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Public Liability Insurance for Music Teachers

Public Liability Insurance can protect teaching musicians against the financial consequences of legal liability for damages following injury to a third party or damage to property whilst teaching.

Last updated: 06 December 2023

What is PLI and why teaching musicians need it

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) protects individuals against the financial consequences of legal liability for damages following injury to a third party (not your employee) or damage to property whilst performing or teaching. It is valid in the home, in workplaces, in transit to and from work, and all around the world – depending on the individual insurance policy.

Apart from ensuring that musicians are covered should an accident happen, PLI is important because employers, local authorities and venues commonly require written evidence (e.g. a PLI certificate) that musicians are insured against public liability before they are offered work.

There are many circumstances where PLI might be applicable to music teachers.

When music teachers are likely to be covered by PLI

Here are some examples of circumstances that can help you understand if you would be covered by PLI. Please note that none of the information in this section constitutes legal advice, and you should always consult your own insurance policy, professional advisor or membership organisation.

  • You are coaching on a youth orchestra course and accidentally damage a large drum, belonging to a local school, when moving it. You are likely to be covered by PLI as you have accidentally damaged someone else’s property at work.
  • You accidentally walk into a student, who sustains a foot injury. You are likely to be covered by PLI as you have accidentally caused an injury to a third party at work.
  • Your own musical instrument is damaged by another teacher. You are probably not covered by PLI. This time someone else has damaged your property, and you may be able to claim on any insurance that covers your instrument. However, there may be a public liability claim against the venue, or against the individual who damaged your instrument – consult your insurance policy.
  • Back at home, a student’s parent trips over in your driveway as they drop off their child for a lesson.- You are likely to be covered by PLI as third party has sustained an injury that is related to your work.
  • You undertake some teaching for a university. The university tries to claim back your fee, arguing that your work has not been good enough. - Most liley this is not covered by PLI, but rather this is a professional indemnity issue. If you have professional indemnity insurance, it should cover you in this situation.
  • You are coaching a student string quartet at home; a thief breaks in and steals a student’s violin. - This is a matter of theft rather than damage or injury, so PLI is unlikely to apply. The student should claim on their own musical instrument insurance. However, it would be worth checking with your PLI provider just in case.
  • You are on the way to teaching in a school and your car scrapes the school entrance gates, causing damage. You are likely covered by PLI as it should cover you as you travel to work.
  • A student develops vision problems and says they are caused by poor lighting in your home teaching studio. - You may be covered by PLI. It would be difficult to prove that the student’s vision problems were caused by your home lighting, but if it could be proved, the student may have a claim. Some insurance claims are complicated, and it isn’t always immediately obvious how insurance will apply. If you believe you have a claim but the provider decides otherwise, there should be a process of appeal that you can follow.

Please note that Public Liability Insurance is also available direct from providers and through some other membership organisations. Terms and conditions apply – always read the policy.

MU’s PLI cover

Public Liability Insurance (PLI) is provided by the MU to its members to a limit of indemnity of £10 million per individual member. It is valid anywhere in the world provided you are resident in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The MU PLI cover protects musicians performing, rehearsing, auditioning or composing, either solo or as part of a group, band or orchestra, and/or whilst teaching or mentoring in the field of music. Members are covered by the MU’s PLI their own home or any other place, and in transit thereto and therefrom, including the setting up and dismantling of equipment.

MU members also benefit from other insurances including £3,000 worth of free musical instrument or equipment insurance, and £1 million professional indemnity insurance covering teaching and lecturing.

Not an MU member? Join the MU

Already an MU member? Download your PLI certificate

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