Nowadays, if someone gets injured at an event or something is damaged at or near the event site, it’s likely that someone will be sued.
In order to protect themselves and spread the risk among all parties involved, facilities often require additional insurance and/or proof of insurance from service professionals and their clients.
Event sites and service professionals (such as caterers) are very aware of their potential liability and all have coverage of one kind or another. Many of the properties we represent will also require you, the renter, to get extra insurance.
What’s funny (or not so funny) is that as more and more event sites require extra liability and/or a certificate of insurance, fewer insurance companies are willing to issue either one—even if you’re covered under a homeowner’s policy. At this point, insurance carriers don’t want to attach extra clauses to your policy to increase coverage for a single event, and most, if not all, companies are unwilling to add the event site’s name to your existing policy as an additional insured.
Don’t despair. Even though it’s hard to come by, you can get extra insurance for a specified period of time, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
Obtaining Extra Insurance
- The first thing to do is read your rental contract carefully. Make sure you understand exactly what’s required and when it’s required. Most facilities want $1,000,000–2,000,000 in extra liability coverage. If you don’t pay attention to the insurance clauses early in the game, you’ll have to play catch-up at the last moment, frantically trying to locate a carrier who will issue you additional insurance. And, if you don’t supply the certificate to the facility on time, you may run the risk of forfeiting your event site altogether.
- The second thing is to ask your event site’s representative if the site has an insurance policy through which you can purchase the required extra coverage. If the answer is yes, then consider purchasing it—that’s the easiest route (but not necessarily the best!). The facility’s extra insurance coverage may not be the least expensive and it may not provide you with the best coverage. What you need to ask is: “If one of my guests or one of the professionals working at my event causes some damage to the premises or its contents, will this extra insurance cover it?” If the answer if yes, get it in writing.
- The third thing, if the answer is no, is to find your own coverage. We suggest you avoid random searches online and call one of these two insurance providers:
- WedSafe at 877/723-3933. This company insures weddings and private events. You can reach them at their toll-free number or online at wedsafe.com. They offer coverage for wedding cancellation and/or liability.
- R.V. Nuccio & Associates, Inc. at 800/567-2685 or http://www.rvnuccio.com. They specialize in insuring special events, and can send you a brochure detailing what’s offered.
Coverage starts at $95 for a wedding; the total cost will depend on what you want. Rob Nuccio’s coverage is underwritten by Fireman’s Fund.
Here are some of the items a typical policy might cover:
- Cancellation or postponement due to: weather, damage to the facility, sickness, failure to show of the caterer or officiant, financial reasons—even limited change-of-heart circumstances!
- Photography or videography: failure of the professional to appear, loss of original negatives, etc.
- Lost, stolen or damaged gifts
- Lost, stolen or damaged equipment rentals
- Lost, stolen or damaged bridal gown or other special attire
- Lost, stolen or damaged jewelry
- Personal liability and additional coverage
- Medical payments for injuries incurred during the event
If you use this service, call or email. to let us know whether you’re happy with them. We’d love to get your feedback.
It Can’t Happen To Me
Don’t be lulled into the notion that an event disaster can’t happen to you. It could rain when you least expect it. Or your well-intentioned aunt might melt your wedding dress while ironing out a few wrinkles. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your dress, wedding photos, equipment rentals and gifts are covered? Naturally, a New Year’s Eve party or a high school prom night is riskier than a wedding, but we could tell you stories of upscale parties where something did happen and a lawsuit resulted.
So even if extra insurance is not required, you may still want to consider additional coverage, especially if alcohol is being served. You are the best predictor of your guests’ behavior. If you plan on having a wild, wonderful event, a little additional insurance could be a good thing.