Guest Comment – Glamping Insurance

As glamping matures as an industry, so too are insurers’ attitude to risk says Towergate Insurance’s Jessica Allnutt

Pic: Getty Images

Glamping is a relatively young industry, and in some respects still finding its feet. For some business owners it presents a unique and exciting potential to diversify their business, and for others, a venture in to something new. It’s not just businesses, ‘camping meets luxury hotel’ has also inspired many consumers,

However, historically, this unique proposition has presented challenges when it comes to insurance, and understanding the risk in order to provide the right cover that protects both the business and the insurer. As the glamping industry matures, underwriters are starting to learn more and gain better insight into the risks, separating them from standard holiday sites’ insurance. Although there is a way to go in terms of a full understanding, the foundations are now in place.

Insurers have typically viewed glamping cover as an extension of Site Operator and Holiday Park Insurance, which provides a natural fit for many aspects. However, with the unique proposition that glamping presents, when you start to build water and gas plumbing, sanitation and wood burners into the mix, it is important insurers can provide sufficient specialist cover as part of the policy. That’s why it’s really important that you find an insurer that understands these aspects to ensure you are properly covered and protected.

Understanding your risks
Of course, common sense should rule and installing a wood burner surrounded by flammable material without sufficient measures to prevent damage or risk to human life is obviously a bad idea.

But there are other risks that are just part and parcel of the nature of glamping. For these, insurers will want you to demonstrate you have identified and are minimising the risks. It is your responsibility to your guests, as well as your property, to limit any hazards. Items such as fire pits and gas lanterns are not popular with underwriters for this reason as they can be hazardous to the users, the units, as well as the environment the units are sited in, and present a higher risk of accidents occurring. Where you have any heating or live flames, it is also essential to make sure you have carbon monoxide alarms installed.

Misuse and accidents are not the only ‘high risk’ you should consider, but also the potential for storm damage. Insurers will tend not to provide storm cover for canvas constructed units as they’re more susceptible to severe weather conditions. It is recommended to use winter awnings for protection, or ideally that units are taken down and stored during the winter months. If you intend to  provide accommodation during the winter months it will be worth investing in solid structures such as pods or lodges.

Risk management
As outlined above, the key to making something insurable is managing your risk, thinking not only about protecting your property but also limiting the risk of liability. As yet, clear guidance on this for glamping isn’t provided in the form of regulation and legislation. An article recently featured in Open Air Business by Rob Farrow on the Glamping Association recognised the need for some kind of industry regulation and code of conduct. From an insurance stand point, this will certainly help towards creating a framework that insurers can work with. There are currently only a handful of insurers able to provide cover for glamping sites. They can provide some guidance to sites on what is insurable, such as Spread of Risk, but each insurer is different and views risk differently.

With this in mind, at Towergate Insurance there are some general guidelines that our underwriters can work with. Simple things can improve how your site is considered as a ‘risk’. Here are some brief points to bear in mind:

  • Spread of risk – have a minimum distance between each glamping unit to minimise any damage to one unit, causing damage to another unit
  • Wood burners should be situated on a non metallic (stone or similar) hard standing, ideally in the middle of a structure
  • Soft furnishings should be kept a minimum distance of two meters away from fires, and wood should be stored separately away from stoves (not under or next to them)
  • Your units should be non-smoking with safe cigarette disposal provided away from the structure, and clearly indicated, such as a sand bucket
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed.

Finally, when it comes to insurance it is really important that you find an insurer who can specialise in this type of cover. A company providing ‘business insurance cover’ is unlikely to be able to offer the specialist cover required and,outside of public liability, without knowledge they may fall flat when it comes to protecting the site as a whole.

About the author
Jessica Allnutt is part of the specialist team at Towergate Insurance, offering glampsite owners the protection and peace of mind to keep their businesses running smoothly.
Towergate has taken the time to understand the glamping market, tailoring cover to individual requirements and specific risk. Call for a chat about your glampsite – 0344 892 1413 /

About Open Air Business 1272 Articles
The voice of outdoor hospitality - in print and online. If you liked this article, subscribe to the printed magazine here. We produce industry e-news between issues - please sign up here