Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Event Insurance Firms - Opinions and Recommendations?

Everyone has seen an event prospectus or applications which has statements that say that exhibitors are required to carry general or specific types of liability insurance in the amount of a bazillion dollars. These requirements also usually indicate that a certificate of insurance needs to accompany the application and should name the event or event entity as co-insured on the certificate.  

Lastly, the certificate sometimes must accompany the application, or you don't get in, regardless of being the next Modigliani..

So far, I have managed to avoid doing events like this one, or they have been too lazy to check my paperwork when I have applied, for the required pieces of paper.

But finally, it would appear that I will actually have to secure this insurance for an upcoming event. I thought I'd reach out to the community and get folks to recommend agencies which specialize in this type of insurance. Also, I'd like to hear if anyone has actually had to make a claim on this sort of policy coverage and what their experiences were when this happened?

Last but not least, opinions on seasonal versus event coverage and costs for both.

I remember reading a Sunshine Artist article a while back which covered this aspect of the business, but when I looked in the most recent issue, I could find a single insurer listed. (That's an advertising revenue opportunity for somebody if they're paying attention....)

And one last question... if the event is six months out and you are required to include the certificate in the application materials prior to jurying, how does that work? You're usually carrying the insurance for a limited number of, or just a single event and the event is months away. You are not going to want to pay out in advance for an event you may or may not be accepted into. Is there some sort of contingency basis upon which these policies are written?

Thanks in Advance


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Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on March 23, 2016 at 11:37am

I'm grateful to have materials covered. We had some items in a jewelry store many years ago where there was a fire.  Nothing was covered by their insurance. I'm a worrier, so the liability part of the insurance is worth the peace of mind.  Have you looked into any other insurance offers Mark?

Comment by Mark V. Turner on March 22, 2016 at 9:26pm
So I called ACT and started to ask questions on their coverages. Ok, here's where it gets interesting. I am a painter. If my inventory is lost, damaged destroyed, ACT only covers the material cost of your paintings....canvas, paint, and frame. Not the asking price, not your professional time to produce the work.

BUT - If your tent wipes out another painters work, they are compensated for the finished value of their work. But you are not.

Another goodie: if you're a candle maker or make food products for people or pets, you're SOL. ACT doesn't cover you at all for product liability.

If you want your paintings insured for their sale price value, or a portion thereof, you have to have them appraised by a professional appraiser and this is done on your nickel.

The ACT folks did refer me to a soap makers guild. If you make one cosmetic item per year, you can get liability coverage and other aspects of insurance that ACT offers - even as a candle maker through their guild. Cost runs about 600/ year+\-. Apparently, candle product liability is a contentious issue.

So ACT is great for liability insurance purposes, slip trip and fall... But not for your inventory. Your 1000$ painting is worth the canvas,paint, and wood costs.
Comment by Wallace Fuller on March 21, 2016 at 2:35pm

I would suggest to all of you who are questing the value of insurance to talk to an insurance agent that you know or who you trust. Most of you have to have insurance on your vehicles and that may a good agent to start with. In our experience we found out that our normal car insurance did not cover any of the art work that we had in our van. We now have an insurance policy that covers our art work in transit and we also have separate coverage with ACT. We also own a farm and another business and all are covered by separate policies plus we have a Universal policy that covers us in case of any injuries on our properties. Believe me if you are ever sued for anything you will be glad that you have as much insurance as possible. In our case of being sued the insurance company was are strongest defender in court.       

Comment by Mark V. Turner on March 21, 2016 at 1:44pm
I don't see how being an S Corporation relieve you from the necessity of carrying insurance as an LLC. How do you deal with a liability situation and what are your limits of liability at that point does the corporation pay for it.

Despite being an LLC, your personal assets can possibly still be at risk. An S-corp is more about the timing of the compensation of the officers from corporation assets , isn't it?

And even if you are able to limit your liability in a lawsuit situation, you're still paying legal fees. A person harmed by the actions or lack thereof of your corporation can drag your corporation through a lot of litigation and appeals that you must pay or risk being found liable. And what about the concept of "piercing the corporate veil" to get at the underlying assets of the corporate officers?
Comment by Ross Graham on March 21, 2016 at 11:21am

Hi Collette and Berry,

From my multiple discussions with show directors and organizers, I've learned that their main reason for requiring insurance from each vendor is that they are not wanting to be held liable for liability (bodily injury or property damage to a third party) that vendors may cause.  For example if a vendors tent blows over and hits someone else or someone else's property, they would want the artist who's tent caused the damage to be responsible for damage caused to the other people.  The argument is "well don't they have their own policy?".  Yes they probably do, however, insurance carriers and venues may require that each individual vendor have insurance as well to be on the premise.  With society as litigious as it is, venues, insurance carriers, risk underwriters and organizers or directors of events are not wanting to take on the exposure or liability that their individual vendors may cause.  They are not trying to be unfair or unjust, they are trying to protect themselves and their ability to host or direct events in the future.  Having and proving that you have General Liability Insurance is becoming a standard "cost of doing business" that is why we have tried to offer the most cost effective option to meet the insurance requirements for these events.

You can contact any one of our agents  if you have more questions at or 888-568-0548.

Comment by collette fortin & berry davis on March 21, 2016 at 11:03am

These "what if " issues are why my late brother-in-law Scott set up our company as an s-corp.It may not work for every Artist in every medium,but it works fine for us.Being required to purchase insurance is an extra unnecessary fee. If a show insists on the Artist carrying insurance,a copy of the company's charter should suffice proving you are a limited liability corp.If, indeed the required insurance is to protect the artist and her or his work! This issue should be up to the individual artist, not a uniform forced issue. Many Artists work on a shoestring,[forgoing shows with high fees, sleeping in their vans,etc.] and this is one more fee that can add up quickly if every show demanded proof of insurance.

Comment by Ron Andrews on March 19, 2016 at 6:01pm

Jan, you are so right!

Comment by Jan Hubbard on March 19, 2016 at 5:54pm
I agree insurance makes sense you insure everything else why not your work in this wonderful world we live in now people steel at the drop of a hat and people sue for their coffee being to hot so yes protect your self better safe than sorry.
Comment by Ron Andrews on March 19, 2016 at 12:27pm

I understand about not wanting another fee tacked on, however, have you thought about the fact that "someone could get hurt in your booth"?  Someone could trip, a display could come down, etc., etc.  What would happen then?  A lot of people would not hesitate to sue.  Also, the insurance covers your work, if it were to get stolen.  Insurance makes sense.

Ron Andrews

Comment by collette fortin & berry davis on March 19, 2016 at 10:57am

I feel that the show promoter should cover insurance issues-it is yet another fee to be paid for by the artist.If an artist is forced to purchase insurance at 10 shows,at $40.00 a the math.This could be an expensive precedent. Also, I have never heard an outcome of the show insurance being used. I would be curious to hear about a situation where the insurance is actually used, and who benefits, and how.If you are a S corp,[as many artists and craftspeople are] you already carry insurance-both workman's comp, and limited liability.But you are still forced to shell out for insurance that benefits whom? 

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