Event planning insurance operates on a principle familiar to top-notch event planners: Plan for the best, but always be prepared for the worst.
You already do this. Thanks to your careful wedding planning, for example, the bride’s dress is perfect on the big day. But when a small dog plants its grassy paws on the dress during pictures, your otherwise-invisible preparation saves the day. You open your go-bag for white towels, a stain stick, rubbing alcohol, baby powder, and chalk—and erase the mark in moments.
Event planning insurance operates on the same principle. The unforeseen can happen despite the best possible planning. Having insurance all zipped up in your ‘go-bag’ means that you are prepared and protected—no matter the unwanted circumstances impacting your business and events. Read on to learn the types of insurance you may need and the protection they provide.
Discover the event planning insurance your business needs
1. Event planning liability insurance
Liability insurance protects you financially if you’re sued for personal injury or property damage.
With liability insurance, if a guest or worker gets hurt or someone’s valuable possessions are damaged at your event, a lawsuit over these issues won’t drain every cent from your coffers and put you out of business. A liability insurance policy covers lawyers’ fees and any money awarded to the plaintiff.
Consider a client’s garden party where a glass pitcher of water slipped and shattered on the tile floor—not an accident you could lose your business over. But while you grabbed towels to soak up the water and an employee swept up the glass, a guest slipped in the water, fell, and broke his wrist in several places. This guest could feasibly come after your business to recoup his medical expenses.
Or, let’s say you caught that tilting pitcher of water just before it fell—but knocked over a valuable marble statue in the process. Your client might not want to swallow the lost value of that statue, opting instead to recoup it from your business.
It’s your responsibility to take every precaution to ensure a safe event, such as following best practices for event safety and layout design, but an event completely free of risks is impossible. Liability insurance covers you when rare accidents happen.
Corporate event planners have legal teams to ensure proper coverage at all times and for various events. However, if you run your own business, you need to be your own legal team. Look into event planning liability insurance, as a protection for your business and to ensure you can work with the many venues that require the coverage. Like the cost of car insurance, it’s an expense that is well worth it when you consider the alternatives.
2. Event planning professional liability insurance
Professional liability insurance protects you financially if you’re sued by clients who are dissatisfied with your work. This type of insurance is sometimes called ‘errors and omissions insurance’, and in some industries it’s called ‘malpractice insurance’.
It’s important to understand that a lawsuit can drain your company’s funds equally effectively whether or not you are at fault for a mistake, and whether or not the suit has merit.
For example, let’s say a client just didn’t like your work: the balloons were the wrong shade of mauve and they file a lawsuit claiming you didn’t fulfill your contractual obligations. Professional liability insurance covers the fees for the lawyer you must now hire to get their unmerited case thrown out of court.
Or, more seriously, let’s say you missed the deadline for a venue deposit and the venue booked another event for that time-slot. Meanwhile, nonrefundable deposits for DJs, caterers, and florals were already made. Your client could bring a lawsuit to reclaim that lost money from your business. Professional liability insurance covers the legal fees for the lawsuit and court costs, as well as any damages the judge awards the client.
Nobody likes to think about having dissatisfied, litigious clients. But the truth is that planners often help people plan for important personal milestones and celebrations. When things go wrong, emotions can be very strained, and a lawsuit can land in your lap out of the blue.
3. Event planning liquor liability insurance
This type of insurance protects you against personal injury and property damage claims when people have been drinking at an event.
If someone who has been drinking leaves the venue, gets in a fight, and injures someone, liquor liability insurance protects your business against a claim for the injured person’s medical bills. Same thing if an attendee runs their car into a fence on the way home from an event—your business won’t be on the hook for the cost of a new fence.
There are two kinds of liquor liability insurance policies. Full policies are for venues like bars and restaurants that serve alcohol frequently. Event planners usually need the second type, known as host policies, which are designed for venues where alcohol is served occasionally, but not as a matter of routine.
4. Hired and non-owned auto insurance
This type of insurance protects you against lawsuits for personal injury or property damage when an employee is driving for work. It covers vehicles that aren’t owned by the business: rental cars, buses, and employees’ personal vehicles.
You are also an employee of your business—this policy also covers you. “But wait,” you may say. “I’m driving my own car, and I already have auto insurance. I don’t need this!” Not so fast. Personal auto insurance generally does not cover driving for business purposes. If you’re driving your own car on the way to a site visit or an event, and get into an accident, this is the insurance policy that will provide financial protection.
Help your clients make smart event insurance choices
Creating events is a partnership between planner and client, and your clients also need the protection provided by event insurance and event cancellation insurance. For events held on your client’s property, direct them to speak with their homeowners, rental, or property insurance provider to make sure the coverage is sufficient if an injury or property damage occurs.
For events held off the client’s property (a wedding in a city garden, a company event in a historic building, a networking meeting at a hotel), homeowners and property insurance won’t cover damage or injury. Your clients will need short-term event insurance to cover the event. As their advisor, get acquainted with reliable insurance providers in a range of price-points and have the contact information of go-to agents on hand to share with clients.
Let your clients know event insurance generally starts under $200 and goes up from there, with the price varying depending on event type, size, activities, length, and other factors.
Your clients will also need event cancellation insurance. This covers financial losses when extreme weather, hospitalizations, and vendor no-shows force a cancellation of the event. The insurance does not, however, cover factors such as cold feet at a wedding or low ticket sales for a fundraiser.
How to find the right event insurance plans?
Insurance isn’t likely a favorite task or topic of conversation—for you or your clients. But getting insurance plans in place to protect your business and your clients from liability is essential. Here are some search tips to keep in mind as you decide on your insurance provider:
- Accessibility. For some people, having a walk-in office and an agent to speak with face to face when choosing coverage or navigating a claim is important.
- Specialization. Most insurance companies cover events. But if you run a small planning company, an agency specializing in small businesses may be ideal. Some companies may also specialize in event coverage in your area.
- Cost. It’s simple—you need coverage with premiums that stay within your budget.
- Reviews. Explore online customer reviews and consumer guides that cover insurance. Pay attention to whether the consumer review site makes money when you link to an insurance company through them. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but the most trustworthy sites are transparent about their business model.
- Word of mouth. Talk with trusted mentors in the business about their experiences with insurance companies to help you narrow your choices.
Hopefully you’ll never have to make a claim, but with your insurance in order you can focus without worry on the fun stuff—planning outstanding events.
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