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Given the average wedding costs over $33,000, insurance is a necessary expense you should factor into your wedding budget. No matter how meticulously we plan, the risk of the unknown always looms and wedding plans can change in an instant. The groom may come down with the flu, a mudslide prevents your guests from getting to the venue, or your DJ doesn’t show up to the reception. All of these things, and more, can be protected against.
In a perfect world, the big wedding day is the culmination of months—maybe even years—of intricate details and moving parts coming together harmoniously without a single glitch. If you ask around, however, you’ll quickly realize that seamless wedding day experiences are the exception not the rule. Even a smallest hiccups can can cost you big money if you don’t protect yourself. That’s where wedding insurance comes to the rescue.
Just like any other insurance policy, wedding insurance protects you financially in the event of qualifying changes or disruptions to your wedding planning and day. You can purchase a policy—liability only, for cancellations and postponements, or both—and customize it depending on your wedding plans. For example, couples planning a backyard wedding at the bride’s grandparent’s house may require different coverage than a couple having a destination wedding. A small city hall wedding differs greatly from a golf club resort wedding.
Wedding insurance plans aren’t always cookie cutter policies. There are add-ons, or riders, that can be included for extra. There are often special riders for military couples, extra coverage for honeymoons, and even for stolen gifts. Certain policies can be customized to provide coverage during the wedding planning, as well. For example, if a vendor cancels on you after you’ve paid a non-refundable deposit or the wedding gown is damaged beyond repair.
Before committing to a wedding insurance policy, however, check in with your venue to make sure they don’t already include liability insurance policies of their own. Venues that offer wedding packages often include their own liability insurance, at the very least, so you may just need to supplement for cancellation, postponements, or additional riders specific to your needs. You’ll find that most venues require some sort of liability coverage if they don’t already offer it, so make sure the policy you’re purchasing meets their specific requirements.
We’ve all heard the wedding day horror stories. Vendor no-shows, that certain family member that has too much to drink, torrential showers flooding the venue, and everything in between. The following are some real and fictional scenarios where wedding insurance could really help a lending hand.
Imagine any of these scenarios:
1. A couple in Texas found themselves in quite the pickle when they experienced a sudden torrential storm that devastated the city, including their wedding venue, which flooded entirely, and everyone had to be evacuated. Although they managed to still tie the knot the same day, wedding insurance could have covered the unexpected, extreme weather that ultimately postponed their reception.
2. An unexpected injury to the bride, groom, or their immediate family: A winter wonderland-themed wedding gets interrupted when the mother of the groom slips on some ice, fractures her tailbone, and has to be rushed to the hospital. Or a pre-wedding canoe trip that involves a voracious crocodile (no really, it’s a true story).
3. Although you booked a highly recommended DJ months in advance, they somehow managed to mix up their schedule and ended up at another event instead of yours. You’re forced to hire the next available DJ on very short notice, and they charge you an arm and a leg. Certain wedding insurance policies cover vendor cancellations.
4. A guest has a little too much to drink and breaks some expensive patio furniture from your backyard wedding. Sometimes the homeowner’s insurance will cover damages from events in the home, but liability wedding insurance purchased by the couple would cover it as well.
5. A bride books her reception at the same chapel where her parents were married in London, only to discover it’s been suddenly demolished only days before the wedding. Wedding insurance would help her recoup her non-refundable deposit and help with the cost of finding a new venue on short notice. If she and her fiancé agreed to postpone the wedding instead, wedding insurance would cover that, too. (Yes, we’re talking about Ross and Emily from Friends. We love a good Friends reference.)
Like all insurance policies, there are things that are covered by your plan and things that are not. Scenarios like the ones listed above are situations where wedding insurance can save the day. In general, the least expensive wedding insurance should cover liability damage at the minimum.
Cancellation and postponement policies cover just that–cancellations and postponements of events due to extreme weather, sudden illness or injury, venue bankruptcy, or vendor cancellations or no-shows. It will help you recoup your deposits, even if they’re non-refundable, and even if the wedding continues.
If you choose to purchase both liability and comprehensive wedding insurance, you will still have to choose the amount of liability coverage. Most liability wedding insurance policies cover anywhere from $500,000 to several millions of dollars, depending on your location and venue. Cancellation policies, should you choose to purchase it, will reimburse you for deposits lost and will offer some money to help you book a new vendor or venue.
Unfortunately, there are several scenarios that wedding insurance does not cover. A light weather change, like simple rain, isn’t considered severe enough to be covered. Wedding rings are often covered by a good cancellation policy, but engagement rings may not be. The worst unexpected occurrence that isn’t covered by wedding insurance, of course, is cold feet. When shopping around, make sure you’re very clear on what your wedding insurance policy does not cover.
The good news is that wedding insurance is widely available, and liability coverage may be even be hidden in your existing homeowners or renters insurance. If you also want cancellation/postponement coverage, check with your existing insurance provider to see if you can buy it directly from them. Your existing insurance provider may cover all the bases for your wedding needs, but if they don’t there are plenty of other companies that offer excellent coverage.
Here are some of our favorites:
Nationwide offers two wedding insurance policies, liability and cancellation. You can purchase them individually or together up to 15 days before your wedding date. You can choose the liability coverage limit and some states have a discount on liability wedding insurance is purchased with cancellation insurance.
Progressive offers liability and cancellation policies, as well as additional riders for purchase to cover wedding rings, gifts, and more. Their cheapest liability-only policy can be purchased for as low as $66, and you can customize your policies to cover pre-wedding events (rehearsal dinner, bridal showers, etc.).
WedSafe is one of the biggest names in wedding insurance, because it’s all they do. They offer both liability and cancellation policies, and have a 15% discount for when you purchase them together. Because they specialize in wedding insurance, WedSure is likely the most customizable of them all. If you’re planning an unconventional wedding, WedSure may be your best option.
Another popular choice for engaged couples, Travelers offers liability and cancellation insurance policies. They also offer additional riders for photography, jewelry, liquor liability, and more.
Just like the above, you can purchase liability and cancellation wedding insurance policies together or separately. You can purchase liability only for as little as $75, or both types of insurance together at a 15% discount.
If you have a large wedding planned, we recommend at least looking into wedding insurance policies as soon as possible. Many insurance companies don’t let you purchase insurance at the last minute and require a policy purchase at least 14 days from the wedding day. Because you never know if a vendor will cancel and take your non-refundable deposit with them.
The most inexpensive policies, typically liability only, can be bought for as little as $50. If you’re buying both liability and cancellation policies together, you can expect to pay as little as $150 and as much as several thousand dollars, depending on the venue. If you’re having a destination wedding, you can expect to pay significantly more for quality coverage.
Weddings in the United States are a billion dollar industry (specifically, $72 billion dollars in 2016). The cost of wedding insurance compared to the average cost of a wedding, should make it an attractive purchase. We recommend adding wedding insurance to your wedding budget to ensure that the most important wedding expenses are safe. Even if an unexpected tornado storms through town and throws your plans for a loop, your big day will be covered. Weddings are an investment, and your investments should always be protected.