Wedding season is just around the corner! Receptions have become lavish events that can include hiring bands, propelling from helicopters, liquor, food and snacks to entertain guests, party favors for guests and the list goes on.

Hosting lavish events at a spectacular venue brings its own host of insurance concerns. If a guest has too much alcohol and then leaves the event, causing an accident the host of the event could be held liable.  If someone trips and falls during the event after drinking too much, the host could be held responsible for medical bills.  And, sometimes the venue owner asks to be covered for all of these scenarios as part of the contract to lease the space.  After all, most attorneys will attempt to name all parties remotely involved in the event to maximize compensation for their client.

If a guest leaves the event after drinking too much and kills a family, your homeowners policy may not provide adequate coverage and your personal assets may be at risk. You may even be subject to wage garnishment if you can’t adequately provide payment for injuries to the other party.  If the venue hosting the event is also named in the suit, your homeowners policy provides no coverage for them since they do not meet the definition of insured.

If you are hosting an event of this nature, how are you covered in the event that one of these scenarios takes place? In most cases, a homeowners policy will cover host liquor liability and claims involving a guest tripping or falling.  However, coverage may be limited to $100,000 or $300,000 per occurrence.  Typically, a homeowners policy will cover the named insured and family members, but not a venue as insured.  And, some wedding venues require you to cover them as part of the contract you sign while at the same time providing $1,000,000 of liability coverage.

It may be worth your time to purchase a special event liability policy. This type of policy covers the parties hosting the event and also the venue.  You can select the liability limit that best meets the need of your contract with the venue.  Typically, you can also include liquor liability coverage, event cancellation coverage, setup and tear down coverage and coverage for theft of gifts at the event.  The cost is minimal and is usually based on number of guests, liability limit you choose and the number of days you need coverage.  Check with your insurance agent if you have an event like this in your near future!