When Dan Gerecht bought a wedding insurance policy for his daughter Yvonne’s big day last year, he did it because the event was scheduled during hurricane season and he was worried that weather might force them to cancel.
But it turned out the Gerechts needed the policy for a different reason: The venue, the Winery at Elk Manor in North East, Maryland, shut down just two months before Yvonne’s 2016 Labor Day wedding, Gerecht says. They found themselves scrambling for a new location — and out the $30,000 Gerecht had already paid to Elk Manor.
Vendors who can’t fulfill contracts are the most common cause of wedding insurance claims. Here’s how insurance can help.
Wedding disaster No. 1: Vendor fails
Vendor issues, like the venue going out of business, make up 30% of wedding insurance claim dollars — the largest share — paid by Travelers Insurance. Wedding insurance policies will often reimburse you if you have to book a last-minute vendor or reschedule the wedding if a vendor backs out.
Gerecht says he was tipped off that something was awry when the caterer emailed and told him the venue hadn’t paid as promised. Fortunately, the $355 policy he’d bought from Travelers covered the venue closing.
Wedding insurance “is such a small cost compared to what you could lose if something goes wrong,” says Anne Chertoff, wedding trends expert at WeddingWire.
The Gerechts were lucky; they found another venue for the same day. “Some families sued [the venue], but thankfully we didn’t have to” because we had wedding insurance, Gerecht says.
Wedding disaster No. 2: Someone gets injured
Weddings are fun. Often they’re so much fun that someone gets hurt. If there’s an injury at your wedding, you could be held liable — and that’s what wedding liability insurance is for. Wedding liability insurance is typically a separate policy from cancellation insurance, though they can be purchased in a bundle.
“As you might expect, we do see many injuries that occur on the dance floor,” says Steve Lauro, vice president at Aon Affinity, parent company of WedSafe, a seller of wedding insurance. Among claims to WedSafe, 28% are for injuries or accidents that occur at weddings.
In some cases, you could also be held liable if someone drinks too much and causes an accident. Liquor liability coverage may be sold as add-on coverage for wedding liability policies or included at no charge.
Wedding disaster No. 3: Extreme weather
When you’re booking the venue months beforehand, you cross your fingers and hope for good weather. Of wedding claims to Travelers, 16% of dollars paid out are due to extreme weather.
Coverage typically doesn’t include a rain shower or a blustery day that might ruin your party’s updos, because the wedding can still go on. But if there’s a tornado, hurricane or other destructive weather that prevents guests or vendors from arriving, a cancellation policy pays for costs to reschedule.
Wedding disaster No. 4: Medical emergency in the family
If someone close to you gets sick or injured right before your wedding, the last thing you want to worry about is the money lost canceling or rescheduling the event.
If the bride, groom, their parents or someone in the wedding party is sick or injured shortly before the wedding and can’t make it, cancellation policies typically cover the costs to reschedule. These represented about 6% of wedding cancellation claims to WedSafe in 2016, Lauro says.
Wedding disaster No. 5: Lost or ruined attire
Attire represents just 2% of wedding claim dollars paid by Travelers. However, tuxes and gowns are such an important part of weddings that they are commonly included in wedding cancellation policies.
Avoiding vendor issues
Chertoff recommends getting references from recent weddings that a vendor has done and asking the references about their experiences.
Lauro recommends that you get all agreements in writing, read contracts thoroughly and check vendors on the Better Business Bureau.
Gerecht says the wedding insurance policy “was a great investment.” And he’s already purchased another one: He has another daughter getting married this year.
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by USA Today. Lacie Glover is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @LacieWrites.