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What Is Wedding Insurance?
“Wedding insurance isn't something that most couples like to think about, but it's definitely worth it,” notes New York City and Chicago wedding planner Meg Hotchkiss of LVR Events. “You can rest easy knowing that you'll recover deposits if something prevents your venue from hosting or vendors from working at your wedding. It also allows you to recover costs if you have to cancel your wedding for some reason. We're not talking cold feet here — more like if something happens where you or your partner physically cannot be at your wedding, such as a deployment, accident, or illness.”
Many couples may feel that wedding insurance is not a necessity when they start wedding planning. It can seem like a waste of money if you don’t need to use it, but as with car insurance or homeowner’s insurance it’s really about feeling secure that you’ll be covered in the event of some unforeseen emergency. If you find yourself needing wedding insurance, you’ll deeply regret being without it.
“Spending $200-$300 to protect an investment that is, on average in the US, somewhere around $30,000 is a small price to pay for that peace of mind,” shares Portland, Oregon wedding planner Cindy Savage of Aisle Less Traveled, and we couldn’t agree more.
Types of Wedding Insurance
If you’re like me, you probably don’t want to think through all of the worst case scenarios when it comes to your wedding day, but it’s important for all couples planning their wedding to know how wedding insurance can help you avoid financial upsets. Before we dive into all the reasons why you might need wedding insurance, let’s first look at the different types of coverage that are available.
If you have other forms of insurance, liability coverage is probably something you’re a little familiar with. Essentially, this coverage ensures that you won’t be held personally liable for damages or injuries that take place during your wedding. If a guest slips and falls on the dance floor, if a guest gets food poisoning, if a rental company damages the venue floors while loading or unloading furniture — all of these types of incidents would require liability coverage, and it’s definitely something that all couples should realistically consider.
No one likes to think about having to cancel their wedding, but if a hurricane or snow storm strikes you’ll certainly be glad to have this coverage! Extreme weather is a common cause of wedding cancellation, and often it’s not something you can foresee. As climate change makes severe weather a more common occurrence, you’ll want to seriously consider adding this coverage to your policy.
Cancellation/Postponement coverage also is important in the event that you or your partner are deployed or if you, your partner, or your immediate family members are injured or fall ill and are no longer able to be at the wedding. This insurance coverage allows you to cancel or postpone your wedding without losing out on all of your deposits, retainers, and payments that you would otherwise lose.
Deposit Coverage/Wedding Vendor Insurance
This type of coverage specifically covers the cost of your deposits and payments in the event that a vendor does not provide the services you’ve paid for. Often, this is included within a cancellation/postponement policy, but it’s important to confirm before you buy a policy. Wedding planners Cindy and Meg both shared real examples of instances where this insurance is important — a fire that destroys your venue, a vendor that goes out of business or who turns out to not be the professional you thought they were (more common than you might think), a photographer who doesn't deliver photos, a dress that gets lost in transit, a baker who gets into an accident while delivering your cake, or for any other reason why a wedding vendor didn’t provide the services you paid for.
Peripheral Event Insurance
“Some policies will also cover rehearsal dinners, post wedding brunches, and honeymoon travel if these events occur within 24-48 hours of your wedding,” says Meg. Some insurance providers include this as part of their liability or cancellation policies, but it is important to verify the limits of their coverage before you sign a contract.
How to Purchase Wedding Insurance
Now that you know what types of insurance are available, the next step is deciding which insurance provider is right for you and your wedding.
Your Existing Insurance Provider
“If you, your partner, or your parents have a homeowner's insurance policy, you may be able to add a special event rider onto the policy,” suggests Meg. “Read the fine print, though. Claims made on homeowner's insurance can cause rates to skyrocket in perpetuity depending on the policy.”
Wedding Insurance Companies
“There are a handful of companies that specialize in wedding insurance that are typically divisions of larger insurance companies,” continues Meg. “I typically recommend WedSafe (Nationwide), The Event Helper (Progressive) and WedSure (Fireman's Fund) and ProtectMyWedding (Travelers).” Reviews.com also offers a side by side comparison of their top wedding insurance providers, and considers WedSafe best for liability coverage, WedSure best for customizable policies, Travelers/ProtectMyWedding best for destination weddings, and Markel as best in overall coverage.
Determining Your Coverage Limits
Once you’ve selected the types of insurance you’ll need and what company you want to work with, you’ll also have to make some decisions around the amount of coverage you want. “Generally, you'll want your policy coverage to be in line with your overall wedding budget (i.e. a $10K policy isn't going to be enough for a $80K wedding),” says Meg. “And as ever, READ THE FINE PRINT!” Your coverage and deductible are important to understand before you sign a contract!
Why Should You Get Wedding Insurance?
We’ve already touched on a number of the reasons that you should purchase insurance for your wedding, but if you’re still on the fence here are a few more reasons to consider.
If You’re a Member of the Military, Police, or Fire Departments
“It's a great solution for those in the military who might need to cancel due to deployment,” shares DC wedding photographer Jennifer Domenick of Love Life Images. “We had this happen for one of our couples and they were able to recover their costs and were not concerned about their non-refundable deposit at all.” Most insurance policies also cover emergency unavailability for police officers, fire fighters, or other service members who may be called away. If this is something that could happen to you or your partner, double check to ensure it’s covered before signing a policy.
In the Event of Severe Weather
“Severe Weather does not mean rain clouds that force you to go with plan B indoor ceremony,” reminds Meg. “It will cover a ‘state of emergency’ like a hurricane. Usually, in order to guarantee coverage for weather you must purchase in advance (14+ days), so you can't stalk the forecast a week out and decide to opt for coverage.”
If you live along the East Coast of the U.S., especially in more Southern coastal states, or if you live along the Gulf of Mexico, you’re probably going to want to purchase this coverage if your wedding is taking place any time during hurricane season. Same goes for areas that experience heavy snowfalls for winter weddings, or earthquakes, such as along the West Coast. Be prepared, and you’ll be able to watch the weather forecast with a little less stress.
In Case of Accidents or Mishaps with Guests
“Wedding insurance reduces your financial liability for accidents, such as if a guest drinks too much or someone trips and falls,” notes Cindy. Let’s be real. This is a given at most weddings. Guests are drunk dancing and drop a glass on the dance floor and another guest has opted for barefoot dancing — this is a scenario that happened not once, but four times at my wedding. Thankfully, no feet were cut, but this just illustrates why liability insurance is so important. You simply cannot control everything about your wedding day.
“Host liquor liability (which is sometimes a supplemental add-on) is usually a very good idea,” says Meg. “Drunk people aren't known for their awesome decision-making and coordination.” Oh! You don’t say, Meg!? “This is especially important if you are supplying the bar or having your event at someone's home.”
Theft and Damage During Your Wedding
“If you're worried about security at your wedding venue, most policies offer add-on coverage for theft of gifts, wedding rings, and other valuables that might happen at your wedding,” notes Cindy. While most of your guests and staff are hopefully trustworthy, wedding crashers are a real thing, especially at venues like hotels where other people can easily slip in while people are dancing and distracted.
It’s important to confirm if theft or loss of your engagement rings is covered by your wedding insurance policy, as Meg reminds us that these may not be included in every policy, “But those are already insured, RIGHT?!?!” Thanks for the reminder, Meg! If you haven’t insured your rings as part of your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policies, go do that now!
Many Wedding Venues Require It
“More and more venues are requiring wedding insurance, so you may not have a choice!” says Cindy. Depending on the venue you select, insurance may be a requirement for your wedding day. Be sure to read your venue contract closely to determine if your venue has specific requirements about the type and extent of coverage. Your wedding venue could otherwise hold you responsible if you or your guests does any damage while you’re on the property.
It Can Cover Your Wedding Vendors as Well
One of our favorite wedding industry lawyers, Caroline Fox of Engaged Legal, wants couples and vendors to know that your wedding insurance can cover your vendors as well! “Make sure your vendors are named as an ‘additional insured’ so they can collect fees directly instead of having to wait for the couple to get paid out and then pay them.” Want to know more about this option? Caroline has broken it down for all the wedding vendors out there over on her site.
Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Catalyst Wedding Co. She works to mesh together her love of feminism, love stories, accessibility, equality, and design into the Catalyst brand. When she’s not traveling the country working to make the wedding industry a more inclusive place, she’s writing on her couch and snuggled up with her husband and SUPER lazy cats.
Photo by Tiffany Josephs Photography