Primary/Non-Contributory Insurance Coverage


By Trevor Drake, “Insurance Professional”

Have you ever been notified by a venue that they MUST have primary / non-contributory language on your certificate of insurance? What does this mean to you, and what should you do? Let’s start with what it means, they want your insurance coverage to be “primary” and their coverage to be “non-contributory,” or in the event of a claim, your policy will pay for everything, and theirs will contribute nothing toward the claim.

This brings up some interesting issues with protecting your exposure from an insurance point of view. Such as, how can you and your insurance be expected to bear all of the liability responsibility for an event being held at their location? Will you have to defend them from a fall because of a frayed carpet of broken hand rail already existing in the facility before your show?

That is where having an experienced insurance broker will pay off big time. In the event, you are asked to provide primary / non-contributory language on your certificate, we will immediately request a copy of your contract with the venue, so we can be sure that there is an indemnity clause in the contract that will limit your liability exposure to your normal disc jockey activities. If it is determined that there is an adequate indemnity clause in your contract, we will have to add an endorsement to the policy that changes the policy language to allow for your coverage to be primary and theirs to be non-contributory. Since this endorsement must be added by the insurance company, they will charge an additional fee for the addition, ours is $50. Therefore, you will not be responsible for that frayed carpet or broken hand rail.

What’s that you say? You don’t have a contract with the venue. Well then you should NEVER agree to primary / non-contributory language unless the terms of the coverage are specifically spelled out in a legal contract. If you do agree without a proper legal contract, you may be left holding the bag for a claim that should have been the responsibility of the venue.

It is important to understand the terms of your contract and all of the responsibilities that go along with your contractual obligation, being a disc jockey is about a lot more than just playing great music and being electric on the mic, it takes a bit of business savvy as well, so if you don’t know something or understand something, ask someone about it, it’s a lot better to look inexperienced by asking the question than to be out of business for assuming that you know what it means.



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