Baubles are adorning office desks up and down the land. Bars and pubs are ringing out to the strains of Wizzard and Shakin’ Stevens. And office managers and business owners are quietly worrying as they tuck into a mince pie.
We don’t want to dampen spirits, but the reality is that this time of the year can be risky for businesses. From trips on tinsel to damaged equipment, the fun can quickly turn sour and cause big bills. Luckily, Christmas event insurance gives you peace of mind that you’re covered this holiday season. Whether you have a restaurant, shop, office, or factory read our guide so you can relax, enjoy a Merry Christmas, and have a happy (and bill-free!) New Year too.
Need help with your Christmas events insurance? Call our friendly team for impartial advice.
Deck the halls, but be careful
Everyone loves a bit of tinsel, a few baubles, and a Christmas tree in the corner of the office or shop. But put them in the wrong place and you could be accidentally breaking Health and Safety rules. If that happens, your insurance could be invalidated, and you won’t get a penny if something unexpected happens. That doesn’t mean you have to go all Grinch and ban decorations. Here are a few tips to help you get the festive look and stay safe:
- Don’t hang decorations on lights. If you do, it can cause a fire hazard.
- Make sure the wires for Christmas lights are safely tucked away. You don’t want any members of staff, visitors, or customers tripping over them.
- Double-check that the decorations are not blocking a fire exit.
- Opt for LED lights as these don’t give off heat.
- Use a step ladder to put up and take down out of reach decorations.
- Do not stand on a chair or desk.
It’s not just meeting health and safety rules that you need to think about. Faulty electrical items are a leading cause of fires at Christmas. It’s a common myth that lights have to undergo PAT testing. Technically they don’t but do check first if electrical items, such as singing Santas or Christmas lights, are CE approved.
Because Christmas lights are not a feature all through the year, problems caused by them may not be covered by your usual insurance policy. Check the small print first or speak to your broker to be sure. If you need to, you can take out additional Christmas lights insurance for a small premium. It’s a little price to pay for peace of mind that your pretty lights won’t land you with an ugly big bill.
Christmas events insurance
Christmas events are another big deal for your business. These include one-off customer festive events, like shop open evenings, and the office party. Whatever you’re planning, insurance needs to be part of the preparation.
Special events like shop preview evenings or Christmas fairs
If you are putting on a Christmas event, such as a preview event for customers, then you need to think about add-on insurance. Events held outside of usual business hours or that attract more visitors aren’t always covered by your standard business insurance. If that’s the case, it’s prudent to buy ‘one-off’ insurance. Speak to your insurance broker for advice.
The Christmas party is top of the to-do list for many businesses. But deciding on catering and the venue are not the only important decisions to make. Staff welfare at the party should be a top priority whether the party is on-site or out at a different venue such as a restaurant or club. Any injury caused during a Christmas party may not be covered under your employer’s liability insurance. It’s better to be sure, so check with your insurance adviser.
- If you’re having the party at your business premises, your business insurance may not cover damage caused to equipment. Don’t worry; you don’t need to call the whole thing off. You can buy day cover specifically for the party without breaking the bank.
- If you’re going to a different venue for your party, they will usually have adequate insurance to cover most things that can go wrong. To be sure, ask to see copies of their insurance. While you don’t want to risk being underinsured, there is no point doubling up on insurance if you don’t need to. If you’re still not sure, speak to your insurance broker.
The host with the most
If you’re a venue that regularly hosts parties, entertainment, and social events then you’ve probably already got comprehensive events insurance. However, during a Christmas party things can get ‘lively’. That means the chances of suffering breakages or damage is higher. If your venue insurance doesn’t quite give you the cover you want or think you may need, then the pre-Christmas period is the best time to get it updated.
Make sure you’ve got the right type of insurance in place and, if necessary, add to it to give you complete peace of mind.
Other things to think about include:
- Are you bringing any extra equipment into your venue, for example, a bigger sound system or snow machine? If so, is this covered by your current policy?
- If you regularly host events, it may be cheaper to increase your cover levels for the whole year rather than for a one-off party.
- Will you expect bigger crowds over Christmas and New Year? Check that your existing insurance doesn’t have a cap on numbers. If it does, check it is high enough or get this changed so you’re covered.
You’ll also find that potential customers are savvy when it comes to events insurance. Be sure you’ve got all the documentation and insurance certificates ready to show if they ask for them.
Avoid unexpected bills
Remember; never assume anything.
- If you’re looking for a venue to hold a Christmas party, then make sure you contact the venue operator beforehand and find out what insurance cover they have.
- If you’re an employer then check that your public liability insurance and Employer’s insurance covers you for off-site, work-related events.
- Finally, if you’re decorating a public area such as a shop or reception area, make sure that you’re not in breach of any of your current insurance stipulations or Health and Safety legislation.
This article was originally published in November 2016. It has since been completely updated to provide you with the best and most accurate information.
Christmas is a time for having fun. But read the small print on your insurance policy first, and if in doubt, contact one of our friendly team at Park Insurance and we’ll be able to help you with no-nonsense, honest advice on events insurance and other cover.