Finding the right insurance for your event planning company is an important step in protecting your business and achieving long-term success.
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When you work as an event planner, you take on a wide range of responsibilities to create successful events for your clients. Because many unpredictable incidents can arise in the course of event planning, from accidental injuries to property damage, it’s a good idea to purchase insurance to provide financial protection for your business—and give your clients greater confidence in your company as well.
What insurance coverage do I need as an event planner?
There are many types of insurance coverage to consider, but these policies are particularly relevant to event planners:
General liability insurance is a common type of coverage that most companies will need to acquire. This coverage protects your company against incidents of third-party bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury. If clients or guests are injured or their property is damaged on your premises or as a result of your activities, you could be held liable. Since event planners often hold events at other locations, there is a higher possibility that employees may unintentionally cause damage or injury.
General liability insurance’s personal and advertising injury component can cover third-party non-physical injuries and reputational damage from libel, slander, copyright infringement, and more.
- Bodily injury: A client is visiting your offices to consult on event plans when she trips on a hand cart that started rolling down the hallway when an employee lost hold of it. She falls and fractures her foot, requiring medical attention. Your general liability insurance would cover her medical costs as well as your legal fees if she sues.
- Property damage: You hold an event at a historical venue and one of your employees knocks over a valuable sculpture, damaging it. Your general liability insurance would cover the damages.
- Personal and advertising injury: Your company unintentionally uses a copyrighted image in your advertising brochures and online material without properly securing the rights. The owner of the image sues for copyright infringement. General liability insurance would cover the lawsuit and any resulting settlements.
When you plan events, clients have high expectations and rely on you to fulfill their desired results. If an event doesn’t go as planned and clients are unhappy, you could be sued. An unsuccessful event can lead to financial losses for clients, and even if you did nothing wrong and your client’s expectations were unreasonable, lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming.
Professional liability insurance can step in to protect you from the costs of lawsuits alleging professional mistakes or negligence in your work. Having this coverage can also give your clients confidence in your business, knowing that you’re prepared for unforeseen events.
- Your company plans a prestigious event to conclude a leadership conference. Due to an unfortunate mixup, it turns out that the planned venue has already been booked for the date of the event, and the client must incur additional expenses to secure another venue at the last minute. The client uses you for negligence. Your professional liability insurance would cover the lawsuit and any resulting settlement.
Commercial property insurance will protect the value of your business property, including office space, computers, furniture, equipment, and other items. Event planners may work from offices and store valuable items used as part of events. If a fire, storm, explosion, vandalism, or other covered peril damages or destroys your business property, commercial property insurance can provide funds to help you rebuild, make repairs, or replace items.
Commercial property insurance covers the following:
- Buildings belonging to or leased by your company
- Contents of the building, including equipment, office furniture, and tools
- Property of others while it is under your care, custody, or control
It’s important to be aware that coverage for the property of others in your care may have a fairly low limit. If you rent expensive items such as audiovisual equipment, you may need bailee’s insurance.
- A fire breaks out on your property due to a problem with your HVAC system. Your office is damaged as well as a number of expensive displays used in events. Your commercial property insurance would cover repairs to the building and replacement of the displays.
Commercial crime insurance provides funds to reimburse you for losses caused by theft, robbery, fraud, forgery, burglary, and other crimes committed by outside parties or your own employees. Because event planners handle many financial transactions, including payments to multiple vendors, and typically send a single bill to the customer, there is a risk of theft or fraud by employees or others. In addition, some events involve cash ticket sales, which increases the risk of theft.
- While working at an event, one of your employees handling ticket sales is distracted by a dispute between attendees. While his back is turned, someone steals a cash box containing several thousand dollars. Commercial crime insurance would reimburse you for the loss.
Bailee’s insurance covers damage to the property of others when it is in your care, custody, or control. Although other insurance policies provide some limited coverage for items in your care, this may not be sufficient for event planners. If your company takes custody of guests’ items, such as offering a coat check or valet service, or rents valuable audiovisual equipment, lighting, displays, or other items, bailee’s insurance will cover any damage that occurs to these items.
- Your event planning company has rented an expensive projector system for use at a trade show. One of your employees accidentally drops the projector while setting up and it is irreparably damaged. Bailee’s insurance would cover the damages.
Your event planning business may require liquor liability insurance if you serve alcohol at your events, particularly if you employ bartenders and provide alcohol directly. You could be held liable if a customer drinks too much and causes bodily injury or property damage. An event attendee who receives alcohol from you, becomes intoxicated, and causes a car collision or starts a violent altercation with another person could result in liability for your company.
Many states have “dram shop” laws that hold businesses liable if they serve an intoxicated customer who later causes an accident or injury. Liquor liability insurance will step in to cover any claims that arise as a result of liquor liability. Commercial leases or liquor license laws may require you to have this coverage.
- An attendee at one of your events arrives already intoxicated and purchases several more alcoholic beverages from one of your bartenders. He then gets into a fight with another attendee, injuring the other person. The other attendee sues your event planning company. Your liquor liability insurance would cover the lawsuit and any resulting settlements.
In almost every state, employers are required to secure workers’ compensation insurance for employees, and there may be serious fines and penalties for companies that do not secure adequate coverage. This is a crucial coverage for event planners since employees may set up or build displays, stage sets, equipment, lighting, and equipment. These activities can cause back injuries, slips and falls, and other injuries.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers employees’ medical expenses and lost income if they suffer an injury or illness because of their work. Workers’ comp also provides financial benefits for an employee’s dependents in the case of a work-related employee death.
- While moving a heavy stage display for a conference, one of your employees badly injures her back. Workers’ compensation insurance would cover her medical costs and a portion of her lost income while she is recovering and unable to work.
Event planners may rely on vehicles to travel to event spaces and transport equipment and other items. If your business owns or leases vehicles or if your employees use their own personal vehicles for business purposes, commercial auto insurance is a key coverage that is legally required in most states. If your employees are involved in a car crash, commercial auto insurance can provide coverage for physical damage to vehicles, third-party bodily injury, and property damage. Commercial auto insurance can also provide coverage for damage to your vehicles caused by covered perils, including theft, falling objects, fire, and more.
- One of your employees is driving to a product launch event when he is distracted by an urgent phone call and accidentally rear-ends the car in front of him. Your commercial auto insurance would cover damages to both vehicles.
- A business owner’s policy (BOP) combines general liability, property, business income, and extra expense coverage into a single package. For small or midsize businesses, this type of insurance could help you obtain a wide range of coverage. Premiums for a business owner’s policy are typically cheaper than the cost of buying each coverage separately.
- Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) protects your business against lawsuits by prospective, current, or former employees accusing your business of wrongful treatment such as discrimination, harassment, or other employment-related issues.
- Business income coverage will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses if your business is forced to close temporarily due to a covered peril, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for business insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, an event planning company with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for event planners:
|Provider||Business Interruption||Business Owner's Policy||Commercial Auto||Commercial Crime||Commercial Property||Cyber Liability||Employment Practices Liability||General Liability||Product Liability||Professional Liability||Workers' Compensation|
Business Insurance and Coronavirus
COVID-19 has had a major impact on event planning companies, as many events have been postponed or canceled. Event planners are unsure when the business environment will return to normal and may be wondering how insurance can provide coverage during the pandemic.
It’s important to understand that you cannot purchase a new policy to cover coronavirus-related losses that have already occurred; insurance policies will not cover losses that have already been discovered.
In the majority of cases, business interruption insurance policies you have in effect will not cover losses caused by coronavirus. These policies typically only cover losses caused by a direct physical loss or damage, like a fire or theft. Some business interruption policies will include coverage for losses caused by “communicable or infectious diseases,” but this is rare.
How workers’ compensation insurance handles coronavirus cases varies widely depending on the state. If you have employees who contract coronavirus on the job, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation payments in some states.
If your business continues operating and a client or other third party sues you claiming that they contracted coronavirus from your business, some commercial general liability policies will provide coverage, depending on your individual policy and the laws of your state.
Consult our FAQ on coronavirus and business insurance for more information.
Working as an event planner can be rewarding, but it’s important to be aware of the risk you could face as you grow your business. Unpredictable incidents such as lawsuits brought by dissatisfied clients, costly auto accidents, or a disaster such as a fire could all have a major financial impact on your business, making it difficult to continue your work. With the right business insurance, you and your clients will feel assured that you will be financially protected in the event of a catastrophe.