Friday, 2 September 2011

Craft Show Confidential: Insurance

Ever since Hurricane Irene devastated the east coast of the United States, I've often thought about the importance of insurance.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with craft shows.

Well, for one thing, you may find that some craft shows require that you have liability insurance in order to exhibit. Sometimes show promoters will include liability coverage for vendors and the cost is included in your booth fee. If you have to carry your own liability coverage, you might be asked to send proof to the promoter, so be prepared to make copies of your policy.

No one wants to be held responsible if something goes horribly, horribly wrong, so be sure to confirm who is responsible for liability coverage as soon as you sign up for the show.

Then there's the question of having insurance to cover you when in transit to/from and while exhibiting at a craft show. This is known as "inland marine" insurance, so named because it's for when you're not at your usual business location.

What does it cover? Individual policies vary, but coverage could include any of the following: supplies, equipment, booth structure, materials, and/or other business property. It would cover any of these things in-transit and at the location of the craft show.

For example, I heard a story where someone's entire inventory was destroyed at a craft show when another vendor's booth fell on top of theirs. Inland marine insurance would cover those losses. The fact is that things happen - protect yourself and your business.

The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (a.k.a. CERF+ and my former employer), is a wonderful resource for learning more about how to better protect your business against from unforeseen emergencies. In a nutshell (from their website):

CERF+ is a national artists’ service organization whose mission is to safeguard and sustain the careers of craft artists and provide emergency resources that benefit all artists.

Even though CERF+ is based in the United States, they provide information that is helpful to all artists - their website is definitely worth a visit. Their companion website,, offers additional tips on how to determine which insurance policy is best for you.

Craig Nutt, CERF+'s Director of Programs (and all-around cool guy), offered me the following advice on investigating insurance policies:
  • Look for what's covered, then look for what's excluded.
  • Read the policy thoroughly.
  • Ask a lot of questions.
Unfortunately, I don't know anything about business insurance in other countries. I'd love to hear from those of you in non-U.S. locations. I'm also interested in hearing folks' experiences with business insurance.

Send me an Email and I'll include it in a follow-up post. Be sure to include your name and a link to your Etsy shop.

Additional Resources:

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