If you’re new to trade shows, you might not realize that most venues require you to carry short-term liability insurance. Getting ready to exhibit at a trade show is complicated, time-consuming and frustrating as it is. Don’t add overwhelm about coverage. Below is an overview of who needs it, the specifics of coverage and where to buy it.
Exhibit venues want you to carry liability insurance as a way to reduce their losses in the event something happens. What could happen? Check out these three scenarios:
- if you offer samples of your new hot chocolate mix, a visitor might burn her mouth
- someone might spill it accidentally and the next person walking by slips and falls
- one of the shelves holding your cans of cocoa mix might fall, causing damage to other booths or hitting an innocent bystander
It is a litigious society, and event promoters are doing the proper thing to protect themselves. The big advantage, of course, is that you are protected also.
You need to plan for the unexpected. This is true if you plan to show your goods at an industrial trade fair, craft show, festival, farmers market, convention, party, sporting event, auction, farm show, arts festival or any type of exhibition or event.
Who Needs the Insurance?
A very wide range of people need this coverage. If you participate at an event in any way, you should have coverage. A partial list includes:
- food vendors
- arts and craft vendors
- trade show exhibitors
- retail cart operators
- farmer’s market vendors
- small kiosk operators
- gift wrap booth operators
- job fair booth operators
- Christmas tree lot operators
- Face painters
- Celebrity appearances
- Santa and other character photo booths
- Pumpkin patches
- Game booths
What Type of Insurance?
The exhibition management will require you to buy short-term liability coverage to the tune of $1 million when you participate as a vendor or kiosk operator. You’ll also be asked to add the person running the event to your insurance as Additional Insured. This protects him from the lawsuits if you are sued by a person attending the event.
This is in addition to property insurance, which is also a good idea, especially if you plan to exhibit for several days. If you already have an umbrella general liability insurance policy, it will not meet the requirements for short-term liability coverage. You need to invest in a separate policy for each and every event you attend.
Where Do You Get It?
The first place to try is your business insurance agent. But it commonly happens that you might find that your agent is unfamiliar with this specialized coverage. Special events and trade shows are an industry unto themselves. The relationship between the organizers of the event, the promoters and the actual venue is often complicated and not well understood by those outside the field.
This type of business insurance policy can be bought online for competitive rates. Coverage is available for very short periods, from one to five days, and as long as thirty days. Some policies are available that cover six-month periods.