Wedding insurance protects against misfortune
Couples across the country will spend on average as much as $26,000 on their weddings this year, according to the The Wedding Report, a research company that tracks marriage trends.
Most couples also will spend countless hours fretting about everything that could destroy their wedding day fantasies and finances.
What if the bride or groom gets sick? What if the maid of honor’s flight is severely delayed? What if the guests get food poisoning?
Wedding insurance can protect against these problems and many others. In fact, some of the most common wedding day calamities might never cross couples’ minds.
The Travelers Indemnity Co., which offers wedding insurance under the Protect My Wedding brand, reports that almost one-quarter of all claims are caused by a vendor or venue that goes out of business or fails to show up for the big day.
Of those claims, 58% involve the photographer, according to the company's most recent data.
Another 19% arise from illness, injury and mishaps, while catastrophic weather causes 14%.
Wedding policies offer protection against nine types of problems:
- Cancellation/Postponement coverage pays the expenses associated with being forced to call off or reschedule your wedding at the last minute.
- Additional Expense coverage pays for last-minute changes that allow you to proceed with the wedding despite a problem like a no-show vendor.
- Event Photographs/Video coverage pays to stage your wedding to reshoot key moments if your original photos or video are lost or destroyed.
- Gifts coverage reimburses you for any lost, stolen or damaged wedding presents.
- Special Attire coverage will repair or replace your wedding gown, the groom’s tux, the bridal party’s attire and the mother of the bride’s dress if they are lost, stolen or damaged.
- Special Jewelry coverage replaces lost, stolen or damaged wedding bands.
- Lost Deposits coverage reimburses you if a vendor takes your money and disappears or goes out of business.
- Rented Property coverage repairs or replaces chairs, tables, lighting and other rentals if they are damaged during your event.
- Liability coverage protects you in case a guest gets injured or causes a bodily injury or property damage.
"Canceling a wedding is catastrophic enough," says Micki Novak, the owner of Dream Weddings in Dallas. "The possibility of losing a substantial amount of money on top of that is a misfortune that can and should be avoided."
Novak, who is also executive director of the American Association of Certified Wedding Planners, recalls how one ceremony she was working on was disrupted when the groom received military orders to report overseas.
Fortunately, the bride's mother had taken out a wedding policy.
"Because their wedding had to be canceled, the bride's family was able to recover over $30,000 in deposits," Novak says.
Anyone who has a financial stake in the wedding, including the bride, groom and their parents, can be insured under these policies.
The three major policies are:
Wedding Protector from Travelers.
WedSafe from Aon.
Wedsure from Fireman’s Fund.
The policies are similar overall, with some small differences in how they’re set up.
The Aon and Travelers policies include coverage for just about everything that could go wrong, while Fireman’s Fund lets you choose coverage for different disasters individually.
All three companies offer varying levels of financial coverage, and the premium increases as your coverage increases.
A major selling point is that the premiums are relatively cheap compared with the total cost of a wedding and even compared with wedding expenses individually.
Wedding insurance premiums for $25,000 event with 100 guests
|Lender||Policy Name||Basic Premium||With $1 million liability protection|
Liability coverage includes liquor liability, and only Wedding Protector has no deductibles (it’s also the most expensive).
Wedsafe makes you pay a deductible for the basic policy. It’s $25 per covered section, which means that if you experienced a loss of both gifts and jewelry, you’d pay a $50 deductible. There is a $1,000 deductible for property liability, but no deductible for general liability.
Wedsure has optional deductibles starting at $25 for each covered section of the basic policy. It doesn’t have a deductible for general liability, but deductibles range from $1,000 to $10,000 for property liability.
The quotes you see here assume a $25 deductible for the basic policy components and a $1,000 deductible for liability coverage. You can choose a higher deductible to lower your premium.
But while $250 might buy you $25,000 in total coverage for your wedding, each category of loss has its own limits of about 10% of the policy amount.
The Wedding Protector Plan, for example, limits photography and video coverage to $2,500 under its $25,000 policy.
That means you should buy enough insurance to cover all the money you could lose if you had to cancel or postpone the wedding at the last minute.
Make sure you aren’t purchasing unnecessary coverage by checking with your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance company to see if you already have coverage for liability or for loss, damage or theft of rings, gifts or attire.
See how savvy couples across the country threw the wedding of their dreams without breaking the bank. They enjoyed some incredibly creative weddings that were a true reflection of their desires and personalities. Check out our Budget Bride tips, and see how you save on everything from gowns and flowers to dinners and music.
Don’t assume that a higher policy limit will cover every possible loss. Here are a few important items that wedding policies exclude from coverage:
- Wedding insurance covers cancellation or postponement due to catastrophic or severe weather, but only if you take out the policy at least 14 days before the ceremony. If you already know that a hurricane is headed your way, it’s too late to insure against it. (If weather is a major concern for an outdoor wedding, consider weather insurance.)
- If a member of your immediate family can’t attend because of an unforeseen medical emergency, the postponement or rescheduling of your event is often covered. But if you have to reschedule your wedding because of the death of someone who was diagnosed as terminal at the time you took out the policy, you won’t be covered. The same is true if the bride or groom can’t attend because of a pre-existing medical condition.Basically, the policies don’t pay for problems you could have foreseen or prevented.
- Wedding policies also don’t cover nonprofessional services. If your aunt bakes your wedding cake and she is not a professional baker, the insurance wouldn’t cover any cake problems.
- It can’t help you if you run out of money to pay for the festivities unless the bride or groom is laid off after the policy is purchased.
- And while wedding insurance may cover many of your costs from a last-minute postponement, it won’t reimburse out-of-town guests for any plane tickets, hotel rooms or other expenses they may have incurred.
Each policy has slightly different exclusions, so make sure to read the fine print before you buy.
Bottom line: Wedding insurance can be a sensible purchase as long as you understand what you’re buying coverage for and what’s completely left up to fate.