As the August-September wedding season approaches, would-be brides and grooms may be considering whether to insure their big day against various perils by buying wedding insurance.
Here’s what you need to know to decide if you need insurance for your upcoming nuptials.
Cancellation or Postponement Coverage Is The Key Benefit
The first and primary piece of wedding insurance is the protection against the cancellation or postponement of the entire event. This is the broadest form of coverage and will cover your financial losses for nearly every aspect of the wedding if you are forced to cancel the wedding. This includes things like deposits paid, transportation, catering services, property rentals, hotel accommodations (even travel arrangements for your honeymoon!), special clothing or jewelry and other services tied specifically to your wedding.
Wedding Insurance policies also identify key participants, such as the wedding party, the married couples immediate family or other active participants. In a case where a person's absence is involuntary, the cancellation or postponement would be covered. Involuntary absences include illness/injury, changes in military leave and even severe weather related issues that impact the ability of a key attendee to make the ceremony.
Not All Cancellation Reasons Are Covered
With event cancellation coverage, it’s about things outside of your control. As a result there are a number of exclusions built into your policy about what your insurance company will not consider a valid reason for cancellation or postponement.
For example, you’re not covered for a classic change of heart--that is, any decision by either the bride or groom to not go forward with the wedding. Nor will a lack of funds to pay the wedding bills be covered, unless that results from involuntary unemployment.
Most notably, perhaps, bad weather alone is not sufficient as a reason to cancel your wedding and seek coverage under your policy. The only way weather related issues could qualify for reimbursement is if is bad enough to prevent the key parties or over half of the confirmed guests from reaching the event.
Coverage Levels Drive Premiums The Most
The policies from both Nationwide and Travelers--the main companies that offer wedding insurance--give you a choice of 10 coverage levels, with the category specific limits tied to each option. The higher the coverage limits the greater the cost of your policy. Limits for the cancellation and postponement coverage ranges from $7,500 to a maximum of $175,000. Additional expense coverage limits range from $1,500 at the low end to a high of $35,000. All other limits are generally between $1,000 to $10,500. Your choice of coverage level is the biggest factor in the cost of coverage.
Two other factors may also apply depending on which provider you use is where your wedding takes place, and if you've elected to purchase special event liability coverage from the same company. Special event liability coverage protects you from damages should any of your guests get injured during your wedding, including potential risks due to the consumption of alcohol. Insurance companies love to give consumer discounts when they purchase more than one type of policy.
Damage Or Loss Of Items And Services Can Also Be Covered
Categories for such optional coverage include event photos and video, gifts to the wedding party, and special attire bought or rented for the event. Each of these categories will have its own coverage limit, similar to auto insurance, which is the most your carrier will reimburse for that specific benefit. Policyholders will also have a deductible for each area of coverage though the amount tends to be relatively small.
In general, the reimbursement will be calculated based on the cost of repairing or replacing the respective item. In cases where an gift, piece of clothing or jewelry is stolen, carriers require you to immediately report it to the police for a claim to be made.
Depending on your contract the insurance company may also make specific stipulations about types of damage that may be excluded. Damage caused by weather might only be covered if it took place during the event. For attire, your coverage may delineate the amount of reimbursement based on whether or not the damage occurred during or prior to the event. In the Nationwide contract, once the clothing has been worn they will only reimburse at a max 50% of the original purchase price, due to the "difference in value between new and used attire."
When it comes to capturing the event, you’re covered for payments to a photographer/videographer who didn’t show up, or against film/negatives that were damaged --including if the vendor failed to load film or left the lens cap on. However, simply being unhappy with the results would not be reimbursable.