Do you have to get wedding insurance? If you are spending upwards of several thousands dollars, experts agree the answer should be “Yes.”
Honestly, getting wedding insurance didn’t even cross my mind when I was planning our wedding. I knew we were covered with liability insurance via the caterer/venue, but beyond that I didn’t think of getting wedding insurance to cover something as common as a hurricane in Miami, where I was getting married. In hurricane season. I also found out after the fact that there were issues going on with the caterer and venue, which thankfully didn’t affect us but easily could have.
The average cost of a wedding in the US is around $27,000, which is a pretty sizeable investment and up there with what it costs to buy a car (and we all know you need insurance for that). And the scary truth is that things happen: flash flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes (listening to the news every morning is like a roll-call for these disasters). And when mother nature is not involved, other people are. And people can be flaky (and even criminal). Just look at the poor couples who got screwed when their Brooklyn wedding venue reBar unexpectedly went out of business, taking their deposits and dream wedding with it (by the way the owner is going to prison for up to 10 years, according to the NY Daily News). Aside from extreme weather or vendor no-shows, there’s also the threat of unexpected illness between you and/or the groom, wedding party, or immediate family. That’s a lot to think about!
The bottom line is wedding insurance is not expensive, and for a couple hundred dollars you can have one less thing to worry about in those weeks and months leading up to your wedding, and on the day-of itself. And while hopefully you won’t have to use it, there are a ton of couples that are able to benefit from it each year. According to a 2012 Travelers report on wedding claims, wedding day “mishaps” make up 24% of all claims, while illness and injury accounted for 19% and weather 14%. Of those claims related to vendor issues, 58% of them involved wedding photographers, 21% were because of caterers, 11% involved a DJ and 5% a wedding planner.
So. How much insurance should you get? According to Chantal Cyr, vice president of product management at Travelers, couples typically purchase $25,000 to $35,000 worth of coverage for $225 and $300, respectively. While that is the standard, you can opt to go as low or as high as you want, and the price you pay will vary accordingly. For example, $175,000 worth of wedding insurance will cost you $1,025, while $7,500 worth of coverage will typically be around $160.*
There are several companies that offer wedding insurance, such as Traveler’s, Aon, and Fireman’s Fund. While coverage options and limitations will vary, wedding insurance plans typically cover deposits made and other wedding-related expenses such as photography/videography, wedding attire, wedding gifts, and transportation costs (see more details below). Some venues also require you to purchase limited liability insurance for property damage or injuries to a third party at your wedding, as well as liquor liability coverage in the event a guest has an accident due to alcohol consumed at your wedding (though a large number of venues and caterers have this in place already so you do not need to worry). Before you go shopping for liability insurance, however, check your homeowner’s insurance because they often cover this as well.
Here’s a look at what’s typically covered with wedding insurance*:
- 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 the bride or groom is in the military and gets called to duty, military absence coverage will most likely cover this as well.
- If wedding attire for the bride, groom, or wedding party is lost, stolen or damaged, insurance will often pay to repair or replace the item(s).
- A wedding vendor (such as the venue, wedding planner, photographer, caterer, florist, officiant) doesn’t show up or goes out of business. You would most likely be covered for deposits paid and more depending on your policy. 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).
- If your wedding is cancelled for circumstances beyond your control, you policy might also cover any non-recoverable travel costs associated with your honeymoon.
And what’s typically NOT covered with wedding insurance*:
- Rainy days
- Change of heart (though some policies are starting to offer this)
- Loss of jewelry (this would typically be covered by the jewelry rider that all of you should have through your homeowner’s insurance. If you don’t, get it!!)
- Poor quality wedding photos (IE you just don’t like them)
Wedding insurance policies are changing all the time and are different for each company, so please contact your insurance company to find out their specific coverage options.