Published: January 2016
A special event can take a significant amount of time and money to plan — coordinating vendors, selecting the menu, securing the venue and so many other details. As much as you plan, though, there is always a chance that something unexpected could happen. So what do you do when things don't go as planned?
Whether the event is canceled due to an illness in the family or you need to make new accommodations when there's an issue with a vendor, you may still be responsible for most of the costs and perhaps some new ones as well. Special event insurance is designed with situations such as these in mind.
Event cancellation coverage may reimburse you for lost deposits and other fees should something unexpected force you to delay or cancel your function. If your photographer closes shop 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. Be sure to check your policy to find out what types of situations may or may not be covered.
Event liability coverage may help protect you if you're found responsible for property damage or an injury caused during your event, and many venues require you to have it. 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. Again, make sure to read your policy to find out what kinds of situations it does and does not cover.
Eligible events are typically private and may include functions such as:
- Anniversary parties
- Baby showers
- Birthday parties
- Religious celebrations
Public events, including dance recitals, sporting events and exhibitions, typically cannot be insured under this coverage, and neither can bachelor/bachelorette parties. Certain business functions, such as fundraisers or private corporate parties, may be eligible. Your agent can tell you what specific events may qualify for coverage.
Keep in mind that it's a good idea to purchase special event insurance as soon as you start making deposits or purchases for your event. There may also be restrictions on when you can purchase coverage — often no later than two weeks before your event but no sooner than two years prior. The Insurance Information Institute (III) also offers these useful tips when you're looking into insuring your special event:
- Find out what coverage you may have already through home, auto or liability insurance as well as credit cards.
- Ask if your venue and vendors have liability insurance.
- Know what is and is not covered by the policy, such as honeymoon costs, special attire and gifts.
- Choose an insurer that is licensed in your state.
Hopefully your party 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.