Public liability cover for weddings

For the vast majority of people planning their wedding day, the first time they would have come across the term ‘public liability’ is either in their venue booking contract or when they are looking for wedding insurance.  Many venues today make it a stipulation of your booking with them that you have some form of public liability in place, and in many instances, they may request a minimum of £5m in liability cover. 

Public liability is required to cover damage to the venue or death, injury to third parties that you or your guests may be held liable for.  So, you may think its easy right?  Simply, look for some wedding insurance and where they say ‘Public Liability’ included then your covered… right?  Wrong… unfortunately it’s not quite as straight forward as that and unfortunately in many cases it can be misleading.

You see, many wedding insurance providers really do misuse the term ‘public liability’.  For a start, its not ‘public liability’.  The correct term that should be used is ‘personal liability’… Why?

Public liability is normally purchased by a business to insure their legal liability for death or injury to members of the public or damage to third party property resulting from their activities as a business. Personal liability is purchased by someone who wants to insure their legal liability for injury to third parties or damage caused to third party property where they may be held legally liable on a personal basis.  So really, the appropriate term that should be used is ‘personal liability’.

In addition, its important to point out that in the vast majority of cases, many wedding insurance providers who say they include ‘public liability’ cover in their policy actually only cover the personal liability of the wedding participants and not their guests.  For example, if you take a look at John Lewis Wedding Insurance, they include public liability of £5m as standard in their policy.  However, when you read the terms of their policy and the exclusions it states the following:

“This Section does not provide cover in respect of liabilities arising from the actions of anyone other than the prospective marriage or civil partners, except insofar as the prospective marriage or civil partners would be held liable for them at law”

As such, the John Lewis policy does not provide liability cover for wedding guests under the standard terms of their policy.  In fact, this is the case across the vast majority of other wedding insurance providers.  Very few include liability for guests as standard.  Instead, they offer these as extensions that can be added to the policy for an additional premium.

At Wedinsure, we address this by firstly referring to ‘public liability’ more appropriately as ‘personal liability’ and ‘guest personal liability’.  Furthermore, to make it easy for customers we automatically include £2m of personal liability (section 10) and guest personal liability (section 12) as standard across all tier levels.  In addition, we also offer an optional liability extension to increase the level of cover from £2m to £5m for an additional premium of £50.

So, its important when you are researching the market and looking at wedding insurance and comparing prices that you look closely at what is and isn’t covered under the public liability terms of the policy. 

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