What could go wrong? That is often the question we ask when we are planning a special event, especially if we have invested a considerable amount of time and resources.
Even if you don’t necessarily believe in Murphy’s Law — the idea that if something can go wrong, it will — we certainly subscribe to the idea that when planning a special event, having the right protection in place is a must … just in case.
The challenge is that every special event is, in its own way, unique. So, it’s next to impossible to plan for every contingency. Special event coverage provides peace of mind in knowing that most potential risks are covered and your financial investment is protected.
So, What Could Go Wrong?
Your special event could be disrupted or canceled by bad weather, no-shows by important planned attendees, withdrawal of sponsorship, even illness or military deployment of key participants.
Accidental injuries, for which an organizer might be held liable, are not uncommon — nor are vandalism, damage or collapse of temporary structures, liquor liability injuries, theft of personal property, and failure of contractors to meet their commitments, such as a no-show by a wedding photographer or the band.
What Is Special Event Insurance?
It’s usually a short-term, one-off policy that provides protection against financial losses that can arise from a wide variety of possible incidents at an event, including the aforementioned scenarios.
That financial protection can include medical costs, legal costs (including lawsuit defense and settlement), loss of non-refundable deposits, repair costs and the net cost of admission refunds.
Policies are subject to specific limits, which can vary depending on the nature of the event. These limits are usually calculated based on the overall budget, number of days and attendees. And, when making a claim, a deductible is usually payable by the insured before the policy kicks in.
Many elements are covered within the terms of the main liability insurance policy, but endorsements for particular additional coverages are available.
For example, an organizer might be required to buy what’s called a waiver of subrogation, which prevents an insurer from suing a third party, such as the owner of the hosting property. The owner may insist an organizer provides this protection.
There are also exclusions in some policies. For instance, it’s unlikely to repay honeymoon costs after a canceled wedding or to cover the theft of wedding gifts (though this might be covered under a homeowner’s policy — see below).
What Type of Events Does Insurance Cover?
You can get special event insurance for many types of occasions, from weddings and family parties to business celebrations, conventions and ticketed activities like festivals.
For large events, there are usually limits on the maximum number of attendees, which is often pegged at around 10,000 to 12,000.
Other restrictions can include a stipulation that multi-day events most be held on consecutive days and that all events should be at the same, single location.
You can buy coverage as an individual or on behalf of an organization.
Do I Need Special Event Insurance?
Special event insurance premiums are usually quite low so, in most cases, it would be crazy not to have protection in place.
If you are considering special event coverage, please contact us and your agent will be able to tell you what your current policy covers or what level of additional protection you may need.
Venues and vendors may also have their own insurance coverage so you (or your agent) will need to check this with them.
On the other hand, property owners who do not provide their own coverage will usually insist that you have special event insurance before they will sign a rental agreement. They may also require their name to be added to your policy as an additional insured.
The important point about special event insurance is that, in most cases, it should be customized for the particular occasion because the risks can vary dramatically from one event to another.
The same goes for the level of financial protection.
How Can I Get Special Event Insurance?
It’s important to secure your special event insurance as early as possible – certainly before you start paying deposits and other initial costs. Otherwise, you may find that any subsequent claim for recovering these costs might be difficult.
As for Murphy’s Law, we hope it doesn’t strike at your special event. But, just in case, please be prepared!