Research summary: This study examines whether the stock and bond prices of firms engaging in ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) can benefit from insurance-like effects during occurrences of negative events. Our results suggest that in the face of negative events, engagement in CSR on a continuous, long-term basis provides insurance-like effects on both the stock and bond prices of firms. Nevertheless, the effects are found to quickly disappear following the occurrence of a second, or subsequent, negative event. Although our results clearly indicate that firms need to allocate some of their available resources to long-term strategic CSR activities, managers must also realize that in a crisis communication, they will probably be able to use their CSR claims on one occasion only. Managerial summary: The purpose of this paper is to examine whether firms engaging in CSR can benefit from ‘insurance-like’ effects during occurrences of negative events. We find that on the occurrence of a negative event, long-term CSR engagement does have insurance-like effects. We also find that these insurance-like effects may quickly disappear following the occurrence of a second negative event. Managers of firms with a long history of CSR activities need to realize that in a crisis communication, they can probably use their claims of adherence to CSR only once.