Permits and Insurance Needed When Hosting an Event

Depending on the type of event you intend to host as well as the location of the event, local and state laws may require you to obtain specialized permits and or insurance in order for the event to be held. Failure to do so could result in hefty fines and potential law suits. Therefore, it pays to research your local permit and insurance guidelines as they relate to your specific event in the initial planning stages.

The following is a partial list of items that require permits.

  • Tents/Canopies - most cities consider tents and canopies to be temporary structures and depending on their size, intended use, and location temporary structures require permits and city approval before they can be erected.
  • Public Assembly - anytime the public assembles whether it is for rallies, protests, or promotional purposes, the city must approve the assembling and issue you a permit.
  • Amplified Sound - these permits can be hard to obtain and are considered and issued on a case by case basis within each market interest. It is advisable to give plenty of lead-time during the planning stages of your event in attempting to obtain this permit.
  • Electrical - many events require the use of electricity or on site generators in which event, you will need various permits from several different city agencies.
  • Street Activity - any "on street" activity requires a street activity permit regardless of the size of your group or what they are doing on the street.
  • Parks - if you plan to use a public or privately managed park as a site for your private, non-profit, or corporate event, you must secure a permit from the Parks Department.
  • Fireworks/Pyrotechnics - if your event is going to include a fireworks or pyrotechnics display, you must obtain the correct approvals and permits from the local city.

Not all events require the host to obtain insurance however, in many instances insurance is an absolute must have and will serve to protect you from potential law suits and liability charges. Insurance needs are evaluated on a case by case basis depending on each specific event and may include some or all of the following liability, property, commercial auto, and umbrella coverage.

Liability is the most common event insurance issued and typically covers products, completed operations, personal injury, premises rented to you, host liquor legal liability, and aggregate coverage.

The laws between different cities and states vary therefore; you should be sure to have a thorough understanding of what is required and ensure you are in compliance prior to booking your event. Be safe not sorry and have the safest event you possibly can.