Last Updated: May 31, 2024, 7:06 am by TRUiC Team

Theatre Company Insurance

Getting business insurance for your theatre company is essential.

This is because owners of theatre companies need to be protected against a plethora of different risks, including bodily injuries, property damage, and copyright infringement disputes.

For example, an employed actor could accidentally fall down and injure themselves during a theatrical performance, or your stage equipment could be damaged due to poor maintenance.

We’ll help you find the most personalized and affordable coverage for your unique business.

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Recommended: Next Insurance is dedicated to matching small businesses with the right policy at the best price.

Best Insurance for a Theatre Company

General liability insurance is — generally speaking — one of the most important insurance policies for theatre companies.

Some of the risks general liability insurance covers are:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Medical payments
  • Legal defense and judgment
  • Personal and advertising injury

Even so, you will likely need to purchase additional coverage types in order to adequately protect your theatre company from all foreseeable risks.

Additional policies that should be considered include:

  • Workers’ compensation insurance (protects you against employment law-related claims)
  • Commercial property insurance (protects theatrical equipment and business assets from damage or theft)
  • Business income insurance (covers part of your lost income in the event that you need to halt operations)
  • Intellectual property insurance (protects you from disputes that arise as a result of copyright infringements)

Note: You will need to decide what type of business insurer you will purchase your coverage from.

As of 2024, there are two options available for small businesses:

  • Online insurers: Examples include Tivly and Next Insurance.
  • Brick-and-mortar insurers: Examples include Nationwide, The Hartford, and CNA.

As a small business owner, you will likely benefit the most from going with the first option. This is because online insurers have significantly lower overheads, and can thus over personalized coverage at much lower rates.

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Cost of General Liability Insurance

On average, theatre companies in America spend between $500 - $1,100 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.

Compare the average cost of general liability insurance for a theatre company to other professional industries using the graph below.

Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:

  • Location
  • Deductible
  • Number of employees
  • Per-occurrence limit
  • General aggregate limit

You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner’s policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy.

A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.

Graph showing average price of general liability insurance prices per industry

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Common Situations That General Liability Insurance May Cover for a Theatre Company

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Example 1: While on tour, one of your actors causes extensive damage to a host theatre’s dressing room. They are suing for $56,000 in damages to replace and repair damaged property. General liability insurance would cover related costs and legal representation in court.

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Example 2: The cleaning crew uses the wrong cleaner on the floors, causing a patron to fall. The patron is requesting reimbursement for medical bills, totaling $24,000.  General liability insurance would cover the cost of their medical expenses.

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Example 3: You tweet that a theatre you’ve partnered with is difficult to work with. They have named your company in a lawsuit, citing defamation. Your general liability policy would cover your legal fees and any damages awarded in the suit.

Other Types of Coverage Theatre Companies Need

While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some of the most common types of coverage:

Commercial Property Insurance

Owning and managing a theatre requires investment in a great deal of expensive equipment. To protect these investments, a commercial property policy is recommended. This policy provides coverage for your owned real estate and its contents, should a covered loss occur. Business owners should discuss their business model and financial responsibilities with an insurance agent to properly protect their business investments.  

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation provides coverage for medical bills and lost wages if an employee is injured or falls ill while on the job. If a lawsuit occurs as a result of this injury, the policy would also cover related legal fees. While the requirements vary from state to state, all business owners are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they hire employees. 

Commercial Auto Insurance

Whether your theatre group travels regularly or works out of one owned theatre, your team likely spends a great deal of time driving for business purposes. If you or one of your employees is involved in an accident, any loss would be excluded under a personal auto policy. To ensure no gap in coverage, a commercial auto policy is recommended. While each state mandates the minimum coverage limits required, those limits typically leave business owners underinsured. Your insurance agent can assist you in determining what coverage limits best meet your professional and personal needs, should a major incident occur.

Inland Marine Insurance 

Business-owned tools and equipment taken off-site have limited coverage under a commercial property insurance policy, leaving many owners grossly underinsured.  If your theatre travels, an inland marine policy may be necessary to fill those coverage gaps and protect your property when you’re on the road.  

Business Interruption insurance

Your business faces a significant loss in revenue if it is shut down after a loss. Business interruption insurance, also known as business income and extra expense insurance, helps protect the business financially if you need to stop operating for a period of time. It would provide coverage for extra expenses, supplement lost income, and help get your theatre set up in a temporary location while the property is being repaired.   

Commercial Umbrella Liability Insurance

In this industry, you rely on the patronage of thousands of customers each year. Because this puts you at greater risk for liability claims, your insurance agent may recommend a commercial umbrella policy. Once the underlying limits of your general liability policy have been exhausted, this policy would provide additional coverage, helping secure the theatre’s financial future.

Additional Steps To Protect Your Business

Although it’s easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it shouldn’t be your only defense.

Here are several things you can do to better protect your theatre company:

  • Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
  • Set up an LLC or corporation to protect your personal assets. (Visit our step-by-step guides to learn how to form an LLC or corporation in your state.)
  • Stay up to date with business licensing.
  • Maintain your corporate veil.

Theatre Company Insurance FAQ

Yes, absolutely. You will need to first get a quote from an online business insurance provider like Next Insurance. Next allows you to then purchase a policy immediately and your coverage will be active within 48 hours.

A typical business owner’s policy includes general liability, business interruption, and commercial property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company’s needs.

"Business insurance" is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.

Yes you do.

This is because you will want to avoid a situation in which liability arises and you are not adequately covered, and the safest way to go about this is to ensure that you have the right business insurance policies before you begin interacting with your theatre patrons. 

You will also want to protect your business’s theatrical equipment from damage or theft.

Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your theatre company insurance policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable.

Yes, an LLC is meant to create a legal barrier between your business and your personal assets and credit. If you haven’t formed an LLC yet, use our Form an LLC guide to get started.

An LLC doesn’t protect your business assets from lawsuits and liability– that’s where business insurance comes in. Business insurance helps protect your business from liability and risk.