Some of the most memorable moments in our lifetimes are of special events like weddings, family reunions, and holiday parties. But while it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning an event, every host should be aware of the risks that can make your special day memorable in all the wrong ways.
Not everyone realizes the amount of liability they carry if someone is hurt or property is damaged at an event they host. In fact, 38 states have enacted social host liability laws that allow party hosts to be sued if a guest drives under the influence and causes an accident. To mitigate this risk, most venues require you to purchase event insurance that covers a minimum amount of liability.
Even if event insurance isn’t required for your upcoming gathering, an insurance policy may be worth its low cost to protect your assets from potential lawsuits. Thankfully, there are many great event insurers to choose from with affordable coverage to fit the size and scope of any gathering. We reviewed more than 15 of the most widely recognized event insurance companies and chose the top seven based on price, coverage, and service.
The 7 Best Event Insurance Companies of 2020
Best Overall: RVNA
Whether you’re planning a small private gathering or a major public event, RVNA covers it all with the best price and flexible terms getting our nod for the overall best.
Affordable policies start at $50 for liability
Coverage available for small and large events
Instant online quotes
Customize policies with more than 20 types of coverage
Policy cancellation allowed up to 48 hours before the event
Phone claims only
Not all types of coverage available for online purchase
$2,500 deductible for property damage claims
It’s rare to find an insurer that offers equally great coverage for events of all sizes, but RVNA manages just that. These flexible policies start at just $50 for $1 million in general and host liquor liability, lower than any other quote we were given. Additional coverage is available through 20 different riders that include vendor insurance, weather-related coverage, and third-party property damage.
RVNA sets itself apart from the competition in several ways. The company’s standard policy includes coverage for terrorism, which isn’t normally covered by event insurers. RVNA is also the only event insurance company we came across that allows hosts to cancel their liability policy. Full refunds are issued as long as cancellation is requested in writing at least 48 hours before the start of the event.
While there are very few downsides to RVNA, you should know that their digital tools are slightly behind the curve. Online quotes are only available for some types of coverage, and all claims must be filed over the phone. Property damage claims require the host to pay a $2,500 deductible, which is fairly high for the industry.
Best Online Underwriting: Eventsured
With Eventsured’s straightforward online quote tool, you can purchase up to $3 million in liability coverage for more than 500 types of events in minutes. It’s the fastest way to get event insurance.
More than 500 event types covered
Policy documents issued in minutes
Available in all 50 states
Zero deductible for all claims
Paperless claim filing
Host liquor liability required regardless of alcohol consumption
Policies not underwritten by Eventsured
Instant enrollment unavailable for events at private residences or with more than 5,000 attendees
Why spend days waiting for policy documents when you can get them from Eventsured in minutes? Both private and corporate hosts can use Eventsured to purchase coverage for a wide range of events without going through a lengthy underwriting process. Simply fill out the online application and you’ll have your policy document sitting in your email inbox within minutes. The company will even issue you a general liability policy up to the day before your event.
Of course, there are a few caveats. To qualify for instant coverage, your event must have no more than 5,000 attendees and can’t be held at a private residence. Eventsured also requires you to purchase host liquor liability coverage by including it in every policy premium, regardless of whether you intend to serve alcohol at your event.
Best for High Limits: Philadelphia Insurance Companies
Event liability limits start at $3 million with all Philadelphia Insurance Companies policies, offering the best solution for hosts with high coverage needs.
Standard policy starts at $3 million in aggregate liability insurance with excess coverage available
Event cancellation coverage limits up to $175,000
No deductible for liability claims
Can be combined with umbrella, abuse and molestation, inland marine, and hired and non-owned vehicle insurance
No low-premium options
Military deployment not covered
Events that go past midnight require two-day coverage
Long list of excluded events
Standard event insurance from Philadelphia Insurance Companies includes aggregate liability limits of $3 to $4 million, multiple times what competitors offer, making it best for high limits in our review. If that’s not sufficient, hosts with high-value assets can secure additional protection by extending event policies with umbrella coverage. While it may require a lengthier underwriting process, there doesn’t appear to be any limit to the number of attendees; we were able to secure online quotes for a million or more event goers.
Although Philadelphia Insurance Companies is a great option for large events, the minimum $3 million liability limit may be overkill for private gatherings. The cheapest policies available start at $175 for liability coverage, around twice what you might pay for a more appropriate limit for smaller events.
While Philadelphia Insurance Companies insures hundreds of different events, the company does list several that are ineligible for coverage. These include high-risk sports events, live animal attractions, specific concert genres, and amusement-style rides.
Best Value: Markel Insurance
Markel Insurance’s low-cost event policies include discounts for bundling coverage and free information resources, a better value than any other carrier.
Event liability insurance starts at $75 for $500,000 in coverage
Fifteen percent discount offered when purchasing liability and cancellation policies together
Low $25 deductible for cancellation policy claims
Cancellation coverage available in the United States and several international destinations, including cruises
Offers free wedding planning resources
Liability coverage not available for most international destinations
$300 limit on loss of cash gifts
Property damage claims incur a $1,000 deductible
Many event insurance companies require hosts to pay for a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage, but for smaller gatherings, this amount may be more than you need. Selected as the best value in our review, Markel sells event insurance with liability limits starting at $500,000 for a price of just $75, helping you save by not overpaying for coverage. You’ll even save an additional 15% by bundling liability with event cancellation.
Cancellation policies are available in all 50 states and can be purchased by U.S. residents for destination events in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and several Caribbean islands. Liability coverage is also offered for events taking place on cruise ships departing U.S. ports. One downside is that event hosts must pay a $1,000 deductible for property damage claims, although the deductible on cancellation policies is much more affordable at just $25.
Hosts will find pages of free resources that will help walk you through the party planning process, from creating a budget to making your event eco-friendly. You’ll even find lists of questions to ask vendors like caterers and florists to make sure you’re getting the most out of their services.
Best Customer Service: Travelers
Not only will Travelers representatives take your call 24 hours a day, but this event insurer also offers the best customer service of all the providers we reviewed.
Support available by phone, email, and web chat
Main phone line staffed 24 hours per day
Online quotes and policy management
Option to buy online or work with an agent
Limited types of events covered
Doesn’t offer standalone liability policies
Only allows up to 1,000 guests
Not available in Alaska, Hawaii, or Louisiana
Everyone values different types of customer service; some prefer digital convenience while others want the personalized attention of an agent. Travelers offers the best of both worlds with event insurance that you can purchase online in minutes or through an insurance expert in your area. Representatives are available by web chat during business hours and the Travelers customer advocacy line is open 24/7.
Travelers policies are based around a core coverage plan that starts at $160 for $15,000 in total benefits. The plan bundles coverage for cancellation, photography, lost deposits, and theft or damage of items like gifts, attire, and jewelry. Optional event liability insurance is available at a minimum of $165 for $1 million in coverage, although this policy can’t be purchased on its own.
You should also keep in mind that Travelers event insurance is designed for private invitation-only events like weddings, family reunions, and holiday parties. The company won’t cover events like corporate parties or ticketed fundraisers.
Best for Weddings: WedSafe
Most event insurers provide wedding insurance, but WedSafe offers the best tailored coverage expressly for those planning their nuptials.
Covers weddings in the United States and over a dozen international locations
Existing relationship with thousands of venues
Cancellation coverage can be purchased up to 15 days before the event
No deductible for bodily injury claims
Covers rehearsal and rehearsal dinner up to 48 hours prior to the wedding
$1,000 deductible for property damage claims
Doesn’t cover cancellation due to change of heart
Prohibits some specific activities including live animals and fireworks
With liability and cancellation coverage for backyard ceremonies and tropical destination weddings alike, it’s easy to see why WedSafe is a highly recommended option by wedding sites like The Knot and WeddingWire. In fact, WedSafe has worked with so many venues that the provider has a database with the minimum insurance requirements for thousands of locations, making the process to get sufficient coverage seamless.
Policies are underwritten by Nationwide and start at $150 for $500,000 in general liability insurance. Coverage is available in all 50 states as well as the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and many Caribbean destinations, although you’ll need to be a U.S. resident no matter where your wedding is held.
As wedding plans can change quickly, WedSafe’s policies are flexible enough to accommodate last-minute alterations. Cancellation coverage can be purchased as soon as 15 days before the date, although if you do need to call things off, you’ll have to supply a valid reason (such as severe weather or illness). The policy won’t reimburse lost deposits just because someone gets cold feet.
Best for Corporate Events: USLI
From conventions to company retreats, USLI covers corporate events that other insurers won’t touch and is our top choice for policies for corporate events.
Policies include general liability, liquor liability, and medical payments
Flexible terms for single- or multi-day events
Covers up to 10,000 guests
Hole-in-one insurance available up to $50,000 per hole
Policies must be purchased through an agent
Not ideal for smaller events
Unavailable in Alaska, Louisiana, and West Virginia
Getting insurance for a wedding or private party is a breeze, but corporate hosts often need specialized policies from insurers like USLI for sufficient event coverage. Whether your company is planning a large trade show, a charity fundraiser, or an employee gathering, USLI’s event insurance plans can be tailored to fit your needs. Coverage is available for up to 10,000 guests in 47 states.
Even for larger events, USLI policies are less expensive than you might think. For a single-day conference with 1,000 attendees, we were given a quote of just $250 for $2 million in general liability coverage and $550 for the same amount of liquor liability.
USLI also offers several unique types of additional coverage that might be particularly interesting to corporate hosts. For example, prize indemnity insurance can be purchased for charity golf contests up to a $50,000 limit per hole; the insurer will even donate an additional 20% of the prize amount to the charity recipient.
What Is Event Insurance?
Event insurance is a broad type of insurance that can include several types of coverage designed to protect event hosts. The most common type of event insurance is general liability, which covers lawsuits related to bodily injury or property damage resulting from your event. Many policies also include host liquor liability coverage, which protects you if a guest is overserved and causes injury or damage. Another popular form of event insurance is cancellation coverage, which helps recoup lost deposits and other costs if a major event such as a wedding needs to be cancelled due to circumstances out of your control.
Why Should I Get Event Insurance?
Event insurance is required by most venues, so you may not have a choice if you’ll be booking a space for the day. However, you should still consider event insurance if it’s not required or if you’re hosting the event at your private residence. While many homeowners insurance policies include a certain amount of liability coverage, limits aren’t usually sufficient for large gatherings. Talk to your home insurer before planning an event to see what is and isn’t covered and identify areas that might need supplemental insurance.
How Do I Get a Certificate of Insurance for an Event?
If your venue requires you to purchase event insurance, they’ll probably ask for a certificate of insurance (COI) as proof that you have enough coverage. These days, many insurers allow you to purchase event insurance online instantly and download your COI electronically within minutes. However, if you’re planning an event with a large number of guests or more unique coverage needs, it may take a few days to complete the underwriting process. If this is the case, the company should automatically send you a COI as soon as the policy has been issued.
What Does Event Insurance Cost?
According to the companies we reviewed, event insurance usually starts between $50 and $150 for $1 million in liability coverage. Your premium will depend on the event location, number of guests, whether alcohol is being served, and which types of coverage are included. Make sure to get multiple quotes when shopping for event insurance and compare not just pricing but also the exclusions listed in each policy.
How We Chose the Best Event Insurance Companies
Our evaluation of event insurers looked at more than 15 of the most popular companies for event hosts. We analyzed the types of coverage each insurer offers and asked for quotes to compare pricing. We also scrutinized customer service for each company, including the ease of getting a quote and purchasing coverage, which contact methods are available, and whether customers can retrieve their policy documents and certificate of insurance online.
Insurance Information Institute. "Facts + Statistics: Alcohol-impaired driving." Accessed September 1, 2020.