In a perfect world, all the time and care you put into planning a luxurious launch party, a spectacular Sweet 16, a wonderful wedding, would be paid back in spades with a celebration that goes off without a hitch, from delicious food to sunny weather.
Unfortunately, as we all know too well, the world is fiercely imperfect.
There’s a certain amount of risk involved with planning an event, particularly when they’re of the higher-cost variety. You’re depending on vendors, on guests of honor, sometimes on nature itself. And to put everything in place, you generally have to commit to expenditures that leave you little wiggle room.
Sure, your big 50th anniversary party venue might grant a refund if a tree takes out the banquet space, but what about the caterers who’ve arranged their schedule around your shindig? What about the photographer, the bartenders? Anything with multiple moving pieces — all of which require deposits and contracts — can get complicated.
This is where special event insurance comes into play.
Let’s say you’re looking to introduce your new business to the community with a major private party — dozens of VIPs, upscale food, high-end cocktails, in-house paparazzi. And let’s say, oh, you come down with appendicitis the day before the event. Or the day-of, your caterer seems to fall off the earth. Unexpected things happen, and unexpected things can put you in a difficult position.
Special event insurance, meanwhile, is meant as a hedge against those possibilities. Depending on your policy, you can get protected against a myriad curveballs, from cancellations to postponements to rush charges from last-minute replacement vendors.
Examples of what special event insurance policies might cover:
— deposits lost in the event of cancellation or postponement, from bakers and decorators to rental cars
— lost/damaged gifts
— lost/damaged jewelry (like wedding rings)
— lost event photos, due to a missing vendor or damaged files
Most policies include liability, covering damage to the venue/injury to guests, which many venues will require. (This is really the major thing to consider, as far as insurance goes. What if someone gets hurt in the bouncy house? Is alcohol being served at the reception? Most venues will give you their insurance requirements, and you explore from there.)
The good news: special event insurance is not prohibitively expensive
The cost of special event insurance policies obviously varies, but it usually starts in the low hundreds. And while yet another expenditure can be frustrating, I’d argue that the protection is well worth it.
An example: This piece from insurance industry publication Rough Notes offers good insight into just how wrong things can go with event planning, from small trade shows getting waylaid by weather to performers leaving the stage and shutting down a show.
Different kinds of event insurance for different kinds of events
The standard special event insurance I’m talking about above is suitable for all kinds of private functions — anything from baby showers to 100th birthday parties.
Those policies aren’t suitable, however, for most public events, like sporting events or festivals, or even bachelor or bachelorette parties.
There’s still insurance to be had for those events (and again, venues tend to require it); that would just fall under a slightly different umbrella, usually called commercial general liability insurance, sometimes short-term liability insurance.
Those policies are specifically geared for the liability needs that come up when you’re dealing with the public and contracted employees — crime, liquor liability, worker’s comp and the like, plus cancellation/weather and other standard planning-a-big-thing concerns.
There are usually limits associated with all of these policies — attendance numbers, days the event is held, etc. — that’ll complicate things further.
Confused yet? I know the details can get intense, but it’s why independent insurance brokers like me are around. I’ve studied this stuff extensively, and helped many private and public event wranglers find the right policy options to protect their big day(s).
If you’re about to dig into planning something exciting — whether it’s your wedding or your parents’ golden anniversary — I’d love to help you protect your investment, and keep a celebration from turning into a major financial bummer.
Give me a call, or send me an email, and tell me about what you’re planning. I’ll go over the types of insurance policies that’ll make sense, and what your options are.
Here’s another easy way to get started: Get a special event insurance quote online at TuckerCoverage.com.
Have non-event related insurance needs? I can help with that too. We handle everything from home and renters insurance to life insurance. Just reach out and let me know what you need.