Wedding Insurance: What’s Covered, and Is It Worth It?

Couples in the U.S. spend an average of more than $20,000 for their wedding and invest over a year planning their perfect day. With so much money and time involved, many people get wedding insurance in case their big day must be postponed or canceled and in case of any accidents or injuries at the event.

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What is wedding event insurance?

Wedding event insurance, also known as special event coverage, covers the cost for postponing or canceling your wedding. This includes reimbursing your deposits, replacing any no-show vendors and covering any damaged or stolen gifts.

There are two main types of wedding insurance you can buy:

  • Event cancellation coverage: Covers the cost associated with canceling or postponing your wedding or event.
  • Liability coverage: Covers injuries to guests or event staff and damage to the venue for your ceremony or reception.

While special event coverage is mostly used for weddings, this insurance can also be used to cover bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, quinceaneras, graduation parties or any other single-day event that is not open to the public.

When should you buy wedding or event insurance?

You should buy special event insurance before you start placing deposits for your vendors.

There are time limits for getting wedding and event insurance. Many companies won't offer coverage more than two years out or less than 15 days before your event.

How much does special event coverage cost?

Couples pay an average of $275 for a wedding insurance policy, but your premium largely depends on the coverage limits you choose and what you include in the policy.

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Limits for cancellation and postponement coverage range from $7,500 to a maximum of $175,000. Additional expense coverage limits range from $1,500 to $35,000. All other limits are generally between $1,000 and $10,500. Your choice of coverage level is the biggest factor in the cost of coverage. Base the amount of coverage you need on your budget for each item.

What does wedding insurance cover?

Wedding insurance covers many of the most common things that could go wrong at a wedding, like a no-show vendor or a guest taking a bad fall on the dance floor.

Cancellation or postponement coverage

Cancellation or postponement insurance is the broadest form of coverage and will cover your financial losses for nearly every aspect of your event if you are forced to cancel.

This includes things like deposits paid, transportation, catering services, property rentals, hotel accommodations, travel arrangements for your honeymoon, special clothing or jewelry, and other services tied specifically to your wedding.

Valid reasons for cancellation or postponement

  • Venue: Any event that might change the usability or availability of the venue — for example, if a fire or accident happens at the location that makes it unusable for your wedding.
  • Key persons: If a key member of your wedding can't come due to an involuntary absence, such as illness, injury, military deployment or severe weather-related issues. Wedding insurance policies identify key participants such as the wedding party, the married couple's immediate family or other active participants.
  • Vendors: If a caterer, vendor or officiant doesn't show up or cancels, you may be forced to change plans. It's also possible for you to use the extra expenses portion of your policy to pay for a new vendor.

Extra expenses coverage

You may be able to avoid cancellation altogether by adding extra expenses coverage to your wedding event policy. Extra expenses coverage protects you if you need to find a different vendor, buy replacement items or even make alternate plans.

If it would cost less to pay for these added expenses than it would cost to cancel/move the entire event, your event insurer will reimburse you for these additional costs under extra expenses coverage.

Photography and videography

Media coverage reimburses you for any payments you made to the photographer or videographer if they don't show up, cancel at the last minute or the film or negatives are damaged before you receive copies. This includes situations where the vendor forgets to load film in the camera, leaves the lens cap on or forgets the camera's battery or memory card.

However, this coverage does not cover cases where the quality of the product does not meet your expectations. Being unhappy with the results would not be reimbursable.

Event gifts, special jewelry and special attire

This coverage reimburses you for theft or damage of pricey wedding-related items. In general, the reimbursement will be calculated based on the cost of repairing or replacing the respective item. If a gift, clothing or jewelry is stolen, your policy may 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. If the day before the wedding, you bring your wedding dress back from the dry cleaner during a storm and accidentally drop it in a puddle, your policy wouldn't cover it.

For clothing and attire, your policy may change the amount of reimbursement based on whether the damage occurred during or prior to the event. For example, some event insurance will only reimburse 50% of the original coverage limit if the clothing has been worn.

What's not covered by wedding insurance?

The most common exclusions for wedding event policies include a change of heart, payment problems and bad weather. Your insurance company will not consider the following factors to be valid reasons for cancellation or postponement:

  • Change of heart: Any decision by a bride or groom to not go forward with the wedding.
  • Lack of funds: The inability to pay for the venue, vendors or other expenses associated with the wedding unless this lack of funds is the result of involuntary unemployment.
  • Weather conditions: Bad weather alone is not enough of a reason to cancel your wedding. The only way weather-related issues could qualify for reimbursement is if the weather is bad enough to prevent the key parties or over half of the confirmed guests from reaching the event.

How much special event coverage do you need?

The amount of coverage you need depends a lot on your venue. A wedding venue that handles all the details of your big day may refund any lost expenses if it causes the cancellation or postponement of your wedding. The venue may also have insurance coverage of its own.

To ensure you have the event coverage you need, get enough coverage to pay for most of the major costs of your wedding. This should include the cost of your:

  • Venue
  • Vendors including the photographer, florist, planner and DJ
  • Catering
  • Clothing for your ceremony and reception
  • Honeymoon

Take a look at these expenses to make sure you have high enough limits for your event. For example, if you are only doing a small breakfast bar but you splurge on a high-end floral chandelier, you may be OK with getting low limits for catering but higher limits for vendors and flowers.

How to buy wedding insurance

Buying wedding event insurance is easy: Compare policies and coverage, choose your insurance company and then pay a one-time premium for coverage.

The first choice you'll be asked to make is to select coverage limits — the higher the coverage limits, the greater the cost of your policy. Before you buy a wedding insurance policy, make sure you have an idea of how much coverage you need and which categories you need the most protection for. You can often save if you choose an event insurance policy with both liability and cancellation coverage.

Is special event insurance really worth it?

While having wedding insurance can provide peace of mind to couples preparing for their big day, not everyone needs coverage to handle the risks of a canceled wedding.

If you feel you can afford additional costs, such as losing a deposit or covering damage to your venue, you might not need wedding insurance.

Some wedding venues provide catering and other services, reducing the number of vendors and payments. If something were to prevent the venue from being used in these cases, you're more likely to be refunded a larger portion of your expenses.

Consider what you could reasonably pay out of pocket before you'd need to cancel or postpone your wedding. If it's vital for all of the immediate family and active participants to be at the event, a policy might be worth it for you. But if you can afford to pay out of pocket to fix any issues that come up, then it might make less sense to get a wedding event policy.

Frequently asked questions

Does wedding insurance cover breakups?

Unfortunately, change of heart is a named exclusion on all wedding insurance policies, so they are not responsible for coverage if you cancel or postpone your wedding due to a breakup or cold feet.

Does event insurance cover gifts?

Yes, most special event policies offer optional coverage for gifts, protecting them from theft or damage during your wedding or another event.

Do I need wedding insurance for a backyard wedding?

Yes, it is probably worth getting wedding insurance for a backyard wedding, especially if alcohol is being served. However, your home insurance does cover many risks from backyard wedding events.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.