Street party insurance
Buying insurance or not
Many small residents-only street parties DO NOT buy Public Liability Insurance, whatever some insurance companies say on their websites. Bristol has over 100 street parties every year and very few buy insurance. By contrast, many public events do tend to need insurance which you can get here. The difference between events is explained here.
Insurance is not legally required for small street parties even though some companies state or imply that insurance is essential which is not true – see the Government’s Myths here. Smal neighbours’ events are generally safe and little can go wrong as everyone is watching and can see if there is a minor risk to someone.
But some councils REQUIRE it as a condition for giving you a Temporary Road Closure / Traffic Regulation Order, in which case you have no choice. It costs about £50+ for example from the company below to cover £5m liability cover of the ‘organisers’. Arguing with councils against this is not easy and would take time.
Some insurance companies advertise lower prices which may be only for £1m or £2m cover which most councils will not accept anyway.
Any person buying the insurance as the ‘proposer’ or ‘applicant’ does so on behalf of the street, and is not personally liable or responsible for the event as you cannot control what your neighbours do. So when applying some people have chosen to say that they are applying ‘as an individual’ and can meet the insurer’s conditions. But the ‘Insured’ could be described something like YOUR ROAD Street Party, or whatever is your case.
If your Council only RECOMMENDS insurance you may choose to not buy it.
Instead, your Council may ask the road closure applicant on behalf of the street to sign a Disclaimer, or give conditions saying that the council is not responsible for the event, which is true.
Insurance is mainly about money and does not make an event safe.
What matters is that all residents think together about minimising any risks from accident such as burns on a BBQ, damage, electricity, rain, trips, breakages, etc. Agree in advance that everyone should take responsibility for themselves and watch out for each other, especially children – you could say this on the invitation if you want.
Risk Assessments – Councils demanding to complete a risk assessment we believe is unnecessarily complex and some residents are unlikely to be skilled to carry out such paper work in a meaningful way.
We do not recommend any one insurance broker or company or policy, and we are not qualified to do so.
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 or public events, 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 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.
Insurance is only about financial liability! and so planning a safe event is the best way of reducing risks. 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 in any meaningful way.
Instead of insurance many councils use an Indemnity Clause or conditions 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. Bristol has over 100 street parties each year and the Council gives conditions in a signed indemnity clauses.
Be aware of 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, responsible for the event, because they are not in charge of it – they cannot alone control what other participants do.
If buying insurance 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 users.
- 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.
Residents can send this page above 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.