Ashley Baxter

Event Insurance: A Guide to Cost, Coverage, and Claims

Having worked in the insurance industry for 12 years, I've seen some gnarly situations and they all have one thing in common; nobody saw them coming.

Too many people think insurance is a box to be checked; something that doesn't merit much consideration or research.

I don't blame those people. Insurers do a terrible job of communicating with their customers, preferring to litter their policy documents with jargon instead of phrases we understand. This means most people buy insurance without actually knowing what they're covered for.

That's why I’m bringing event insurance to your attention.

It may seem like there are more important factors to think about when organising an event like choosing the ideal location, spreading the word and getting bums on seats…

Insurance is usually an afterthought, if any thought is given to it at all. For that reason, I'm on a mission to get people to realise the importance of insurance and build it into their budget from day one.

I'm going to break down why an event would need insurance, what the key covers are, and how much you can expect to pay. Best of all, I'm going to do it by speaking like a human.

Why Would There Be a Need for Event Insurance?

Whether it's for a car or an event, all types of insurance exist to put you back in the same financial position after a loss as you were in before the loss happened. It's a buffer for the unexpected. You're exchanging the uncertainty of loss for the certainty of a lower, fixed cost.

If we take events, there could be an accident on your event premises or a disaster that results in attendees not turning up.

There are many possible scenarios. Insurance is designed to protect you financially if any of them occur.

'Event insurance' is an umbrella term for different types of cover. Let's look at some of the key covers in the event insurance space:

1) Event Cancellation Insurance

This is the meatiest cover of the event insurance umbrella.

Event cancellation provides cover for your net loss following the necessary and unavoidable cancellation, abandonment, disruption or rescheduling of the event for reasons beyond your control and the control of the participants. 

Insurers have a tendency to talk legal jargon, so let's break this down in English:

If your event doesn't go ahead, has to be rescheduled, or attendance is disrupted due to a cause outside of your control, event cancellation can cover the cost of:

  • marketing and promotional expenses if the event has to be rescheduled
  • replacement speaker fees
  • reimbursement for reduced attendance
  • compensation to participants for a reduction in quality of the event due to a disruption
  • reimbursement if your event is cancelled or abandoned

blue bandaids.pngSounds handy, right? If something causes your event to be rescheduled, disrupted or cancelled altogether, you'd take a big hit financially. Event cancellation exists to prevent that from happening. Simple!

These are just some of the features. All policies differ, so you'll have to consult your own insurer or policy documents.

An important caveat to note is that this insurance would only spring into action when it's a cause beyond your control. You can't be lazy with ticket sales then decide to make a claim on your policy for reduced attendance.

2) Public Liability Insurance

Public liability provides cover for damages which you become legally responsible to pay following claims made against you for acts of proven negligence arising during the course of the event resulting in bodily injury and/or property damage.

If this insurance sounds familiar, it's because your home or business insurance may also include public liability.

It's a pretty simple cover and will insure you against:

  • loss of or destruction to property
  • bodily injury as result of an accident
  • defence costs

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Hosting your event on third-party premises like exhibition centres, cinemas and conference halls means you have a duty of care. If you cause damage to third-party property, public liability will cover the damages.

And, if someone was unfortunate enough to sustain an injury whilst participating in your event, public liability will pay the compensation.

For that reason, it's an important cover to have when using third-party property and dealing with members of the public (attendees, exhibitors or delegates).

3) Employers Liability Insurance

Employers liability provides cover for damages which you become legally responsible to pay following bodily injury sustained by employees during the course of the event.

If you think this sounds similar to public liability, that's because it is! Instead of injury to members of the public, this is specifically for your employees. It covers:

  • bodily injury to employees
  • defence costs

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This is the only insurance under the event umbrella that's a legal requirement if you employ people.

Do I Really Need It?

Most of the policies we've arranged at With Jack have been as a result of the venue requiring that there be insurance in place. A lot of venues won't host your event unless you have proof of insurance.

However, it's a smart move to exchange the uncertainty of a disaster outside of your control for the certainty of a fixed price. There's so much to think about when organising an event, it's best to pass off any nasty surprises to your insurer.

You're probably wondering how much insurance costs. It depends on a few factors such as turnover, attendance and type of event. However, most of the policies we've arranged have cost between £200 and £500. This concerns events with a couple hundred attendees, up to several thousand.

That wasn't so scary, was it? Whilst there are a number of factors you'd rather think about, insurance isn't something to duck and dive around. If that accident or disruption does happen and you’re not covered correctly, you’ll wish you had got yourself protected.

Ashley Baxter is building With Jack, business insurance on a first name basis. She likes video games, photography, and her dog, Indie. She is based in Glasgow, Scotland.

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