A guide to events insurance
Compare public liability insurance for events, whether you’re planning a one-off coffee morning, or an annual music festival.
- Employers’ liability is still a legal requirement for events staff, even if they’re only volunteering and not on the payroll
- Take extra care assembling tents and marquees – if a pop-up venue collapses and your handiwork is at fault, the insurer may not pay out
- If one of your suppliers tells you they’re about to go out of business, take notice. The insurer may not reimburse you for lost revenue if they don’t fulfil their contract but warned you prior to the event
Quiz nights, conferences, exhibitions, charity balls, Christmas markets and farmers’ markets - build it and the paying public will come.
As the organiser, you’re responsible for:
- The safety and security of the paying public and staff
- The equipment, venue and staging of your event
And likely much more, depending on the theme, location and capacity of your event.
As every event planner knows, ‘the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry’, so investing in events insurance is a disaster-aversion strategy worth having.
Cheaper events insurance quotes
A business insurance policy may include events insurance, so before you buy a standalone events insurance policy, check your paperwork.
The right cover will offer good value for money, but protect your event in unexpected situations, for instance:
- Adverse weather conditions, even if your event takes place inside
- Theft, fire or loss
- Abandonment, or non-appearance
- Injury and illness
And you may be able to buy:
- One-off event insurance
- Multiple events insurance
- Annual event insurance
But as ever, there are loopholes and pitfalls you should be aware of, if you’re tempted to buy the cheapest policy going.
Public liability covers you financially if:
- A member of the public is injured at the event
- They die as a result of your business
- Their property is damaged or destroyed
If you’re summoned to court to answer a public liability claim, the events insurance policy may pay for legal counsel and the claimant’s expenses, plus damages if they win the claim.
However, if you were touting a dangerous activity that your insurer wasn’t aware of, and there weren’t proper safety precautions in place, your policy probably won’t pay out following a public liability claim.
And there are often niche clauses that exempt your event from cover.
For instance, if your gig is outside, manage the landowner’s expectations in writing. If guests excessively trample the grass and damage the aesthetic of a field, the cost of reseeding the lawn and repairing the land isn’t usually covered.
Similarly, if guests use a static loo and flush something they shouldn’t, damage to the pipes or plumbers’ fees aren’t usually covered.
Need more information?
What about if one paying guest injures another?
You have a duty of care to protect your guests, so speak to the insurer about getting that extra level of cover if you’re serving alcohol, or there are physical activities planned.
Your premium may be calculated based on the number of visitors attending your event, and take into consideration the duration of your event.
Whether you’re taking on paid staff or recruiting volunteers, you need insurance to keep them safe – this one’s a legal requirement.
You need a minimum cover level of £5 million to help you pay compensation and associated costs if your employees are injured or fall ill while at work.
The cost of your cover may be calculated based on the number of staff you have. So if you’re employing a greater number of helpers, the risk of injury increases and therefore your premium may be higher.
Banging sound systems, moving lighting rigs and 70s disco dance floors are bound to entice the punters.
if you have staff or volunteers, employers' liability insurance is a legal requirement, so you'll need to make sure you're covered
What if the gear breaks, gets lost in transit, or stolen?
Events insurance usually protects hired or owned equipment for:
- Accidental damage
But, if you’re hiring gear, check your paperwork – not every insurer will cover hire props, covers and marquees that get damaged on the job. But others may foot the bill if the hire company charges you.
Be wary that if kit’s left lying around and unsecured. Your policy may not pay out if it gets stolen.
There must be evidence of malicious intent, or obvious violent entry to the premises where the gear’s stored.
And be warned: if you don’t assemble tents, marquees and other technical gear correctly and they collapse, the insurer won’t usually pay out.
If you hire equipment and, so you don’t have to touch the gear, an operations member of staff comes as part of the package, you still need insurance in case a mishap at the venue damages the third-party property.
Let’s call the whole thing off!
Cancelling is a last resort, but sometimes you’ll have no alternative.
- Your keynote speaker has pulled out and they were the main ticket seller
- The pipes burst and your venue’s flooded
- Terrible weather washes out an outdoor event
- An act of terrorism forces you to make a quick decision
Let’s face it, anything could happen.
If you have events insurance, sales aren’t irrecoverable if you’ve got cancellation cover.
Be aware that some situations will require a specialist policy, and that inevitably means a higher premium.
In the small print, look out for ‘abandonment’, ‘postponement’ or ‘curtailment’ cover to see what protection is available to you.
You just can’t get the staff
Get all contractor agreement in writing, so if they pull the rug from under your feet and cancel, you’re covered.
If a contractor makes you aware of insolvency or bankruptcy and you know it’s going to have an impact on your business agreement, don’t plough ahead on a hope and a prayer.
The insurer may not be able to support you if the caterer, entertainment or construction crew does indeed become insolvent and breaches their contract.
Your health takes a dive
If you take out the policy and have a pre-existing medical condition and because of your illness the event is called off, that too will invalidate the policy.
The venue’s on its last legs
The venue was an absolute bargain, but it’s in need of a lot of TLC…
If you’re aware that the venue is structurally unsound or there are safety concerns, and the event is cancelled as a result, that will also scupper any hope of a successful claims.
It’s June and that can mean only one thing – a British wedding in the great outdoors.
Lightning strikes the tipi three times, the campsite floods and Celebrant Pat’s got black eye from a billowing yurt flap - what a damp squib.
Thankfully, events insurance usually contains a clause about the impact of bad weather, both indoors and out.
For instance, if flooding causes havoc at your local church fete – damaging equipment, or furniture, preventing or stopping installation entirely – the policy may pay out for cancellation.
If the met office forecasts hell and high water seven days prior to the event, you can’t buy adverse weather insurance because the risk is likely, and the insurer isn't obliged to pay out.
You may be able to purchase weather insurance 14 days prior to the first day of the event though.