First, you need to assess the additional risk. Here are some questions that will help in facilitating a conversation with your risk management professional:
- Are you renting a venue, equipment, audio-visual systems, or other property that could be damaged?
- Are you serving alcohol?
- Is the food catered, store bought, or "potluck" from peoples' homes?
- Will minor participants be involved?
- Are there rides, bands, pyrotechnics, or other potentially high risk exposures contemplated?
Once you have a handle on the additional risks associated with the event, a review of the current insurance program in place is in order. Typically, special events will require coverage under the following coverage parts:
- Property - Including owned, borrowed, or hired; both at the venue and in transit. Any special property like antiques or unique, priceless items may need additional coverage.
- General Liability - Including liquor if it is being served (sometimes covered as a separate policy with expanded coverages), as well as coverage for any additional interests, contractual obligations, and third party property damage.
- Auto Liability - Including owned, borrowed, rented, or hired vehicles.
- Workers Compensation - Including employees, independent contractors, and volunteers.
- Event Cancellation - Including partial cancellation, weather, non-appearance, strikes, etc.
In the event that your current insurance program does not/cannot provide some or all of the coverages that address these additional risks, one-time special event policies are available at a reasonable premium through many different companies. The key to keeping costs down is planning. The farther out that some of these coverages are purchased, the better the rate may be in some cases. In other cases, without proper notice (usually at least 14 days) some coverage (such as event cancellation for weather) will be excluded.
Most special events go off without a hitch, however should something go wrong during yours wouldn't you like to know that you are covered?