Of all of the things you need to purchase for your big day, most wedding professionals will tell you that wedding insurance is at the top of their list. While wedding insurance comes in several forms, the overall concept is that it protects the host against any financial issues that could arise from extenuating circumstances. But there’s so much more you need to know. Read on to find out whether it’s right for you, and if it’s worth it.
So, does every couple need wedding insurance?
To truly have financial peace of mind on your wedding day, insurance is essential, notes Monica Liang-Allen, an independent agent in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut who specializes in event insurance. While she notes that some venues will ask a couple to have their own wedding insurance, it’s not the only deciding factor. “Many couples will take out a wedding insurance policy so they have extra protection if things go wrong,” she explains.
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Having your wedding at home? You should still consider it. Personal liability coverage from a homeowners policy usually isn’t sufficient for large gatherings, notes Liang-Allen. “In some cases, homeowners insurance may have specific exclusions for liability when it comes to having weddings on their property.”
Although wedding insurance has garnered a lot more attention thanks to the pandemic, it’s important to note that most insurance companies still do not cover such circumstances.
“While insurance does not cover pandemic-related cancellations or reschedules, it does cover vendors not showing up and that number has spiked over the last 14 months,” says Joshua Gabrielson, wedding videographer and owner of Wedding Photography & Films™ in Roanoke, Virginia. “In fact, I can recall at least 30 different social media posts over the last year in which couples had a wedding no show because the vendor closed its doors and never gave a refund or informed the couple to begin with.”
Wedding insurance cost
Although the cost of wedding insurance varies, it’s surprisingly inexpensive. “For a million-dollar liability policy, you can expect to pay under $200,” explains Melanie Musson, a wedding insurance expert with USInsuranceAgents.com. “For a comprehensive cancellation policy that covers vendors, venues, cold feet, sickness, and storms, you can expect to pay about $400.”
The different types of wedding insurance policies
There is not just one single type of wedding insurance policy. In fact, there are a few no matter the carrier. Here’s a look at each.
This type of insurance protects you from bearing financial responsibility for accidents that happen at your wedding, such as a guest slipping on the dance floor, explains Musson. “If one of your guests gets angry and starts throwing fine china onto the concrete, liability insurance will pay for the loss to your venue,” she says. Liability insurance, however, does not protect your investment in your wedding. For that you would need cancellation coverage. More on that, below.
This type of wedding insurance will reimburse you for money you’ve already spent if something goes wrong, explains Musson. “For example, if your photographer skips town with your deposit, cancellation coverage will reimburse you for your loss,” she says. “If a major storm makes your wedding impossible, cancelation coverage will reimburse you so you can rebook for a later date.”
When deciding whether something’s worth it, a good pros/cons list always helps. Here’s ours:
Wedding Insurance Pros:
It can help you stick to your budget
Even though wedding insurance can feel like just another expense, it can actually help you save in the long run. “If you hired a photographer, paid $5,000 down, and he skipped town with your down payment, you’ll be reimbursed for your loss by your insurance provider and can use that money to secure another (more trustworthy) photographer,” says Musson.
It can give you peace of mind
At the very least, wedding insurance can make you feel at ease as you plan this notoriously expensive event. “Simply knowing that all your money put into your special day won’t be wasted can help you enjoy the experience to a greater extent,” says Musson.
Wedding Insurance Cons:
It can be costly
If you’re tight on your budget, shelling out an extra couple of hundred dollars for “just-in-case” reasons can be hard to grapple with. “It can be difficult to decide between having wedding insurance and purchasing the bouquet of your dreams,” says Musson.
It doesn’t cover everything
Not everything is covered by insurance. Plus, it’s not always easy to decipher the fine print to figure out what is covered, notes Kate Reavey, owner of Chicago Vintage Weddings, in Chicago, Illinois.
Here’s a look at what wedding insurance will generally cover/not cover.
Wedding Insurance May Cover:
- Extreme weather (IE: earthquake, tornado, hurricane, blizzard) that affects members of the wedding party, guests, and/or your venue.
- Injury or unexpected illness of the wedding party or your immediate family. However, an illness or injury from a preexisting condition might not be covered. If you or your partner is called to duty, military absence coverage may cover this.
- If attire for the bride, groom, or wedding party is lost, stolen or incurs damage, insurance may pay to repair or replace them.
- A wedding vendor (such as the venue, planner, photographer, etc.) doesn’t show up or goes out of business. Traveler’s insurance, for instance, will cover deposits made by the bride/groom and immediate family.
- Ruined or lost photos
- Gift coverage to repair or replace non-monetary gifts that are stolen or damaged (within a certain period of time).
- Wedding cancelled for circumstances beyond your control? Your policy might cover any non-recoverable travel costs associated with your honeymoon.
May not cover:
- Rainy days
- Change of heart (though some policies are starting to offer this)
- Loss of jewelry
- Poor quality wedding photos (IE: you just don’t like them)
Tips for shopping wedding insurance policies
To score the best wedding insurance policy, follow these expert-approved tips.
Before you purchase the same wedding insurance policy that your best friend did for her backyard wedding, do your research. “Your individual needs may be a perfect fit for one insurer and not a good fit for another,” says Musson. “Make sure you know what you’re paying for. Coverage is competitive—something you likely won’t know if you go with the first insurer you look into.”
Know the terms
It’s important to understand exactly how you would be protected in the event you need to use your wedding insurance. “If you want an insurance policy for cold feet, make sure that’s covered under their terms.”
Make sure your vendors are properly insured
“Even something that seems small, like a cake delivery, can become a big issue if they don’t have proper insurance and people get sick,” says Reavey. “Most licensed businesses will have insurance, so checking on business licenses is a good first step.”
The best wedding insurance policies
Because the process of shopping for wedding insurance can be overwhelming, we asked experts to share the policies they would recommend.
WedSafe and WedSure
WedSafe and Wedsure are two of the top wedding insurance providers that offer similar coverage and have competitive rates, according to Musson. For example, “WedSafe offers a 15-percent discount if you purchase both liability and cancellation coverage from them,” says Musson. “If you’re in the market for both, that discount may make their cost lower than the competition. Wedsure also lets customers build policies tailored to their needs.”
USLI (United States Liability Insurance)
“Their Special Event policies can cover up to 10,000+ guests and over 100+ different types of events,” says Liang-Allen. “For weddings, they cover General Liability, Host Liquor Liability, medical payments and can even cover rehearsal dinners.” You can choose for your policy to cover one day or multiple days (3+). However, they no longer provide Event Cancellation Coverage.
Liang-Allen believes this insurance policy is the best in terms of competitive pricing. “Most other event insurance carriers have a minimum General Liability limit of $1 Million per occurrence / $2 Million General Aggregate. However Markel offers lower liability limits for smaller events starting at $500,000,” she says. While they offer Event Cancellation & Postponement coverage in select states, like most carriers they specifically exclude this coverage if it’s due to communicable diseases such as COVID-19.
With a minimum General Liability limit that is higher than others—$1 Million per occurrence / $3 Million General Aggregate—and an Event Cancellation coverage that is also higher than most other carriers ($175,000), this is a very competitive option, notes Liang-Allen. Types of coverage include Liquor Liability, Sexual Abuse and Molestation coverage (say if a vendor was harassed by one of your wedding guests) and Umbrella Excess Liability coverage if needed. “While they are great for those with larger events, they are not ideal for those with smaller weddings,” says Liang-Allen.
Still wondering if you need wedding insurance? Let us know which plans you’ve checked out in the comments below!