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The entertainment & event management directory

Master Class

Organising an Event - Part 6

Part 6:

Do I need insurance?

There is no law that says you must buy insurance for a voluntary or community event – but you might want to make sure you are covered in case something goes wrong and someone makes a claim against you. Having public liability insurance may give you peace of mind, but it’s good planning, not insurance that stops things going wrong.

Sometimes another body, perhaps a local council you have contact with or someone that you contract with (such as a landowner if the event is taking place on their land), will require you to have public liability insurance. If this is the case you can ask why they are requiring this because it is not compulsory in law. Sometimes signing a disclaimer will be adequate instead of buying insurance.

If you do decide you need insurance remember that before you buy it, you should check the terms of the policy carefully to make sure you know exactly what cover it provides and any requirements you may have to meet.

If you are holding the event in your home or garden you may be covered by the public liability section of your own home insurance policy. You can check this yourself and talk to your insurer if you have any questions.

If you are renting or using someone else’s building, you may be covered by their insurance, do check to see if this is the case.

If you are hiring equipment such as a marquee or bouncy castle check with the company you are hiring it from whether their terms of hire include insurance and read any conditions carefully (particularly any exclusions).

If external businesses are providing services, such as food or rides, you should check they have their own insurance, and that it is in force on the day of the event.

Find out more about event insurance with the Association of British Insurers’ ‘Celebrate – An ABI guide to planning an event’.

What is Public Liability Insurance?

This insurance covers the organisers of an event providing them with financial protection if they are held to blame for injury to a person or for loss or damage to property and sued.

You can buy different levels of cover, from £1 million upwards. This seems a lot but costs are relatively low, sometimes as little as £50 or £60. How much you need varies according to:

  • the type of event and activities you are planning
  • how many people will attend

If you are unsure, talk to your own insurer or an insurance broker who will be able to advise you.

You do need to be sure that the policy you buy covers all the activities you want included, so be open and clear with the insurer or broker you talk to. And make sure that you check the terms of the policy and in particular any exclusions.

You can find a specialist insurance broker on the internet or on the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) website.

Go to Part 7 of Organising a Community/Voluntary Event