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If you’ve planned for your perfect wedding, glitches can be especially stressful. Calamities can be heart-stopping.
Wedding insurance may help you breathe a little easier. A policy can pay for any damage or injuries that occur during the big event, or reimburse you if it’s postponed or canceled. Purchasing a policy can be quick. Here’s what to know about wedding insurance.
Insurance that covers weddings
Having insurance for potential wedding disasters makes sense for many couples, especially if the celebration will be large and expensive. Depending on where your wedding will be, you could get coverage through:
An existing homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy.
A separate wedding insurance policy.
A special event insurance policy.
If a relative or friend is hosting the event at their house, their homeowners insurance — and umbrella insurance for very large claims — covers liability. However, they should ask their insurance agent about liquor liability and whether they have coverage if a drunken guest causes a car accident after leaving.
Your own homeowners or renters insurance may cover stolen or destroyed gifts.
Your venue may have liability insurance of its own, so you wouldn’t need overlapping coverage. For example, a banquet hall likely has its own policy, but ask about what it does and does not cover.
Wedding insurance policies
Typically, a wedding insurance policy offers two main types of coverage, which you can purchase separately or together.
Liability insurance in a wedding insurance policy pays for damage to the venue that occurs during the event for which you are held responsible. It can also pay for medical costs if someone is injured or gets sick at your wedding. Often this coverage includes liquor liability insurance, which pays out in case you are sued for damages that drunken guests cause when they leave. Typical wedding liability insurance limits are $500,000 to $2 million, but may be as high as $5 million.
Cancellation or postponement coverage reimburses you for costs if you have to cancel or delay your wedding because of extreme weather, injury or illness in the wedding party or the bride or groom’s immediate family, or for other reasons beyond your control. If you have to reschedule the event, this coverage helps pay for the cost of a new ceremony and reception. Many wedding cancellation policies also reimburse you for a single deposit if a vendor doesn’t show up, even if the wedding goes on.
Additional insurance: “Deposit coverage” can be sold as a separate policy.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, optional riders for extra coverage can include:
Military deployment of the bride or groom causing cancellation.
The honeymoon, in case you must cancel your getaway.
Gifts, if they are stolen.
Professional counseling, if postponement or cancellation causes severe emotional distress.
Liquor host liability insurance.
What wedding insurance doesn’t cover
You can get a wedding policy to cover just about anything outside of your control that messes with your big day, but most policies don’t pay for things like:
Cold feet or a change of heart, with few exceptions.
A rainy day, rather than extreme weather.
Theft or loss of engagement ring.
Deciding to switch to a different vendor, such as a caterer or florist, once you’ve already paid a deposit.
If your wedding includes fireworks, bounce houses, live animals or other attractions insurers find risky, you could be declined for a policy. Some insurers may still offer you a policy but exclude problems involving these types of attractions.
When to buy wedding insurance
“Couples should purchase a policy once they begin writing checks,” says Todd Shasha, managing director of personal insurance at Travelers Insurance, which provides wedding insurance.
However, if you’re already in the midst of planning, it’s not too late.
In most states, if a policy is going to cover extreme weather, it must be purchased 14 days before the event, Shasha says. Liability coverage can be purchased up to the day of the event in many cases. However, if your venue requires you to buy liability insurance, it might require proof of insurance before the wedding, as many as 30 days ahead of the event.
Common wedding insurance claims
A lot can happen after you put down wedding deposits. Vendor issues are the most common type of claims and are among the costliest, Shasha says.
The most common wedding insurance claims that Travelers pays are for:
Vendor issues: 30%.
Illness or injury: 29%.
Weather issues: 16%.
Among the vendor-related claims Travelers pays, nearly two-thirds involve wedding or reception venue problems, Shasha says. Typically, this involves facilities that closed unexpectedly or can no longer accommodate the wedding, causing it to be rescheduled.
Other common claims typically involve vendors that go out of business or just fail to show up on the big day. Examples include:
A photographer fails to deliver your photos.
A florist goes bankrupt and doesn’t refund the deposit.
Your seamstress loses the gown.
The limo company you hired goes out of business.
A caterer never shows up.
Wedding insurance pricing and providers
The cost of wedding insurance will depend on the number of guests attending, what types of coverage you purchase and the limits of your policy. The least expensive policies available can cost under $100 for liability coverage only, and larger policies can cost over $1,000 for cancellation insurance.
Tips for buying the right policy for your wedding
Look over your existing homeowners and renters insurance policies — or those of any relatives hosting or paying for the wedding — to see whether existing liability insurance will cover you.
Check the deductible, which is the amount deducted from a claims check. If one vendor doesn’t show up, and the deductible is higher than the deposit for that vendor, you’ll swallow the cost for that lost deposit.
Look at coverage limits. For cancellation coverage, you’ll want the limit to be close to your wedding budget, including the honeymoon.