Avoid a Bracket Busting Claim: Insuring Special Events

It’s time for March Madness! Are you planning a blowout that will make render an entirely new meaning to “bracket busting?” Has your neighborhood community center asked for a either a hold-harmless agreement or a damage deposit exceeding your current mortgage payment?

Welcome to the world of personal event risk management!

While businesses are typically well versed in the insurance and contractual agreement vagaries of booking meeting rooms or convention locations, many individuals only encounter such complexities when it comes time for the family reunion, wedding or NCAA finals/Super Bowl/World Series/Nascar or just name-your-favorite-sport excuse for a big bash party. When it comes to needing protection for such events, will your current insurance coverage ride to the rescue or leave you standing at the altar?

Am I Covered?

For example, let’s say you’re renting a local meeting hall or church activity center for your daughter’s wedding reception. The owner of the facility asks you to sign a written lease agreement, including a section that states you agree to hold them harmless from any liability claims against them arising from your activities at their location. Will your homeowners policy protect you for liability claims against you arising from the reception? And what about that contract and hold-harmless?

Good news on both fronts! Standard home insurance policies include liability protection for claims against you arising from “insured locations.” While that obviously includes your actual home or apartment, it also typically includes other locations you occasionally borrow or rent purely for personal use. And as for the lease and hold-harmless agreement, your policy also includes coverage for liability assumed under a contract related to the maintenance or use of an “insured location.”

Potential Issues

So far, so good. But while liability arising for injury to a guest at the location certainly can represent a huge potential exposure to loss, don’t overlook other critical issues. Here are just a few:

  • Auto liability claims: Are you arranging for cars to drive guests and/or the wedding party to the location? Offering valet parking?
  • Damage to the event location.
  • Damage/loss of your personal property at the location: wedding presents; rented catering equipment, tables, chairs, games, and portable sound systems?
  • Injury to onsite contractors, such as caterers and musicians.
  • Are you serving alcoholic beverages? Will you have an open or cash bar? Will the location furnishes the liquor or are you bringing your own?
  • If you serve liquor, what arrangement have you made to get inebriated guests home safely?
  • If none, what if they cause an accident and you get sued since you furnished the drinks?

Clearly taking on the responsibility for such events goes far beyond negotiation of rental fees, color coordination of the decorations, and who is going to drive Uncle Fred home after his 15th trip to the punch bowl.

But that is no reason to cancel your plans! When it comes to insurance and risk management questions, help is as close as your local Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent. They are waiting to help you review these and other concerns. They’re armed with answers for what is already provided by your current insurance—including options for filling any gaps. And they have risk management tips to eliminate or minimize many potential sources of loss for others.

Trusted Choice can also help you choose the best insurance agent for your needs.