arranging insurance for your charity event

How to arrange insurance for your charity event

How to arrange insurance for your charity event

Why should you insure events?

Organising charity events, from car boot sales to concerts, is a tremendous undertaking for all involved. Yet even with the most meticulous planning, there is plenty of potential for things to go wrong, from slips and trips causing minor injuries, to the theft or damage of expensive equipment. In some cases, the entire event may have to be cancelled. Each unexpected incident could incur hefty costs, lawsuits and/or loss of business, which could be devastating to a charity’s reputation and finances.

Insurance enables organisers to protect the people and property involved from potential risks before, during and after the event. While most charities often have a certain level of insurance in place, events usually require additional specialist cover, often for things that won’t become apparent until it is too late. This is why planning Events insurance should be at the top of every organiser’s to-do list, and this guide will run through the steps to help you identify your charity’s insurance needs.

Step One: Carry out a risk assessment

Whenever your charity starts planning an event, or any new activity in fact, you should begin by carrying out a risk assessment. This will you help identify the potential hazards, assess how likely they are to occur, where they might occur, who or what they could affect and how, and most importantly what measures you can take to reduce the risks. 

With the right guidance, completing a risk assessment doesn’t have to be as arduous as it sounds. The next nine steps should help you identify areas where your event could be exposed to risks and the insurances that can provide cover for those risks that you cannot eliminate entirely.

Step Two: Cover your costs in case of cancellation

As we now know far too well, unforeseeable and unavoidable circumstances can scupper even the best laid plans. Extreme weather, staff shortages, or site issues are just a few things that could force you to abandon your event. This can be particularly costly if you have already shelled out substantial funds on marketing, venue hire, equipment or entertainment. 

Fortunately, you can protect your up-front payments with Event Cancellation and Abandonment insurance, which provides cover for prepaid expenses lost as a direct result of an event cancellation, so long as it was due to circumstances beyond your control.

Some widely accepted reasons for cancellation include:

  • Severe weather;
  • Fire;
  • Strike and industrial action; and
  • Event sites becoming unavailable

Some expenses that could be covered include:

  • Payments for publicity;
  • Printing costs for tickets;
  • Hire of equipment such as marquees;
  • Venue hire;
  • Purchase of perishable goods such as foodstuffs; and
  • Re-location or re-arrangement of the cancelled event.

It is crucial to secure cancellation cover well in advance, as many policies must be taken out at least 14 days before the start of the event to be valid.

As well as arranging specialist cover Event Cancellation and Abandonment insurance for charities, we have developed Event Cancellation and Abandonment cover especially for Scout events and Girlguiding events.

Step Three: Protect your charity from public liability claims

If everything goes to plan, your charity event will attract a lot of people to come and support your good cause. But once at your event, members of the public are under your care and could hold you accountable for any injuries, or damage to their property they suffer there. A comprehensive Public Liability policy is essential for public events as it will provide cover for such claims, protecting not only your financial resources but also your reputation. 

If you are serving food or drink at your event, you should add Product Liability insurance to your policy to secure cover for any losses or injuries resulting from its consumption. Product Liability insurance can also provide cover for injuries caused by products made by your organisation, such as faulty toys or games. As ever, insurance is not an alternative to taking precautions, and you must be able to prove you took reasonable steps to reduce the risks.

Scouts Public Liability cover

Scout groups are already covered for Public Liability Insurance (including Property Owners’ Liability) for running Scouting events. This insurance cover is provided centrally by the Scouts and is arranged by us as the official broker for the Scouts.  There is no need for your Group to take out additional Public Liability Insurance for your Scout event. You’re already covered with us.

If you’re required to sign any agreement or indemnity for other people’s land, premises or any other facility, please contact Unity on 0345 040 7703 so that we may review this with you.

Step Four: Check your protection on third-party property

If you are using land, buildings or other facilities owned by a third party, you must check whether they also have suitable Property Owners Liability insurance. For example, if a car parked at the event is damaged by a falling tree or roof tile, this would not be your liability as the organiser, but the landowner’s (if negligence was proved). You may be asked by the landowner to sign a formal agreement and you should firstly run this by your broker. They will check the details to ensure you will not be held responsible for negligent acts beyond the scope of your Public Liability cover.

Step Five: Check the event activities are covered

As part of your risk assessment, you will have listed all the activities on offer at your event, which may reveal some that are riskier than others. When talking to your insurance broker, be sure to tell them every activity being run by your charity and make sure you can get the appropriate cover for all of them. If no insurance is available, for example if an activity is particularly unusual, you may need to consider cancelling that particular activity as to remove the risk. 

If third parties are providing any of the activities, you must check that they have the relevant insurance and ask to see a copy of their certificate of insurance. Check the following details:

  • They are named as the policyholder
  • The policy period covers the full period of your event 
  • The limit of indemnity could sufficiently cover a large loss, such as several people being injured or, in the worse-case, killed at the event.

Step Six: Insure equipment you rent or borrow

If you’re hiring or borrowing equipment for your event, such as sound or stage equipment, you should add short period Equipment insurance to your policy. You should do the following:

  • Make a list of all the items you are renting or borrowing.
  • Check their replacement value, which should be like-for-like and ‘as new’.
  • Consider when and where each item will need to be insured.
  • Check with the owner(s) whether you are actually covered under their insurance, and ask to see their documents if so.
  • Consider covering items when they are kept in storage and while in transit to and from the event, as well as when being used at the event, or a claim may not be paid out.

Step Seven: Insure equipment you own

Just as for the equipment you hire, you may need to add a short period policy to your Contents Insurance to cover your property against damage or theft when away from your main premises. Just as in Step 6, you should:

  • List the items that you will be taking to or using at your event.
  • Check your current contents insurance or inventory for their replacement values (consider updating these if they were last amended more than a year ago).
  • Consider when and where each item will need to be insured, including in storage and while travelling to or from the event.

Step Eight:  Cover your cash and sales stock

Most charity events are organised to raise money, so you will likely want to accept cash on the day. This may be through collection buckets or the sale of goods, raffle tickets and other entertainment. Property and Equipment insurance will often include physical money, both at the event and while in the possession of authorised persons before it is banked. And lots of little losses can really add up, so if you are running a tuck shop or gift stalls, you may also wish to cover your back-up stock against theft or damage, both in transit and at the event.

Step Nine: Check your motor insurance

For all vehicles your charity owns, the law states that you must have a minimum of third-party Motor insurance. But for some events, you may need to rent a van or minibus to transport goods or people, or hire specialist vehicles, such as tractors and trailers, for moving equipment, rubbish or water. You must get the right level of insurance for all vehicles you will use, and if your employees, volunteers or trustees plan to use their own personal vehicles to help with the event, you must make sure that their motor insurance covers such use.

Step Ten: Protect your staff and volunteers

If you employ staff at your event, including unpaid volunteers, it is a legal requirement to have Employers’ Liability insurance to cover the costs of an injury or illness they suffer as a result of their work. You may also wish to consider special Personal Accident and Medical Expenses insurance to cover people working in connection with your event who are not members of your charity.

How Unity can help

Unity has been arranging charity events insurance for more than 80 years, and has dealt with claims for almost every imaginable (and unimaginable!) circumstance. We know the risks involved for charities running public events, and are here to help you get the right level of cover for yours. We can arrange insurance for:

  • Fundraising events
  • Fetes and family days
  • Barbecues and garden parties
  • Jumble sales, bring and buy sales, and car boot sales
  • Fun runs and sponsored walks
  • Shows, concerts, and dances

For more information and to discuss your event insurance needs, call our friendly team of experts.

speak to our experts - Alex

For more information and to discuss the insurance needs for your charity’s event, call our friendly team of experts.


Call me:

0345 040 7731