Wedding Planning Success Lounge: Are your vendors insured?
Insurance is very important for event and wedding professionals. We as planners can always think about anything, be prepared for everything, but then unpredictable situations happen and, if you are not insured, you might get in trouble with the client. You need to have insurance coverage to avoid (or at least minimize) the issue and the consequences. The vendors you work with also must be covered and it’s your job to verify that way before the wedding day starts.
You might experience three different scenarios when it comes to vendor insurance.
Wedding couple is unaware of the requirements
Your clients start meeting with potential vendors and they book the one they really like. They don’t ask about insurance and they sign the agreement. Then, you come in as a day-of coordinator or month-of coordinator and you receive the list of vendors who were booked. You contact them and start collecting their insurance certificates to keep on file for the wedding day. Sometimes you get a vendor who doesn’t have insurance and his / her justification is “Nothing ever happened at my wedding, I’m an experienced and responsible professional and, for that reason I don’t need coverage”. What kind of answer is that??? We can avoid bad surprises up to a certain point, anything can happen. For that reason, you must be insured! That shows you’re a responsible professional. If vendors are not insured they should not work with you, they should not be able to provide services or products to your clients.
When that happens, I educate them on the benefits and the need of having insurance, especially for their reputation. I explain the difference between having to pay for insurance for a single event every time (that can cost $200-300 depending on the type of event) and the much better investment of having insurance year-long for a reduced cost (mine is $600/year). They usually decide to get insurance in order to keep the client and work at the wedding but, if they decline, then I’m forced to go in a different direction. Another problem comes up at that point: if the vendor has a signed agreement with the client they incur in a breach of contract. However, if the venue specifically requires that the vendor must provide proof of insurance then there’s nothing else to do. The vendor has to comply.
Vendors say they are insured but they’re not
In this case, you have the vendor’s word that they have insurance and they will send it to you. The client (and you if you’re hired for full-service planning) starts planning the wedding, books the vendors, and you start scheduling meetings, walk-throughs with the vendor team. The venue finally asks for all the insurance certificates and you remind all the vendors. How many times did you hear excuses after excuses from them? “I’m currently out of town”, “My insurance agent is not available”, “I’ve been too busy to send you the certificate, let me get back to you”, “I believe there’s a new insurance agent in the office, I’ll check on that”. Those excuses are a red flag because when I need to provide my certificate it takes me less than 24 hours to get it from my insurance company and send it to the venue. Always make sure that vendors are covered before starting the planning with them and having your client sign their agreement. Don’t wait until the venue wants to receive the certificates, collect them at the beginning of the planning.
Vendors are not insured and ask for the couple to pay
This is the worst case in my opinion because vendors take advantage of their wedding clients, and they convince the couple this is the way to go. No, this is not! I was in this exact situation a few months ago when a client of mine told me they had just booked this fantastic DJ. The only problem is that she was supposed to pay $250 for the DJ’s insurance and she honestly didn’t consider it in the budget. “No big deal” she told me, “but I would have liked to know before”. I explained that insurance is the vendor’s responsibility, not the client’s, and I immediately contacted the DJ asking him to get liability insurance. Better for his business, for his reputation, and repeated gigs. He declined saying that his clients always pay for his insurance. He’s not in favor of buying insurance for his business. Long story short, his decision unfortunately cost him the job and another DJ was hired for the wedding. Working with DJs can be very dangerous if there’s no coverage involved. They have heavy equipment, they deal with electric power, they run cables all over for their speakers. People might trip over the speaker cables, the speaker might fall on someone’s head if not secured properly and get injured… the list can go on and on.
You as a professional (whether you are a planner or a vendor) need to have insurance. You need to be covered if you want to be considered a professional, if you want to work in different locations without any limitations, and if you want to work with the best and most reputable planners and vendors. We don’t want to have any issues or problems, we don’t want to take any risk for ourselves and for our team vendors.
If you are a planner, always educate your wedding couples about vendor insurance. This is something that not many wedding planning magazines or websites mention and couples don’t know about it. I always go over with potential couples at our first meeting. Regardless of their decision to hire me, I want them to be aware that insurance is very important and they need to make sure their vendors are covered before they sign the agreement with them. That’s usually a big selling point for me because the couple can see how experienced in the subject I am and they see me as the perfect team player for their wedding planning. They know they can count on me for everything and I really care for them.
Let’s look at the different types of insurance for wedding professionals:
This protects you / your business from injuries, damages, loss, etc. I always recommend my coaching clients that they get insurance coverage as soon as they start their business. Even if you think it’s too big of an investment for a new business, it’s added peace of mind and protection in case something happens. I spend about $600/year for my general liability (think about it, it’s only $50 / month) and I could never imagine operating my business without it.
Contact your local insurance agent or you can search online. The company I use is Travelers for small businesses.
Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)
This covers the non-performance in case your client sue you for inadequate work or negligent actions regarding your service. You could even be sued by a third party (the venue, for instance) that suffers as a result of your negligent behavior. An example? This happened to a colleague of mine. She recommended one of her favorite photographers, he took pictures at the wedding but he never delivered them to the couple. It turned out, he lost the media card where all the images were stored. The wedding client sued the photographer and the planner because she was the one recommending the professional in the first place. This type of coverage costs more (it can be around $1,500 / year) but it’s added peace of mind.
Always do your research and find the best solution for your business. Again, you might have a limited budget if you’re just starting your own business. However, insurance is the best investment you can do to you and your business because, we always face risks every day, and we can never be prepared for everything.
Let’s chat about your business! Let me help you with insurance, legalities, and what you need to be successful and profitable. Schedule your FREE Clarity Call with me today 🙂
Holistic Precision Life Coach, Brain Wellness Coach, and Life-Work Balance Strategist for busy professionals. I blend well-being principles with epigenetics, neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness techniques to implement effective behavior changes.