With sunny weather and warmer temperatures approaching, many businesses, schools, churches and other organizations sponsor special events.

The excitement for Spring and warmer temperatures will bring about all types of advertisements for races and marathons, festivals and concerts, or conferences and tradeshows.

If your business or organization is hosting one of these types of events, you know how much planning and effort goes into making the occasion safe and enjoyable for everyone.

As a result, you may be experiencing some common worries:

  • What happens if there’s damage to the property at the location of the event?
  • What happens if someone gets hurt at the event?
  • Are there any other unforeseen exposures?

Hosting special events and celebrations subjects the host to a variety of liabilities and business risks that must be considered to avoid costly litigation or other losses when something goes amiss.

Even with the most careful planning, unexpected situations can arise that you might not be prepared for.

Fortunately, with the appropriate insurance policy or policies, you can ease your concerns by preparing for any unforeseen events.

There are several types of coverages for events including Property Insurance, General Liability Insurance, Employer’s Liability Insurance and Event Cancellation Insurance.

Property Insurance

A property insurance policy protects equipment at events ranging from sophisticated audio-visual systems to folding chairs – whether it’s owned, borrowed or hired for the event. The policy generally covers property while in transit to-and-from the event as well as during the event.

Damaged, destroyed or lost property is reinstated on a “new-for-old” basis, meaning that it’s generally not appropriate for things like antiques, collectibles or other irreplaceable property.

Special Event General Liability Insurance

A Special Event General Liability insurance policy provides broad protection for situations in which an event holder or concessionaire must defend itself against lawsuits, or pay damages for bodily injury or property damage to third parties.

When alcohol is served without a transfer of money, the policy can also include host liquor liability. Limits and premiums vary greatly depending on the type of event and location.

  • An Additional Insured endorsement added to the policy provides protection to the venue and sponsors of the event. Commonly, facilities and venues require that all parties using the site name them as an Additional Insured on a general liability policy. In fact, the wording of the required additional insured endorsement is often included in the insurance requirement section of the facility use agreement signed with the venue.
  • A third-party property damage liability policy pays for damage, destruction or loss of property belonging to others while it’s in the care, custody or control of the policyholder.
  • Contractual liability is a legal obligation voluntarily assumed under the terms of a contract, as distinguished from liability imposed by the law (legal liability).
  • Automobile liability coverage pays for damages resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of a covered auto. This liability arises whenever you or your employees lease, hire, rent or borrow a vehicle for business reasons. If you do not normally use vehicles for business reasons but will be using one for an event, consider this type of coverage.
  • Liquor liability coverage is necessary if you are charging for alcoholic beverages at an event, or if a liquor license is required to distribute them. You may be held liable during the course of an event by reason of:
    • Causing or contributing to the intoxication of a person
    • Furnishing alcoholic beverages to a person under legal drinking age or under the influence of alcohol
    • Violating any statute, ordinance or regulation relating to the sale, gift distribution or use of alcoholic beverages.
  • Workers’ compensation coverage, which provides for medical, disability or death benefits to an employee who becomes ill or who is injured in the workplace, is required by most state laws. Many times, those considered “independent contractors” are considered employees under workers’ compensation law. Therefore, if you hire additional help as independent contractors for an event, consider this provision.
  • Employer’s Liability Insurance, which is generally a part of workers’ compensation policies, protects your business against lawsuits due to employment related injuries or illnesses attributed to alleged employer negligence.

Cancellation Insurance

Similar to business interruption insurance in other industries, Cancellation or Event Insurance policies are essential to preventing serious financial consequences in case of an event’s cancellation.

These policies can be useful even when the event is not entirely cancelled; expenditures due to unforeseen circumstances (such as alternate forms of transportation to the event during inclement weather) are generally covered, as well.

The policy generally covers all perils that are beyond the control of the event’s host, including inclement weather, a speaker dropping out, strikes or disease outbreak. In some cases, the same policy can cover multiple events.

Policies are less expensive if they’re purchased far in advance, and premiums range depending on the time of year, the type of event, and the level of environmental risk in the surrounding geographic area.


When preparing for an event, it’s easy to focus on the planning and flawless execution, yet sometimes situations arise that no one saw coming.

Whatever your event, chances are that your regular insurance policy will not cover all of your exposures. We can help you design a Special Event Insurance policy that will cover your particular activities, or you can apply online to find out the cost.

While you focus on planning a safe and enjoyable event, let us worry about any unforeseen exposures. Contact one of our Licensed Insurance Advisors today to get started, or apply for Event Insurance online.