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. Maybe they just never considered it, or they purposely chose against it to save a few bucks. I know there are other DJs in town who charge less than I do -- is it because they cut corners on insurance?
Even if you choose to hire someone else, I will say this: always ask, and never hire an uninsured DJ.
Some uninsured DJs might try to convince you, "we've never had any accidents or mishaps, you've got nothing to worry about." Knock on wood, I've never needed to file a claim on my own liability insurance. And most venues around here don't require DJs to be insured -- but I'm still insured anyway, because accidents can happen anytime.
Why hiring an uninsured DJ is 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 cable haphazardly strung across a hallway floor could cause someone to trip.
- An unbalanced speaker stand 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. A venue can have a thousand perfect events in a row, but it only takes one bad incident to inspire a venue to implement new rules.
- 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
Don't just ask if they're insured -- request proof. Don't feel shy or guilty about asking -- a true professional will gladly honor your request without hassle. When you see the document, look for these 3 items:
1. Make sure it's "business liability" coverage. Some DJs truly believe their 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. If your venue requires higher coverages than your DJ currently carries, ask the DJ if they would be able to upgrade their policy for you. The cost to increase their coverage is relatively low, compared to the cost of losing your business to someone else.
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, my contract gives you a written guarantee that I will have valid business liability coverage in effect on your wedding date.
If your venue requires it (check your venue contract), I can add their business name as an "additional insured" for no extra charge as long as you notify me at least a few days in advance.
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.
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