFORE YOU BOOK: What You Need from Your DJ

Car accident - Credit: pixabay

A mishap with an uninsured DJ can be like getting hit by an uninsured driver: their fault, but you could be the one stuck with the costs.

Don't just ask if they're insured -- request proof. And don't feel guilty or back down -- a true professional will be happy to comply without hassle.  When you see the document, look for these 3 items:

1. Make sure it's "business liability" coverage.  Some DJs might believe DJ activities fall under their homeowners or renters policy. Wrong. It's a business, so they need business liability coverage.  Homeowners coverage won't pay a penny for a DJ-related mishap.  If the certificate doesn't include business liability, walk away.

2. Coverage limits. Typical policies cover at least $1,000,000 per occurrence and $2,000,000 aggregate. When venues require coverage, they typically require the same amounts.

3. Expiration date. Most policies renew annually. If the current policy expires before your event date, how do you know it will be kept current?  If you book me, I guarantee it in writing, as part of my DJ services contract.

Never Hire an Uninsured DJ

I know I said that at the top of the post, but it bears repeating.  It's easy to think "nothing will go wrong," until it does. Your wedding day is the most important day of your life. Whether you hire me or not, please, please, please, verify your DJ has adequate liability insurance before you book.

More of Peter's Pointers for Wedding Planning

Image credit: Pixabay

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Erin and Tim's wedding at Marriott Syracuse Downtown Persian Terrace, August 2019. Photos by Peter Naughton
We had an amazing experience with Peter as our DJ and everyone at our wedding raved about the music.
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Peter Naughton Productions is a mobile disc jockey and voiceover service based near Syracuse, NY.  Since 2011, Peter has specialized in Wedding DJ services for  Central New York, the Mohawk Valley, the Finger Lakes and the occasional road trip to the Southern Tier or the Thousand Islands.  One price covers everything you need for an unforgettable celebration with Peter's stress-free wedding package!
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