Event Insurance 101

November 9, 2023

You’ve Nailed Every Single Aspect of Your Big Day….But What About Event Insurance?

Planning a big event can be daunting.  Let’s be real, that is why a whole industry of event planners and meeting organizers even exists.  But your organization skills are on point.  Your to do list literally accounted for everything: Venue, Catering, Tables, Entertainment, Party Favors and Insurance.  Wait! What?  Insurance?? What does that even mean?

It is that little paragraph in your venue rental agreement titled "Insurance Requirements" that threw you for a loop and put your perfect party spot in jeopardy.

What are they asking for?

The venue wants to be protected in case something goes wrong and is asking for a general liability policy for the event. This is to protect you and them in case someone gets hurt or damage is done to their facility during the course of your event.

What will it cost?

It depends on the size of your event, the specifics,  and the venue’s requested terms. The Event Helper is the industry leader in special event insurance and provides a resource for wedding couples with insurance policies for as little as $67 for a small wedding. The cost will go up from there depending on the type and size of the event. A trade show expecting 250 people will cost around $125. A 70’s music concert expecting 2500 people will cost around $400.

Why are they asking for it?

It is all about protection.  While the venue more than likely has their own insurance, they (and their insurance carrier) would much rather file a claim on a policy in the name of the person responsible. If you are the event organizer, you're responsible for most everything that happens at the event. 

It says they want to be Additional Insured. Huh?

Yep. As the Additional Insured (also Certificate Holder), the venue has protection from claims due to the event. You can have multiple Additional Insureds. If your ceremony is happening at one location and the reception at another, you will need to list both venues as Additional Insured.

That little paragraph says "Primary and Non-Contributory wording required". What is that?

This is an additional policy endorsement that will make your policy primary in the case of any shared liability. It is typically combined with a Waiver of Subrogation(a contractual provision whereby an insured waives the right of their insurance carrier to go after a negligent third party)and will add to the cost of the policy. Basically, it means your general liability policy is prevented from seeking money from the venue even if the injury was partially the venue's fault. 

Nothing is going to happen! Why do I need this?

Hopefully nothing will happen…..but why take the risk of ruining your big day?  The wedding couple whose groomsman left the plug open at the bottom of the cooler and caused $10,000 in damage to a historic hardwood floors at their venue said the exact same thing!  The birthday party organizer whose uncle slipped on some spilled wine and broke his wrist said the same thing! You get the idea. Nobody expects it but things happen.  You don't want to be left with financial hardship just because of an unforeseeable incident at your event.

If the incident is because someone drank too much, is there coverage?

Most general liability insurance policies include Host Liquor Liability.  This is totally sufficient for the event organizer who plans to have alcohol at their event, but isn’t in the business of selling, serving, manufacturing or distributing. If you hire a professional bartender to do the serving, make sure they have their own liability coverage (not the same as liquor license). If they don't, you will more than likely need to get it for them to be sufficiently covered for claims arising out of alcohol consumption.

The bartender should have general liability? Should my caterer?

Yes, any vendor who could be responsible for guest injury or damage to the venue really should have their own coverage. Many venues even require proof. General liability is all about who was liable. If your DJ decides to spray blue confetti while the bubble machine is going, he or she will have to cover the blue stained carpet that needs to be replaced. If the DJ can't cover it, the venue is going to look to you for payment and your insurance more than likely won't cover it.

What isn't covered by event general liability?

Be sure to read the terms and conditions which will include exclusions such as intentional injury (assault & battery), theft, athletic participants, volunteers, employees and auto exposures. You may also have to remove the mosh pit or pyrotechnics from your list of possible activities. 

Will this Event Insurance cover us if we have to cancel or if something else goes wrong?

No. General Liability intends to cover injury or damage you cause to someone or something else. It does not cover things that happen to you or your stuff. If a guest spills champagne all over the laptop you brought to organize the seating chart, you may be able to file that claim with your Homeowner’s policy. Cancellation coverage is its own thing and there are  policies available that will reimburse lost expenses due to cancellation. 

There are so many more fun and beautiful things to think about when planning an event. Please let us help you check this item off your list so you can move on to taste-testing appetizers!

Feel free to contact us at (855) 493-8368, or visit us at www.theeventhelper.com

This information is provided to assist you in understanding the coverage being offered and does not modify the terms and conditions of any insurance policy, nor imply a claim is covered. Specific coverage terms vary by class of business. See your policy for full details.