How Do I Get Insurance for a One Day Event?

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Even the most refined events can face unexpected calamity.
Even the most refined events can face unexpected calamity. (Image: Mayabun/iStock/Getty Images)

If your business is holding a wine tasting to launch its new wines, or your nonprofit is putting on a fashion show to raise money, there's probably a lot on your mind, including adding insurance to protect against any mishap at your event that could result in a claim. Commercial insurance typically doesn't cover one-day events, but event liability insurance does. The process to get such insurance isn't too complicated.

Check Existing Coverage

It's best to begin the search for event insurance several weeks before it's needed, or as soon as you pay any deposits, as underwriting for a tailored policy could be complicated and lengthy. Ask the insurance agent who provides your commercial insurance what coverage, if any, your existing policy might provide for a one-day event and what additional insurance you'll need. If your current insurance agent can't provide event insurance, you can search online for insurance agencies that do. Trusted Choice, a brand representing members of Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, recommends contacting an independent insurance agent to avoid the search for a variety of insurance quotes on your own. Independent agents work with many insurance companies, so they can quickly pull together information for apples-to-apples comparisons.

Consider All the Angles

When you choose a company, make sure it has a rating of at least A-minus from A.M Best, a global insurance credit rating agency. An event liability policy protects against bodily injury and property damage claims that an attendee might file as a result of mishaps such as illness from undercooked food or a car accident in an icy parking lot. An attendee could even file a claim if he feels he didn't receive what the event's advertising promised. Insurance policies will offer varying features and exclusions. There are standard policies, but you can purchase one that is tailored to your event. If your nonprofit holds a 5k fundraiser, for example, you might add medical malpractice coverage to protect against claims arising from the race's first aid station.

Make a List

An insurance agency will need certain information to write an effective policy and determine cost. Such information includes the nature, length and location of the event; planned activities; number of participants; and if liquor will be sold. Other questions include whether there will be activities that can cause injury, if motorized vehicles or equipment will be involved, if food will be sold, if outside venders will have their own insurance, and what liability limits you'd like. If you rent a facility for your event, the owner might require you to name him as an "additional insured." This means he's given defense and indemnity against claims under your policy without having to pay the premium.

Looking at Costs

The cost of insurance for a one-day nonhazardous event is frequently a few hundred dollars. The longer the event takes place, the more activities planned and the total anticipated attendance, the more expensive insurance will be. Cost will, of course, also depend on the policy and liability limits selected. Sandra B. Haley, vice president for underwriting at Hospitality Mutual Insurance Co., recommends having limits of between $1 million and $2 million, which is likely to cost approximately $450 for a policy.

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