Wedding insurance and you: The perfect match?

By Gina Roberts-Grey Posted : 04/04/2011

Wedding insuranceBefore getting married, you probably plan to insure your engagement ring. But you also can insure an even bigger money splurge – the wedding itself.

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Wedding insurance, also known more broadly as "event insurance," can protect you from a host of wedding snafus and crises that may force postponement of your nuptials. Such coverage spares you from starting your new life together with a big financial loss.

There are two types of insurance available for your wedding: Cancellation/postponement insurance and liability insurance.

Cancellation/postponement wedding insurance

Cancellation/postponement insurance covers the cost of your deposits if an unexpected event forces the postponement or cancellation of your wedding.

It also provides financial protection against lost deposits from no-show or bankrupt vendors and reimburses you for stolen gifts or wedding mementos, such as crystal toasting glasses or a sterling knife set used to cut the cake.

This type of wedding insurance reimburses you for your deposit money and other financial losses in the face of unfortunate twists of fate, such as:

  • Banquet hall burns downs
  • Caterer skips town with your salmon puffs
  • Bride's dress is stolen
  • Officiate or a "major player" in the wedding (such as the maid of honor) is ill, forcing postponement. 
  • Church has a blackout
  • Photographer goes MIA
  • Snowstorm, tornado or other extreme weather forces postponement
  • Wedding items become lost or damaged
  • A bandit makes off with the birdcage full of cash-stuffed wedding envelopes.

However, check the details of your policy, as cancellation/postponement insurance will not reimburse you for every type of mishap – such as certain weather conditions.

"They key is the weather must be extreme," says Steven A. Lauro, vice president at Aon Affinity, a division of Aon Corporation that sells wedding coverage through WedSafe.

While a few flurries or sprinkles don't count, "monsoons, hurricanes, micro bursts, blizzards, etc. do," Lauro says.

The wedding doesn't necessarily have to be postponed for the policy to kick in, says Jean Martinelli, founder of Jean Martin Insurance, a brokerage in Cranston, R.I., that offers wedding insurance policies.

"If the bride needs to buy a new gown because hers is destroyed or the store goes out of business, the policy would pay for her to get a new gown and the wedding could take place on schedule," Martinelli says.

Liability wedding insurance

Liability wedding insurance is a separate type of coverage. It covers injury or property damage resulting from your celebration bash. So, you're covered if a drunken guest breaks a leg and sues you.

Of course, instead of purchasing a separate wedding liability policy, you could simply add a special liability rider to your homeowners policy. But this does not cover postponement, only injury or property damage.

Also, "if you need to file a claim, there's a chance that could impact your rates down the line," says Lauro.

That's not a worry with wedding insurance.

"This is a standalone policy and a claim on a wedding policy would not impact auto or homeowners insurance rates the policyholder has," says Martinelli.

Choosing your wedding insurance coverage

In addition to Aon, well-known insurance companies including Travelers and Fireman's Fund insure weddings. So do some boutique carriers.

A Fireman's Fund wedding insurance policy, offered through the National Alliance of Special Event Planners, also offers "change of heart" coverage in the event the bride or groom get  cold feet.

"Neither the bride nor groom can purchase the Fireman's policy, and it must be purchased at least four months before the planned wedding date," says Martinelli.

However, your mother and father, great aunt Sally and anyone else who has a financial stake in the wedding can purchase this coverage.

The bride and groom can purchase any type of wedding insurance aside from Fireman's Fund "change of heart" coverage. Parents can purchase any type of wedding insurance – including the "change of heart coverage" – if they are footing the bill for the big day.

The cost for either type of wedding insurance policy varies, but can start for as little as $75. Martinelli says premiums are based on the limit of insurance selected.

"A $50,000 wedding policy will cost less than a $100,000 wedding policy," she adds.

Terms and conditions vary dramatically, and certain – although not all – claims are subject to a deductible which is typically about $25, per incident, she says.

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