Transport insurance

Transport insurance is designed to protect equipment on tours and art works during transport between sites. In fact, most cases of damage occur during transport and loading and unloading. 

An additional insurance for artists or creatives is not necessary in many cases because the different types of insurances sometimes overlap: Exhibition insurances in line with the industry standard „from nail to nail“ include transport. Musical instrument insurance also already includes the risk of transportation. Professional shipping companies are usually commissioned with large-scale transports and such companies also insure items during transportation. 

What has to be taken into account in case of independent transports? 

An designer transports his own works to Spain by car for a six-week exhibition and also picks them up again. The five works are worth a total of 20,000 euros. At the exhibition site, the works are insured via the organizer.   

The designer can independently insure the transport by purchasing a transport insurance policy. When purchasing the policy, he must state what kind of objects he would like to transport to allow calculation of the individual insurance premium.  

The designer will have to consider whether the value of the works and the amount insured are proportional in a way that makes the policy worthwhile. This is often not the case, especially when an artist is still at the beginning of his/her career: Selling prices will be used to determine the amount insured, which can thus be correspondingly low. 

The designer should also take into account what requirements the insurance has for packing and stowaging the objects. If the requirements are very demanding, the insurance may not be liable in case of damage. 

A freelance German musician drives to Spain via France with a rental car. In her car are her saxophone, the double bass of a colleague, and rented amplifiers. The car and all its contents are stolen during the day at a highway service station.  

Legally, the musician is not at fault. A tacit exclusion of liability can be assumed to apply to the transport she agreed to carry out at no charge. Financial compensation would only be provided if the transport was insured. What happens in the event of damage or loss should be discussed in advance. 


  • In case of performances by a theater group or band in the evening, it is advisable to make sure that storage of equipment in the car/truck is insured even after 10 p.m. The so-called night-time clause greatly restricts the adjustment of claims between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and should not be included in the contract. However, exclusion of this clause usually increases the premium significantly (by about 25%). 

  • Transport insurance will replace the value of the stolen items in case of theft. 

  • Protection for transports to Eastern European countries is generally very costly or – depending on the insurer – not even possible. Some rental car companies exclude travel to certain countries (see Transport and customs, Rental cars).

An artist in Germany mails three works on paper to Switzerland. The works are worth a total of 1,000 euros. To what extent do transport companies and shipping services insure such shipments?  

The amount can be insured at an additional charge. If this is required frequently, for example, if the artist regularly sends works by mail, he/she can purchase (annual) special protection, i.e. regular insurance with a minimum term of one year. This is cheaper than individual insurance through the shipping company.  

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