Why It’s Important To Have Insurance For Your Backyard Wedding Or Special Event

Bride and groom are standing outdoors overlooking a nearby lake

Special events held in backyards are becoming increasingly popular, especially while the spread of COVID-19 continues to be a concern.

Celebrations of all kinds are usually held in the summer and fall when the weather is fine, and there is often considerable competition for rental spaces. Now, on top of that, there is pent-up demand, as well, for venues to host special functions because of pandemic closures that began in March. This is causing event planners to be more creative and host more events in backyards.

There are also other considerations that make a backyard event a good choice. Hosting a wedding, party, dance or fundraiser at an event centre, banquet hall, country club or hotel ballroom can eat up a big chunk of your budget, so you can save money by avoiding these rental costs. A backyard function also allows you to personalize the look and theme a little more as well – and can make your celebration more intimate and memorable.

Your event planning should include getting insurance

Couple looking at documents

If you are considering hosting an event in your backyard, insurance should be a priority.

“Most people don’t know that special event insurance exists,” says Jason Foroglou, the director of Ivantage Insurance Brokers Inc., which is subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, in an interview. “You get through everything, all those investments. Then someone says, ‘Have you considered insurance?”

Event insurance provides protection if you are sued or held responsible for damage or injury caused to another person or property.

You can be held liable

When any event is held on your property, there are countless risks that might arise. Insurance gives you peace of mind, Foroglou says.

In an interview, Matthew Taylor, general manager at PAL Insurance Brokers Canada Ltd., says he has seen many things go wrong. For example, at one wedding, a grandmother stumbled on flower petals tossed on the wedding aisle by the flower girl and seriously injured herself; and, in another situation, an aunt, who didn’t see the edge of a two-foot high podium that was covered by a curtain and set up for photographs, fell and broke her leg. Risks can be anywhere.

Alcohol must also be considered carefully. With private property events, the host cannot sell the alcohol and make a profit from liquor sales. In a public location, you may need a liquor permit, and all alcohol must be purchased under the permit, for sale or consumption at the event, Taylor says. You want to make sure you’ve got the necessary permits in place, and take precautions against drinking and driving, such as offering people a place to stay overnight.

Commercial general liability insurance, under the Special Event Liability Insurance – which includes host liquor liability – is a good place to start, Taylor says. “That will provide coverage for the [host(s)] if they are named in a lawsuit.”

You can get different kinds of coverage depending on your needs

The most popular liability coverage is $1 million and, for larger events, you can get up to $5 million coverage for general liability, with deductibles from $1,000, Taylor says.

General liability insurance is typically for the specific day of the event. It doesn’t cover contractors who might come in to set up a tent, for example. Hosts need to make sure contractors have their own liability insurance in place.

Consider special coverage for weddings

If your backyard event is the wedding of your dreams, PAL offers a more comprehensive coverage plan called Weddinguard. It offers “more enhancements, additional coverage that doesn’t cost that much more, but adds a lot of benefits,” Foroglou says. “People can spend more on the cake than they do on the insurance.”

Weddinguard covers general and liquor liability for the wedding and reception day but it also expands to cover the day before, such as the rehearsal dinner, as well as the day after, for such things as gift opening or brunch.

The kinds of things that might be covered are lost deposits, honeymoon cancellations, loss or damage to bridal attire or wedding rings. The insurance may also cover extra expenses if photos need to be redone or if rented items are damaged.

“This is total peace of mind for the bride and groom,” Taylor says. “People spend tens of thousands of dollars on weddings. We are really talking about hundreds of dollars, a small amount, to protect all those investments they are making.”

When you’re looking into any insurance, make sure you also find out about special restrictions or policy changes because of COVID-19.


DISCLAIMER: This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice. Information about features and coverage may not be the same as the actual policy wording which will prevail in all instances. Certain terms, conditions and limitations may apply. *Weddinguard product is unable to provide any insurance coverage in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Liabilities, Cancellations, quarantines, etc. related in any way to the COVID-19 pandemic will be excluded under the Weddinguard program.

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