Special Event Insurance: Yay or Nay?

With only three months to go until the Big Day, I am frequently checking, double-checking, reassessing, and evaluating our wedding check-list. Today’s topic is one that G and I initially considered when deciding on a venue, and are circling back to now that time has ripened: special event insurance.

Now special event insurance was a relatively unknown subject for the two of us. In my winery experience, I simply submitted a request to TTB for the date of my special event and our licensing took care of the rest. Outside in my own private event, though, things don’t seem to be so simple. We weren’t sure what kind of event insurance was needed, what was covered, how to get it, and if we truly needed it. So G took to the phone and I took to Google to clarify. For any other couple out there planning their own wedding, here is what we found:

First thing’s first: what is special event insurance? Event insurance is an insurance policy that may help protect your investment in a specific event (in my case, I’m going to specify a wedding.) I am no insurance-guru, but this was pretty straight-forward. Think of special event insurance as providing general liability and offering additional protection such as liquor liability and event cancellation. Event insurance may help cover costs if you unexpectedly need to cancel your event or if you’re found responsible for property damage or injury caused during the wedding celebration.

Event liability coverage may help protect you if you’re found responsible for property damage or an injury caused during your wedding. If the band you hired damages a wall with their gear, for example, this coverage may help pay for repairs. Some policies also cover incidents caused by your guests. So if someone gets a little wild on the dance floor and trips a waiter as he walks by, event liability coverage may help pay for medical expenses resulting from an injury. Be sure to read your policy proposal to find out what kinds of situations your liability does and does not cover.

Some special event coverage may also reimburse you for lost deposits and other fees should something unexpected force you to delay or cancel your wedding. If your photographer quits suddenly, you’ll likely be covered for the cost of the lost deposit and potentially unexpected charges from having to book another photographer at the last minute. If your officiant breaks his leg the day before your wedding and you’re forced to postpone, this coverage may help cover any fees associated with rescheduling the venue, caterer and other vendors. Again, review your policy to see if cancellation costs are included in your coverage.

In a society where litigation runs rampant (seriously, look at the news — there’s a lawsuit for everything nowadays), it’s best to protect yourself in every case. Especially when considering worst-case scenarios at your wedding. And when you’re in charge, this is even more important!

For being the event planner of my own wedding, I’m the top of the chain when it comes to responsibility in case someone has an accident and sues. I’ve heard horror stories when I worked in the wedding industry of drunk guests committing a basic slip-and-fall during an event and turning around to sue everyone — the venue, production company, catering company, bride and groom even. So insuring my wedding is a safety net.

Plus, event insurance is not just for my own protection. In this case, it will also benefit my godparents, whose private residence we are hosting our reception. Even if you are not the key event planner of your wedding and are hosting your wedding at a venue, most vendors will require event insurance. This is something to keep in mind for any wedding!

When you begin looking at event insurance, you may feel overwhelmed — I sure did! There are numerous terms tossed around like “general liability” or “additional insured” and it’s hard to know what is right for you.

In short, general liability is the simplest to understand as it provides broad coverage for your wedding. The majority of my research showed that most venues and vendors seek $1,000,000 general liability coverage, so this is a safe place to begin.

To add more, I highly recommend calling your own personal insurance agent and speaking to them about possibilities. They are the experts and in the business, right? So why not trust their advice! If your insurance does not already cover special events, then your agent may be able to direct you to a carrier who does. This is the route G and I took, and were directed to EventHelper.com.

EventHelper truly was a help when it came to accessing a quote. After a few questions (mostly on our wedding’s expectations and criteria), we were given a quote and able to purchase the policy right away.

For our 200 person outdoor wedding which will have alcoholic beverages available (but no guns, inflatable bounce houses,  llamas, overnight accommodations, or protest march)  the cost is a little under $125. This is for a typical $1 million policy, but depending on the size of your wedding, this may vary.

No matter how well prepared you are for your wedding, you never know when disaster may strike. Having the proper insurance can make a huge difference on your Big Day, so do not forget to consider your options! Hopefully your wedding goes off just as you hoped, but event insurance may help take your mind off of the “what ifs” and let you focus on your special occasion.Sig

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