Bidness Insurance? (Canadian/Ontarian members especially!)

Hey folks. Its been a while.

I’ve been looking into formalizing the side gig doing repairs, and Im trying to get my ducks in a row figuring out the numbers etc. (Unfortunately) it looks like I need to look into insurance and see whats up. 

If I may be so bold, Id like to ask those of you who are running repair businesses (big and small) what your insurance situation is like insofar as what you pay, your coverage details, and whatever else may be relevant. This is potentially a touchy subject, so for those of you who wish to contribute privately - if you message my inbox any information you divulge stays with me.

Im looking for information specific to operating in Ontario Canada as noted in the thread title, but wisdom from elsewhere is also appreciated, obviously.

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Insurance for what? 

Just kidding, I suppose it is required if you actually have an official repair business. I’m in the USA so I can’t say what’s required in Canada or even the USA for that matter.


I can say I do have coverage for my personal instruments through Heritage a USA based company.


I don't believe there is a requirement to have business insurance, when I had a business in Ontario I didn't.  I did tell my insurance agent that insured the buildings I was working what I was doing, and determined that I had the expected coverage on the buildings, and none on excuded things (in my case, race cars).  Talk to your agent and find out if you have coverage on tools, materials, instruments that happen to be in your shop.  They will guide you as far as what you need.

I have owned 2 small business but have no direct knowledge of guitar repair businesses.  Once a customer leaves a guitar with you, it is your responsibility.  Say it is a $4,000 instrument and someone breaks in and steal it?  Say it gets damaged beyond repair somehow?  What if someone sues you for mental anguish because you did something to their baby they did not like?  Insurance is just a way to mitigate risk - what are you comfortable with?


Someone that sells insurance should be able to answer your questions.


Definitely, gotta speak with the family broker. Just wondered what the norm was/getting a feel for things.

I live in Toronto and operate a one-man shop.

I carry three bits of insurance.  First is insurance for my shop, including a limited liability for anyone who get hurt in my shop.  It's very limited so I don't allow anyone into the area with machinery, sharp tools, etc.

The second is insurance against  loss, in case someone breaks into the shop and steals my tools, any instruments in  the shop that belong to customers, etc., or there is a fire.  There is a limit to this coverage, so I cannot have more that a set value of instruments in my shop at one time.  Tools are covered up to a value I think is reasonable.

The third is a kind of malpractice insurance - I think my carrier calls it "Errors and Omissions".  If I sneeze while routing a new pickup cavity in someone's $10K  Fodera bass and the router  tears up the top, I'm covered to replacement value of the instrument.

None of this is cheap.  It's a necessary cost of doing business since I work on pricier instruments.  And I can tell my customers that their instruments are fully insured while in my custody, 

Thanks Richard, thats a little more specific. How about vehicle insurance?

Im hoping the fact that I live in a small town/rural area will make things a little cheaper... We’ll see I guess.

I have nothing special when it comes to vehicle insurance beyond the understanding that I use my vehicle for business as well as domestic purposes.  I made sure that the other business insurance covers the instruments while I am transporting them.

Any number of shops use Ellis Hershman at Heritage Insurance for full business and liabilytcoverage.  His lineup of professional musicians spans so many well-known performers, you're bound to recognize many of them.   I can say from first-hand experience that he has a well-deserved reputation for actually honoring and paying claims promptly.


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