Trade Show Insurance Cost

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Trade shows bring together industry enthusiasts, newcomers, and veterans all in one space. Pulling off a successful trade show involves scheduling pre-show booth meetings, strategizing your social media presence, organizing your sales team, connecting executives, and much, much more. 1

With all the planning needed to pull off a trade show, trade show organizers must be prepared for the many things that could go wrong. That’s why you need Trade Show Insurance. Not sure if it’s worth the investment? Let’s do the math.

What does Trade Show Insurance cost?

Trade Show Insurance protects policyholders from the risks associated with putting on trade shows, fairs, and industry expos.

With Thimble, Trade Show Insurance provides coverage for events of up to 250 people. Once you know how many people will attend your event, here’s a range of how much Trade Show Insurance could cost:

Trade Show Insurance Cost chart

What factors influence Trade Show Insurance costs?

Besides how many people you have in attendance, multiple factors can affect how much Trade Show Insurance can cost you. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Policy length: Do you need Trade Show Insurance for an hour, a few days, or for events you’re booking year long? The amount of time that you spend participating in trade shows will determine just how much coverage you need. Thankfully, Thimble allows you to customize your policy length down to the hour, so you only have to pay for the coverage you actually need.
  • Location:Like any other policy, your insurance costs could vary from one state to another.
  • Number of attendees: As the above chart shows, the more attendees you have, the higher your insurance costs can be because the risk is greater.
  • Alcohol service: If you plan on selling booze during your event, you will likely need to opt for additional liquor liability coverage to your policy.

What does Trade Show Insurance cover?

With so many people attending your event, there are multiple risks you and other participants could face. Trade Show Insurance could protect you, the organizer, from the consequences of claims such as:

  • Third-party bodily injuries: If someone is accidentally injured during the trade show, you could face a claim for medical expenses and consequential expenses arising from the injury. Risks can include a vendor’s booth collapsing on someone, or a tired participant going for another hot coffee and spilling it.
  • Third-party property damage: If you accidentally damaged someone else’s property at the event, you could be liable for the damage.
  • Damage from liquor liability: The evening open bar can cause a not-so-happy hour if the use of alcohol leads to an accident. If you are providing alcohol, you could be held liable for resulting injuries and damages. Coverage for open-bar events (where you’re not selling drinks) is included, but additional coverage for the sale of alcohol will add to your premium.
  • Personal and advertising injury: Someone can easily accuse you of copyright infringement or slander against a competitor at a trade show.

If you are hit with a lawsuit for property damages or bodily injury stemming from a trade show, your policy would provide the investigation and legal defense for the suit against you, which can be costly even if the court decides you have not done anything wrong.

What doesn’t Trade Show Insurance cover?

According to Insurance Journal, there are some trade show activities that insurance companies may not cover. 2Depending on the special event you’re attending, your insurer may exclude:

  • Athletic activities: If your event involves athletic participants, your Trade Show Insurance policy may exclude bodily injury claims to those who participate in the event. However, some insurers provide an optional endorsement that you could purchase to add additional coverage for athletic participants.
  • Special devices: Your special event may involve the use of fireworks, inflatable devices, aircraft and watercraft-related activities which many insurers may completely exclude from coverage or require additional endorsements to be purchased. Even in these cases, the coverage may be subject to special conditions or limits.
  • Unscheduled events: Your insurer will only cover events that are scheduled on the special events insurance liability policy, not for ordinary operations.

Though you may already have workers’ compensation coverage or professional liability insurance, those coverages may exclude third-party bodily injury or property damage. It could also exclude damage caused by your employees or personal and advertising injuries that occur at trade shows. If that’s the case, having Trade Show Insurance could be an extra safeguard against liabilities.

When should you get Trade Show Insurance?

You never want to wait until a crisis happens to get insured, but having Trade Show Insurance prior to an event is especially crucial. In fact, many trade shows will require exhibitors and vendors to have a certificate of insurance when applying to display or sell goods and services at the event. In some cases, the trade show sponsors may require that they be listed as an Additional Insured on the exhibitors’ and vendors’ general liability policy.

Thimble customers can purchase Trade Show Insurance as early as six months in advance before the event. And if there’s a change of plans, Thimble customers can cancel their policy before the event starts without a penalty. Make sure you read your policy to understand how your insurer defines “start time” for your event.

Insurance via Thimble

If you have a trade show or industry expo coming up, here’s what you need to know to prepare:

  • Your insurance premium depends on a range of factors, particularly how many people attend your event.
  • It can help protect you from the financial consequences associated with claims that arise from third-party property damage or bodily injury that occurs during the event.
  • You need to have other insurance coverage to protect you from claims relating to injury to your employees and for damage to property you own.
  • Some select activities, such as fireworks or athletic activities, may be excluded from the event.

Trade Show Insurance FAQs

What if I am an exhibitor at a trade show?

Yes, you’ll still need Trade Show Insurance in addition to your own general liability coverage and professional liability coverage. The trade show organizers may require you to show your Certificate of Insurance before you can participate in the event.

What are Thimble’s special events coverage policy limits?

With Thimble, special events coverage liability limits begin at $1 million per occurrence with a $1 million aggregate. You can increase the liability limits to $2 million with a $2 million aggregate if you want.

What other types of insurance might I need for a trade show?

While your Trade Show Insurance can safeguard your business against third-party bodily injury and property damage claims, they won’t cover similar claims for injury to your employees or for damage to property you own. You may need to have workers’ compensation coverage for work-related employee injuries, and business equipment protection or commercial property coverage to cover damage to property that you or your company owns.

Can you cover trade show cancellations?

No. Thimble event insurance doesn’t cover event cancellation, but your special event insurance policy is fully refundable if it’s canceled before the event start date or time. Remember to read your policy carefully to see how your insurer defines the start of the event.


  1.  Forbes. Seven Steps For A Successful Trade Show.
  2. Insurance Journal. 10 Things to Know When Insuring Events

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