Your wedding day, like any precious life event, is one of those moments that you’d like to go off without a hitch. Perfect weather, seamless schedule, everything and everyone in their places. Unfortunately, accidents and unforeseen events happen. No bride or groom wants to think about wedding-day disasters, but in the event that they do occur, it’s nice to know that everything’s covered financially. That’s where liability insurance comes into play.
Liability Insurance and Why it’s Important
When talking with venue representatives, you may have heard them mention liability insurance. In fact, they may have told you that they require outside vendors, like photographers and catering companies, to hold such insurance coverage. So what is it? The U.S. Small Business Administration defines it as such:
“Liability insurance (also known as Commercial General Business Liability) protects a company’s assets and pays for obligations – medical costs, for example –incurred if someone gets hurt on your property or when there are property damages or injuries caused by you or your employees. Liability insurance also covers the cost of your legal defense and any settlement or award should you be successfully sued. Typically these include compensatory damages, non-monetary losses suffered by the injured party, and punitive damages.”
The venues you speak with likely have their own liability insurance and it might cover certain “in-house” vendors. But if you rent the venue and want to bring in outside vendors, it’s normal for the venue to require a proof of insurance from those vendors. This is so that the venue and the vendor is covered in the event that damage is caused to either the property or an individual.
Note that it is not your responsibility to secure insurance for your vendors. The venue and vendors should coordinate the arrangements and get together the proper paperwork. In the rare case that this doesn’t happen, ask your vendors to get in touch with their insurance agents and request copies of the appropriate documentation.
In a nutshell, liability insurance equals peace of mind for all parties involved. Let’s say a server trips over a wire or a bag on the floor and breaks her leg. Or an expensive piece of artwork gets damaged. In any of these situations, the venue wants to know that the vendor is properly covered and able to replace anything that’s damaged. The venue does not want to be responsible for accidents that happen on their premises.
Application and Coverage Costs
Applying for general liability insurance is the same as applying for any insurance coverage. Vendors can talk to an agent specializing in event coverage or go online to places like The Event Helper to fill out an application and obtain a quote. Quotes are based off of information like where the event is located, the duration of said event, how many people will be in attendance, and what type of event it is.
What a vendor might pay annually for insurance coverage depends on the size of the business, where the business Is located, and how much coverage they require. Generally, a small business (10 or fewer employees) will choose coverage for up to $1,000,000 in damages and pay between $400-600 a year. Larger businesses can pay between $750 and $2000.
How Liability Insurance Protects You
For your venues and vendors to have liability insurance coverage is as equally important to you as it is for them. Although it won’t cover personal losses or no-shows (personal wedding insurance covers those incidents), a company’s general liability insurance policy will protect you from unforeseen incidents and accidents like the photographer’s camera falling into the lake or a guest getting into a drunken fight and throwing a chair into the wall. In these cases, you won’t be held responsible for damages because the photographer/venue will be covered and reimbursed for such losses.
When you’re interviewing prospective venues and vendors, ask them about their insurance policies, if they have them or require them and what they cover. And for those who don’t have insurance coverage? Tread lightly. Better to be safe than sorry, especially on such a momentous day.