Frequently Asked Questions - Student Events

Why do we need insurance?

Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) are independent entities and therefore are not covered by the University of California's self-insurance programs. This can be a problem for both students and the University because:

  • The students may have to rely on personal or family financial resources to defend a claim or lawsuit arising out of their activities.
  • The University has no financial recourse when its property is damaged by student activities or when it receives a claim or lawsuit arising from student activities.

To remedy this problem, the University has purchased a commercial insurance policy through Mercer, the University's insurance broker,  to cover almost all on-campus events hosted by Registered Student Organizations.

How do we get insurance for an on-campus event?

There are three steps. The first two are ALWAYS necessary. The third is only sometimes necessary.

  1. Make sure your student organization is registered with the LEAD Center. Coverage funded by the University is available only for REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS.
  2. Obtain a signed Facilities Use Permit (FUP) or other form of facility reservation confirmation from the department in charge of the facility your organization wants to use.
  3. Go to the CampusConnexions website or call the Mercer Student Coverage Line toll-free at 866.838.9536 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The third step is necessary only for events with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • They are deemed hazardous by the insurer (see the list under the heading "4. Restricted Sports and Events" here)
  • The campus department in charge of the facility requires a certificate of insurance. 
  • They involve more than 5,000 people.
  • They are open to the general public.
  • They include distribution or sale of food, beverages, or souvenirs worth more than $10,000. 
  • They include your driving and parking other people's vehicles as part of a valet-like service. 
  • They require any other use of vehicles that would require insurance.
  • They include amusements, such as carnival rides.
  • They include inflatables, i.e. bounce houses.
  • They involve sports activities, i.e. basketball or baseball games or tournaments, for which signed waivers from participants have not been obtained.
  • They qualify as a Major Event under the campus's Major Event policy.

NOTE: Fraternities and sororities with nationals are now eligible for RSO Event Liability coverage if their event meets the following criteria:

  • A written declination of coverage from the national is provided with the application.
  • The event is philanthropic or community service-based in nature.
  • There is no alcohol exposure.

If you have questions or need guidance through the insurance process, see your LEAD Center advisor. You may also contact Risk Services at risk@berkeley.edu.

How do we get insurance for an off-campus event?

Go to the CampusConnexions website or call the Mercer Student Coverage Line toll-free at 866.838.9536 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. (Mercer is the University's insurance broker.) Please note that insurance for off-campus events is not paid for by the University.

Is there a charge for the insurance?

Insurance for Registered Student Organization on-campus events coverage is free 99+% of the time. The exceptions are high-risk events that are not covered by the insurance policy (for example, bungee jumping off the Campanile).

For off-campus events, payment is always the responsibility of the Registered Student Organization. Most events fall in the $100-$150 range, but cost varies depending on the nature of the activity, the duration of the activity, and the number of participants. Payment is by credit card only.

Is insurance for off-campus events necessary?

Although the University cannot require that Registered Student Organizations obtain insurance for off-campus events, having insurance is recommended, especially for events involving physical activity, transportation, or minors. In some cases the RSO may have no choice but to obtain insurance, because the outside facility hosting the event demands proof of coverage before allowing the event to occur.

What is a Certificate of Insurance and why do we need one?

A Certificate of Insurance is written proof that (a) you have insurance for an event and (b) that the Certificate Holder (i.e. The Regents of the University of California for on-campus events or the facility owner for off-campus events) can utilize your coverage in the event of a loss.

  • If your event is on-campus, you do not need a Certificate of Insurance and will not receive one unless the event is deemed hazardous by the insurer (see the list under the heading "4. Restricted Sports and Events" here) or the campus department in charge of the facility requires one.
  • If your event is off-campus, you will need to provide a Certificate of Insurance if the facility owner demands one. You may obtain a Certificate of Insurance by going to the CampusConnexions website or by calling the Mercer Student Coverage Line toll-free at 866.838.9536 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
What does the insurance cover?

The policy provides:

  • General Liability coverage up to $1,000,000
  • Coverage for damage to rented premises up to $300,000
  • Personal and Advertising Injury coverage (slander, libel, infringement of copyright, etc.) up to $1,000,000
  • General Aggregate (total amount paid for all claims) up to $2,000,000

The policy does NOT provide:

  • Automobile Liability
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Liquor Liability
  • Travel Insurance
What do we do with a Certificate of Insurance after we get it?

Deliver a copy to the owner of the facility and keep a copy for yourself. Hold on to it for at least three years beyond the date of your event. (After the event is over, it's okay to keep the Certificate of Insurance in scanned form.)

How far in advance should we apply for insurance?

Ideally, 7-10 days before the event. You want to apply close enough so your plans are firm (i.e. you know what you're going to do and you're not cancelling) but far enough in advance so there's time to secure coverage in case there are problems.

Who do we contact if we have problems with the website or call center?

Your LEAD Center advisor or Risk Services at risk@berkeley.edu, 510-642-5141.

What if we apply for insurance at the website and get a message to contact Risk Services?

It means there's a complication with your request for coverage. Contact your LEAD Center advisor or Risk Services at risk@berkeley.edu.

What if our on-campus event isn't covered by the University's policy?

Mercer will try to obtain coverage from another source. This takes 24-48 hours, perhaps longer if the request is complicated or unusual, and the Registered Student Organization has to pay for coverage. If you don't like the quote you get from Mercer, you can shop elsewhere. 

Can we get insurance if we're not a Registered Student Organization?

No. This coverage is strictly for Registered Student Organizations in good standing with the LEAD Center. If you obtain a Certificate of Insurance on behalf of a group that is not an RSO in good standing, the coverage is invalid and you may be subject to disciplinary action.

Can individual students get insurance through the RSO event policy?

No. This coverage is strictly for Registered Student Organizations in good standing with the LEAD Center. If you obtain a Certificate of Insurance on behalf of an individual, the coverage is invalid and you may be subject to disciplinary action.

Individual students who wish to use campus facilities for their own purposes may obtain insurance by purchasing Tenant User Liability Insurance Program (TULIP) coverage through the CampusConnexions website.

If we can't get insurance for our on-campus event, can we hold the event anyway?

You may not hold an on-campus event without insurance.

Our event includes more than one type of activity. How do we characterize it for insurance purposes?

If one particular activity comprises more than half the event, that's how you should describe the whole event. For example, if you're having an all-day conference with a one-hour cultural show at the end, classify the event as a conference.

If no single activity comprises more than half the event, or if you're still not sure how to classify the event, call the Mercer Student Coverage Line toll-free at 866.838.9536 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for advice.

What if we're having a series of related events during the month/semester/year?

If you're showing movies every Friday night in a classroom, holding dance practice in Lower Sproul for two weeks, or something similar, you can get one Certificate of Insurance to cover all the dates. Unfortunately, this cannot be done through the website, so you will need to fill out the paper application at the CampusConnexions website and submit it via email or fax. You may also call the Mercer Student Coverage Line toll-free at 866.838.9536 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. (Mercer is the University's insurance broker.)

What if we're co-sponsoring an event with another Registered Student Organization?

Each Registered Student Organization needs to have coverage, so each will have to obtain its own Certificate of Insurance if the event is considered high-risk or if campus facility owner asks for one.

The same applies for off-campus events. Each Registered Student Organization needs to obtain its own coverage.

Certificates of Insurance for Registered Student Organizations do not include coverage for caterers or other service providers at RSO events. The service providers need their own coverage. If they do not already have their own coverage and are working for an RSO at an on-campus event, the service providers may obtain coverage by going to the CampusConnexions website.

What if we're co-sponsoring an event with a campus department?

You will still need insurance to cover your group's potential liability. Campus departments are automatically covered by the University's own insurance, so no additional steps are necessary there. Keep in mind that for a campus department to be considered a co-sponsor, it has to take an active role in scheduling and organizing the event and have at least one employee on-site supervising the event as part of his or her job. Providing funds for or advice about an event does not constitute sponsorship.

What if we're co-sponsoring an event with an outside organization?

For on-campus events, the outside organization will need to provide the University with its own insurance coverage prior to the event. It cannot piggy-back on your coverage. If the outside organization does not have insurance, it can obtain event coverage through the CampusConnexions website or by calling Mercer, the University's insurance broker, toll-free at 866.838.9536 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

The University requires a Certificate of Insurance from the outside organization that includes the following:

  • The outside organization must be listed as the Insured.
  • The REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA and your student group must be listed as Additional Insureds.
  • The Insurer/Producer name and contact information must be on the Certificate.
  • The policy start and end date must encompass the date of your event.
  • The policy must include General Liability coverage of at least $1,000,000 for each occurrence and $2 million general aggregate.
  • The policy must include coverage of at least $300,000 for damage to rented premises.
  • If the outside organization is bringing a vehicle onto campus, the policy must include Automobile Liability coverage of at least $1,000,000.
  • If the outside organization is bringing its employees onto campus, the policy must include evidence of California Workers' Compensation coverage.
What if we bring food to our event?

The insurance policy allows you to bring your own food, food from a restaurant or store, or pre-packaged food to an on-campus event. However, if you are having your event catered, the caterer will need to provide insurance (see "How are caterers, entertainers, or other service providers covered?" immediately below). You can also sell food for fundraising purposes, but you will need additional coverage to sell more than $10,000 worth of food.

Before you prepare or sell food on campus, you will need approval from Environment, Health & Safety. Go to the EHS web site for more information.

How are caterers, entertainers, or other service providers covered?

For on-campus events, service providers need to furnish the University with a Certificate of Insurance prior to the event. They cannot piggy-back on your coverage. If the service provider does not have insurance, it obtain event coverage through the CampusConnexions website or by calling Mercer, the University's insurance broker, toll-free at 866.838.9536 between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

The University requires a Certificate of Insurance from service providers that includes the following:

  • The service provider must be listed as the Insured.
  • The REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA and your student group must be listed as Additional Insureds.
  • The Insurer/Producer name and contact information must be on the Certificate.
  • The policy start and end date must encompass the date of your event.
  • The policy must include General Liability coverage of at least $1,000,000 for each occurrence and $2 million general aggregate.
  • The policy must include coverage of at least $300,000 for damage to rented premises.
  • If the service provider is a caterer, the policy must include Products/Completed Operations Liability coverage of at least $2 million.
  • If the service provider is bringing a vehicle onto campus, the policy must include Automobile Liability coverage of at least $1,000,000.
  • If the service provider is bringing its employees onto campus, the policy must include evidence of California Workers' Compensation coverage.
  • .
Can we serve alcohol at our event?

For on-campus events, alcohol consumption is governed by the Campus Alcoholic Beverage policy. The policy requires that a University department sponsor an event at which alcohol is served and includes several other limitations.

What if minors are participating in our event?

For your safety, have the parents/guardians of minors (i.e. anyone who hasn't yet turned 18) consent to the minor's participation by signing a waiver. You can adapt the University's own waiver:

ALWAYS include "The Regents of the University of California" and your Registered Student Organization as the parties held harmless. Hold on to the waivers for three years past the date of the event. After the event is over, it's okay to keep the waivers in scanned form.

In addition, Registered Student Organization members should NEVER put themselves in a position where they are alone with a minor. If they wish to have a private conversation, they should go where others can see them, such as a café or an office with windowed walls. This is to protect RSO members from allegations of molestation or harassment.

Are there any precautions we need to take for events that involve physical activity?

If there's a physical element to your activity, i.e. if it's a race, basketball tournament, softball or touch football game, etc., participants must sign a waiver. You can adapt the University's own waiver:

ALWAYS include "The Regents of the University of California" and your Registered Student Organization as the parties held harmless. Hold on to the waivers for three years past the date of the event. After the event is over, it's okay to keep the waivers in scanned form.