Street party insurance
Buying insurance or not
Many small residents-only street parties do not take out Public Liability Insurance.
But, some councils REQUIRE it as a condition for giving you a Temporary Road Closure / Regulation Order, in which case you have no choice. But is is only about £50 for example from the company below, to cover liability of the ‘organisers’ at a low level of cover such as only £1million.
If your Council only RECOMMENDS it you may choose to not bother to buy it.
Instead the Council may ask the Road Closure Applicant to sign a Disclaimer on behalf of the street.
We do not recommend any one company or policy.
In 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee about 2 million people took part in street parties. Some of them had insurance cover but there were no claims at all made in the whole country, according to the insurance companies at the time.
Although such insurance can be useful for larger street parties with lots of activities, we have found that raising the funds for the £50+ premium is a total show-stopper for less well-off communities, and can dampen the goodwill in better off communities. £5m PLI cover commonly demanded by councils can rarely be justified as it might cover 2 deaths and resurfacing of the road, which is very unlikely! Larger public events where the risk of liability is higher would, however, need full insurance cover – buy it here.
The risks at most street parties are usually very low and so the risk of liability to organisers and councils is low. This is because they are self-organised by residents right outside their door and activities are usually very modest.
Planning a safe event is the best way of reducing risks and so it is important to suggest to residents to consider and minimise all risks. Councils demanding to complete a risk assessment we believe is unnecessarily complex and residents are unlikely to be skilled to carry out such paper work.
Instead of insurance many councils use an Indemnity Clause for someone to sign on behalf of the street if the Council feels that they need to protect their liability – and we have a good example of this.
Residents should be aware of potential questions about the validity and limitations of such insurance in street parties which are usually loosely arranged events, where often there is no constituted organisation, formal group or records involved.
Whoever buys the insurance, or signs a Disclaimer, is in effect doing so on behalf of the street and is not practically, and cannot be, responssible for the event, because they are not in charge of it – they cannot alone control what other participants do.
Residents should read the Insurance Policy in advance as it may have exclusions such as:
- Inflatables / bouncy castles – policies often exclude injury to users. Also, supplier’s own insurance usually only covers the equipment, not the user.
- Other contractors such as entertainers need their own insurance.
- The ‘excess’ first £250-500 of a claim.
- Setting up and taking down.
- Damage to or loss of property belonging to the ‘insured’.
- Acts of vandalism or anything as a result of alcohol etc.
- Taking part in more risky sports etc.
If residents are being required by councils to take out insurance but you don’t want it, please contact us for free advice.
Detailed advice for councils is here – residents can send this link to them. It may be that they are just asking for this automatically for all events and not thinking about small street parties.
Larger publicly promoted events certainly would require insurance.
Important note: This advice is to help in planning an event, but it is not intended to constitute a complete list of organisational arrangements, responsibilities or liabilities for the planning of a street party or event. Seek professional advice if organisers are in any doubt.
Read our more detailed Guide to Public Liability insurance and Street Parties