Holding events is a common form of effective fundraising for charities and voluntary organisations. Whilst you will want to focus as much time as possible into raising money for your cause, it’s important to ensure that you’re controlling any potential risks and arrange adequate insurance protection – should the worst happen.

Whether your event is a small coffee morning or a summer festival involving the whole town, having the right insurance in place is essential. Your charity and your trustees have a duty of care to your employees, volunteers, participants and members of the public and the required insurance can vary depending on the type of event and who is involved – so it is important to make sure you are clear on the details of your insurance policy.

Most types of events you are responsible for should be able to be covered under your main combined policy. However, you should always ensure that all types of events and activities have been declared and agreed with insurers. You should also be clear, where third parties such as stallholders or activity organisers are involved, that they are aware of their responsibilities including having their own insurances in places if required.

Below we’ve broken down the types of cover available and what makes up a typical policy.

Public Liability Insurance

Public Liability insurance covers your organisation in the instance that someone injures themselves at your event or there is damage to a third party’s property which come about because of your negligence. For example, if you held an Arts and Crafts fair and an attendee tripped over misplaced storage boxes and hurt themselves, you could be held liable. Similarly, if you damaged a rented space whilst holding a fundraising event such as a clothes drive or an auction, the owner of the space could look to seek compensation.

Although Public Liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement when holding an event, it may be a requirement of the venue owner to have this in place and it could save your charity or community group thousands of pounds in the event of a claim.

Employers’ Liability Insurance

Employers’ Liability insurance is a legal requirement if your charity is employing staff for the event, whether these are temporary, part-time or full-time workers. If an employee experiences an injury or illness during the event as a result of your negligence, they can take legal action against you. For example, you could be held responsible if one of your staff members injures their ankle whilst putting up decorations for your charity summer ball because you provided them with a broken stepladder

If you have taken out Employers’ Liability insurance for your employees, then it’s likely that your volunteers will also be covered under this policy, although you should double check with your insurer/broker before you host your event. Whilst you don’t legally need to have Employers’ Liability insurance if you are only using volunteers, it does generally provide better protection for them and your organisation.

Equipment Insurance

Whether you are organising a fun run, a fete or a bake sale, if you are using some form of equipment to deliver your event, you may need to cover these too including if they are hired especially for the occasion. The costs of expensive electrical equipment such as laptops, speakers and microphones can soon add up if they need to be replaced due to being lost, damaged or stolen. Equipment cover can protect your organisation against paying out for expensive repairs or replacements.  If you have a combined insurance policy in place you may have some automatic cover already for temporarily taking equipment away from your main premises to the special event venue.

Event Cancellation Insurance

Event cancellation cover can safeguard your charity or voluntary organisation against the costs and expenses that may occur as a result of a cancelled, disrupted or postponed event. Event cancellation may compensate for reasons out of your control such as adverse weather, terrorism or non-appearance of key speakers or performers that would lead to you cancelling the event, as well as a multitude of other reasons.

If this type of cover is required it is advisable to arrange as far in advance as possible otherwise it may be more costly or more difficult to obtain if requested too close to the actual event

Top Tips to reduce risk when planning events:

  • create a comprehensive risk assessment for every event
  • ensure your insurance cover meets the needs of any third-party venue hirer
  • check that third party stallholders and activity organisers have the right level of insurance cover in place
  • inform appropriate authorities about your event in good time.

Where can I go for more information?

This article has been kindly contributed by Aviva’s charity insurance brokers BHIB Insurance, Allied Westminster, and charity specialist MGA, aQmen Underwriting

Are you looking for specialist insurance or need advice on your charity’s requirements? Our Aviva products are available via insurance brokers across the UK. If you already have an insurance broker, please contact them for guidance and to get a quote.

If you need to find a broker, this look up tool from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) will help you locate one local to you.

Alternatively, we work with three intermediaries who specialise in charity insurance products. Please feel free to contact them directly to receive their expert advice.