Getting Liability Insurance for Events

August 18, 2020 •

Planning an event takes significant time and work, including careful risk management. From creating a guest list to managing a budget to working with venues—envisioning and executing a successful event is a juggling act of different stakeholders and action items. Any miscommunication could result in last-minute issues. 

No matter how careful the planning, the event itself presents a number of unforeseen variables.

Event planners take on liability related to all event participants, including guests and third parties (vendors, venue owners, etc.). Should a guest be injured at an event, the planner could be held liable. Should event attendees damage the venue’s property, the venue owner could hold the event planner liable as well.

As you learn how to start an event planning business, don’t forget to seek out event planner insurance coverage. Insurance can help cover event planners’ liability in the case of such incidents and protect from property damage claims. If you’re wondering how to get liability insurance for an event, this is your guide.

Why You Need Event Liability Insurance

Careercast ranks event planning as one of the five most stressful jobs in the U.S. Event planners face significant exposure to liability as they interact with many stakeholders as well as event guests. Event planners could be sued for anything from a slip-and-fall incident to a client’s financial loss as a result of a planning issue—and without event liability insurance, they are responsible for their own legal fees.

In order to understand their event insurance needs, event planners should seek to understand

the risks for their specific event, as well as the available kinds of coverage options available. The first step is conducting a risk assessment related to their upcoming events.

Common Event Risks

While some black swan events and accidents are unavoidable, special event planners should always take stock of foreseeable risks. EventPlanner suggests considering risk categories including:

  • Safety and security – There is always a risk of guests’ bodily injury, property damage, and property loss at an in-person event. Does an event venue pose any obvious safety or security risks? What steps can be taken to mitigate these risks?
  • Internal risks – The event holder’s changing plans or goals could require last-minute adjustments to the event. This could create budget issues or affect the venue’s safety and security. Creating clear contracts can help to manage internal risks.
  • External risks – Severe weather, issues at the venue, and other events out of control could result in a last-minute cancellation or need for a venue change. Creating a clear backup plan and communicating with all stakeholders can help to prevent financial loss in such an event. 

In addition, event planners who host events with online components may want to consider cyberthreats including data breaches and identity theft. According to Security Magazine, Cyberattacks resulted in $45 billion in worldwide losses in 2018. As events and business services move online, event planners face the possibility that their clients’ and guests’ data is exposed to cyber threats.

Kinds of Event Liability Coverage

Once an event planner has assessed their risk, they can identify appropriate event insurance policies. 

Different kinds of events may require different special event coverage and the event planning insurance cost may vary. For example, there may be next to no chance that your Zoom event will be canceled—but you may want to take out coverage to protect against data breaches. Likewise, you may not need cyber liability insurance for a free block party, but you may need higher coverage limits given the public event venue.

Depending on the risks you face, you may want to consider the following kinds of policies:

Professional Liability & General Liability Insurance

Professional liability policy extends coverage against claims of errors and omissions related to your work—negligence, breach of contract, and a financial loss due to poor advice. A general liability policy, on the other hand, provides coverage options for third-party injuries and damages, as well as legal fees related to any claims filed. 

When looking into these policies, it’s important to understand exclusions. Special events may not be covered, as you take on additional liability when you’re away from your regular place of business. In addition, some policies may exclude liquor liability (liability related to guests’ alcohol consumption). Check with your insurer to better understand your liability coverage, and to manage any add-ons to your event insurance policy. 

A general liability policy does not include event planning insurance coverage for:

  • Your business property
  • Criminal activity 

Cyber Liability Insurance

If you’re hosting an online event, it’s important to protect your participants’ data and security. Take out cyber liability insurance to protect your event planning business during special events as well as day-to-day activities.

After all, the vendors you’re in charge of managing and paying for their services will all be divulging critical data (credit card payment and personal information). You’ll want to ensure this is protected, and that you’re protected should any data breach occur.

Special Event Insurance 

Special event insurance, also known as one-day insurance, can be taken out in addition to general liability insurance, or as a stand-alone policy. Special event insurance can cover the same kinds of third-party liability as a general liability plan. Depending on the specifics of your event insurance policy, you may also be able to include the following in your liability coverage:

  • Protecting specific, high-cost items from theft or damage
  • Event cancellation
  • The cost of rescheduling or postponing an event

If you live in an area with extreme weather, special event insurance that includes event cancellation may be a prudent addition to your regular general liability insurance coverage.

How to Get General Liability Insurance for an Event

Are you looking for general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, or both, to protect yourself from liability related to your special event? NOW Insurance works with small businesses one-on-one to create insurance policies for event liability that cover their specific risks. While some general liability policies exclude risks related to special events, your NOW Insurance policy is customized to your exact needs in terms of insurance coverage and limits.

In addition, take steps to manage your liability related to virtual events (and online components) with cyber liability insurance. With this added security, you can focus on the details of your event, knowing your business is protected from liability. 


  1. Event Planner. A Quick Introduction to Risk Management for Event Professionals.
  2. Careercast. Most Stressful Jobs of 2017.
  3. Security Magazine. Cyber Attacks Cost $45 Billion in 2018.