The big wedding weekend approaches and the weather report calls for an epic snowstorm. Neighbors are stocking up on food in anticipation of the roads closing and the power going out. The governor declares a state of emergency and the airlines anticipate massive flight cancellations. Will the relatives make it in? Will the catering hall lose power? Will the photographer cancel?
Or what happens if your wedding venue goes bankrupt and keeps the reception deposit? Or the wedding photographer loses the camera/memory card? Or if the wedding gifts are stolen or there is damage to the wedding dress or rental attire?
With so many moving parts in a wedding, things can go wrong. Some problems can be handled but there are no certainties when it comes to vendor deposits, unexpected illness, extreme weather and the like. How can you protect your financial investment in the “big day” if something goes wrong? Consider purchasing wedding insurance to help reduce your concern about some of things you cannot control and the related costs.
What is wedding insurance?
Wedding insurance is designed to protect the financial investment in the event arising from circumstances which are beyond the wedding party’s control. Wedding coverage is available for two kinds of loss:
Liability: Just as a homeowners’ policy covers liability for an accident in the home, wedding liability covers property and personal damage that happens during a wedding ceremony and reception, and sometimes during a rehearsal dinner. Many reception halls and other wedding venues are now requiring couples to purchase liability coverage before being allowed to use the facility.
Cancellation and postponement: These policies often cover certain unforeseen wedding date changes, postponements or cancellations.
This insurance protects against certain costs associated with a cancellation or postponement. Covered costs can include the wedding site and other rental fees, vendor deposits, accommodations and other nonrefundable costs.
What does wedding insurance cover?
Of course, different wedding insurance policies cover different things, but these are some of the conditions a wedding insurance or liability policy might cover depending on the coverage selected:
- Extreme weather: A major hurricane or snowstorm halts travel by key individuals to your wedding.
- Injury/sickness: If a close family member (including the bride or groom) is unable to attend because of an unanticipated serious illness or injury.
- Gifts: Someone steals the non-cash gifts or knocks over the gift table, resulting in broken china everywhere.
- Wedding attire: The expensive designer wedding dress and the suitcase of shoes and accessories were sent to another country and can’t be retrieved in time for the nuptials.
- Military duty: The bride or groom is called for active duty earlier than anticipated. The wedding needs to be moved forward or postponed.
- Photos: The photographer snapped photos at the wedding and party but somehow lost or damaged the memory card.
What questions to ask
Not all wedding insurance policies are the same, just as not all weddings are the same. When choosing a wedding insurance policy, here are some factors to consider:
- Does the policy cover destination weddings?
- What specifically does the insurance cover? If there are particular reasons the wedding couple is concerned about, including protecting the venue deposit or covering costs if the groom bails before the big day (called a “cold feet” or “change of heart” clause), make sure the policy covers those particulars.
- When should insurance be purchased? Some policies can be purchased up until the wedding date, but many require purchase at least 15 days in advance. Find out if there are advantages to purchasing the insurance a year or two out.
- What are the limits for each category of coverage? Policies may have different levels of coverage, with limits to how much is covered in each category including deposits, special attire, gifts and photography. The more expensive the wedding, the higher the limits should be.
- What is the deductible? Just like car insurance and homeowners’ insurance, the policy may have a deductible when filing a claim. Find out what it is so there are no surprises.
- Does homeowner’s insurance cover the liability? Sometimes homeowners’ policies provide general special event coverage, including a wedding but the policy may have exclusions, such as the wedding has to be at the family home. It may be more effective to purchase a freestanding wedding liability policy that won’t affect future homeowners’ policy premiums in the event of a wedding claim.
Not all wedding vendors carry their own insurance. The bridal couple should ask vendors to have their carrier send proof of insurance and find out their liability limits. When contracting with vendors, ask to have their insurance company send you a copy of their professional liability policy, and consider only hiring a vendor that carries insurance.
A wedding is a joyous time. But planning it can be stressful. With all the moving parts it’s impossible to control everything. Weather changes. People get sick. Businesses go under. There’s peace of mind in knowing that your wedding is covered even if things don’t go exactly as planned.
Visit our wedding insurance page to learn how Nationwide can help protect your big day.