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Graduation Party and Wedding Season is Upon Us: Are You Liable for Your Rented Portable Toilets?

No matter where you go, people need to go. You may need to rent portable toilets and sanitation stations for things like:

  • Weddings and parties
  • Commercial events
  • Residential events
  • Workplace events
  • Fundraisers
  • Disaster relief and cleanup
  • Emergencies

Rental companies typically offer the following:

  • Portable toilets (individual stalls)
  • Handwashing and sanitation stations (separate from toilets)
  • Restroom trailers (sink and toilet combinations on trailer mounts offering expanded privacy and temperature control)
  • Luxury restroom trailers (designed to replicate an indoor toilet atmosphere with expanded amenities and finishings, sound systems and temperature control)
  • Shower trailers (full-service showering facilities on trailer mounts)
  • Dumpster and refuse rentals (general trash collection)
  • Temporary fences and barricades (crowd control and guest area separation)

Who’s liable for injuries involving portable toilets?

You are liable for injuries on your property, even if they involve rented sanitation equipment. In fact, portable toilets could be considered an “attractive nuisance.” Attractive nuisances are objects or conditions on a property that attract children and present a significant risk to their well-being or safety. As a property owner, you’re responsible for securing all potentially dangerous property features, especially ones that could pique kids’ curiosity.

Fortunately, your insurance covers injuries to other people on your property. This coverage is usually contained within one of these:

  • Home insurance
  • Renters insurance
  • Commercial general liability insurance
  • Premises liability insurance
  • A business owners policy

Contact your Rathbun Account Manager to verify your coverage before you sign a portable toilet and sanitation rental agreement. While you are covered for injuries to others, you aren’t covered for everything. For some risks, you need a stand-alone policy. 

What are the risks and insurance solutions?

Consider event insurance if you’re renting a toilet for a special event like a family gathering, wedding, fundraiser or corporate outing. 

Event insurance offers various coverages not provided under your general property insurance. These can be combined into one customizable policy to protect you or your company. The policy is separate from your home or business insurance; it won’t appear on your claims history. 

You can customize the policy to include:

Coverage optionWhat it covers
Start and end datesAn event policy has set start and end dates. You only pay for the dates you need it. The start date might have some weather-related exclusions.
LocationsYou name the location of the event or events. 
General liability limitsYou’ll be covered if someone gets hurt using a portable toilet during your event. You can set high upper limits for the event and customize medical payments. 
Liquor liability (or dram) A slip and fall getting into or out of a portable restroom might be a problem when liquor is involved. General liability covers the injury, but liquor liability can help if someone files a lawsuit alleging you overserved guests. 
Cancellation Cancellation coverage can help recover your deposit if you sign a rental agreement and later cancel. 
Equipment rentalEquipment rental insurance helps if someone steals or trashes your toilet, or it’s lifted off in a windstorm.

A caution on equipment damage waivers

Some sanitation rental companies offer equipment damage waivers, but the limits may be low. And equipment damage waivers don’t cover general liability for injury or medical claims.

Who is liable for portable toilet maintenance and safety?

Like any rented property, you’re responsible for maintaining the equipment during the rental period.

The toilet and sanitation station company should provide you with a rental contract. If they don’t put their deal in writing, find another company. Your rental agreement will specify:

  • Procedures for pumping toilets and emptying sanitation stations
  • Cleaning and restocking schedules (if different from pumping and emptying times)
  • Pickup and drop-off times
  • Customer responsibilities and expectations
  • Rental company responsibilities and expectations
  • Insurance coverage and waivers

In case of severe weather

If you encounter severe weather, you may have to secure the equipment on your own. Despite their best efforts, rental companies may not service every customer before a storm hits. One sanitation company recommends securing toilet stalls and stations using these techniques:

  • Tie a rope or bungee cords around the stall to keep the door closed.
  • Lay the portable horizontally, door-side down, to prevent the door from opening in the wind and taking flight.
  • Move the portable toilet to an enclosed outdoor space (like a garage or shed).
  • Secure the portable toilet to an anchored object (like a dumpster, tree or pole) so it doesn’t blow away.

Your Rathbun account manager can help

Whether you’re renting one portable stall or dozens of luxury trailer restrooms, check your risk and reach out to your Rathbun Account Manager to upgrade your liability limits to ensure your party isn’t a pooper.