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Theatre Liability Insurance

Theatre Public Liability Insurance

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Theatre Public Liability Insurance

A theatre’s audience can make or break the performance, but if something goes wrong and someone is injured while visiting your theatre the resulting public liability claim could make or break your theatre company’s bottom line too.  

That’s why it would be a sensible idea for theatre companies to consider taking out theatre public liability insurance, which could cover the cost of legal fees and compensation payouts in the event of a liability claim. 

And it’s not just physical injury claims that this type of policy can protect your theatre from – public liability insurance for a theatre can also cover you if a theatregoer’s property is damaged or their valuables are stolen while they’re visiting the theatre and you’re held liable for that incident. 

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Is theatre public liability insurance legally required in the UK? 

No, public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement in the UK, although it might sometimes be mandatory for other reasons.  

For instance, if your theatre leases the building you hold your performances in from a landlord or real estate company it’s possible that your lease agreement might stipulate that public liability insurance is a mandatory requirement of that lease. 

What level of coverage will I be required to take out? 

Most public liability insurance companies will offer four levels of coverage when you’re taking out theatre public liability insurance: 

If theatre public liability insurance is a mandatory requirement in your lease agreement there’s a good chance the lease will insist that you take out either £2 million or £5 million of coverage. 

Of course, if you aren’t contractually obliged to take out theatre liability insurance but decide to take out a policy anyway you will be free to choose between all four levels of coverage. 

What types of risks does public liability insurance for a theatre protect my theatre company against? 

Theatre public liability insurance will cover your theatre company against a number of different “insurable events”, which are incidents that might result in a public liability claim. These insurable events can vary slightly from one insurance provider to the next, but the three standard ones are: 

  • If a visitor to your theatre is injured or killed and your theatre is held liable 
  • If a visitor’s property is damaged or destroyed while they’re visiting your theatre and you’re held liable 
  • If a visitor’s valuables are lost or stolen, and your theatre is held liable. 

Will my theatre public liability insurance policy cover the cost of legal fees if I’m sued by a guest? 

In most cases, your legal fees should be covered (at least in part) if you’re ever sued by a visitor to your theatre due to some sort of “insurable event”. 

It’s worth mentioning that there are a handful of public liability insurance companies that might charge an additional fee for this legal cover, treating it as an optional add-on in order to reduce your premium, but with the vast majority of policies legal cover will be included as standard. 

How much does public liability insurance for theatres tend to cost? 

The cost of a public liability insurance policy for theatres can vary quite considerably from one theatre company to the next, and from one insurance provider to the next, because providers take a wide range of different risk factors into consideration when they’re calculating your premium, and some will also give different weightings to different risk factors.  

For instance, the types of theatre productions you offer, the location of the theatre, the type of equipment your theatre uses and the number of visitors your theatre can hold can all influence the cost of your theatre liability insurance. 

As already mentioned, the level of coverage you opt for will also influence the cost of your public liability insurance policy.  

With that in mind, the best plan is to compare public liability insurance quotes from a wide range of different insurance providers, and then go with the one that offers the best coverage at the most competitive price.  

Can I take out short-term theatre liability insurance? 

Yes, it is possible to take out short-term theatre liability insurance, which might be worth considering if your theatre is only performing for a single day or for a short number of days. 

However, if there’s any possibility that you might put on another performance within the next 12 months then it’s worth considering an annual public liability insurance policy, which could prove more cost-effective than taking out a temporary theatre liability insurance policy for this performance and then another policy later in the year. 

Does theatre public liability insurance cover injuries to the theatre’s actors, musicians or other performers? 

No, as the name suggests public liability insurance will generally only cover your theatre against liability claims from members of the public. This will include guests and audience members, as well as other visitors to the theatre like couriers, removal people and delivery drivers.  

The theatre’s own employees won’t fall into this classification of members of the public, so you would need a separate employer’s liability insurance policy to protect your theatre company against liability claims from employees, employed contractors and temporary staff. 

If I own a travelling theatre can I still take out theatre public liability insurance? 

Yes, if your theatre company holds its theatre productions at different venues rather than at a single fixed venue you can still take out theatre public liability insurance, which will cover you if you face a public liability claim at any of the venues you travel to.  

Does that include venues that are outside the UK? 

Many of the best public liability insurance policies for theatre companies will cover you if you’re holding your theatre production at a venue outside the UK, although some will limit their coverage to Europe while others might offer worldwide public liability cover.  

One or two providers might limit your coverage to venues in the UK though, so it’s vital to check the policy’s small print before you sign on that dotted line.