What is Wedding Insurance and Why Does It Matter?
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
With COVID-19 in our midst, 2020 may have more wedding cancellations and postponements than any year in history. Thousands of couples and their planners have been re-reading their signed vendor contracts, trying to find how to best approach each vendor and ensure they don't pay thousands of dollars in rescheduling and cancellation fees. Would-be wedding guests are calling airlines and hotels to get refunds or exchange their purchases for future travel. Wedding vendors across all categories, many of whom are solopreneurs, are struggling to find sources of income amid the dozens of cancellations they're experiencing. Wedding seats are left empty and all of this has brides and grooms asking:
What is wedding insurance?
When we talk about "wedding insurance," we're typically talking about two separate things in one: the first is liability coverage and the second is cancellation and postponement coverage.
Wedding liability insurance exists to protect you from claims of personal injury and property damage. Did you know that if one of your guests breaks a leg on the dance floor or has a little too much to drink and gets into a car accident on the way home, you could be held legally and financially responsible? Liability insurance helps to mitigate your risk and cover legal and medical costs if claims are made against you.
Cancellation and Postponement Coverage
Cancellation insurance protects you from cancellations due to sickness, non-performance of essential vendors (like your officiant and caterer), double-booked venues, vendors going out of business, and more. Cancellation insurance will reimburse deposits and other payments you've made to your vendors, so you aren't SOL when you're $35,000 out of pocket and a tornado destroys your venue the week before your wedding.
How much does wedding insurance cost?
Most basic wedding day liability plans start at around $75 for about $500,000 in coverage (though I recommend upgrading to at least a $1m per occurrence and $2m aggregate policy). With add ons for cancellation/postponement, gifts, jewelry, loss of photo or video, etc., most couples spend about $200 - $300 for all of the coverage they need for their big day.
Unlike your car or medical insurance, which you likely pay regular monthly or annual premiums for, wedding insurance is a one-time premium for a one-day event.
While you can, in many cases, purchase wedding insurance as close as one day before your wedding, we recommend getting it at least 3 months in advance (before you send out your invitations) in case something happens to your venue or you or a close family member become ill or injured leading up to the wedding day. It's highly unlikely that you will win a claim if you purchased the insurance after you've already made the decision to cancel.
If I'm a Woodland Events client, don't I already have wedding insurance?
While it's true that our planning and wedding day management clients are covered under our commercial liability insurance policy, it is only with respect to bodily injury, property damage, and personal advertising injury partially caused by the actions or inactions of Woodland Events staff. Meaning you will be covered if we spill a bottle of red wine causing a permanent stain on your venue's carpet, but you will not be covered if one of your guests does.
Where can I purchase Wedding Insurance?
I usually tell my clients to start by talking to their insurance agent. Most insurance companies will let you add on wedding insurance (or at least partial coverage) to your existing car, home owner's, or renter's insurance for only a small additional fee. You'll want to pay attention to what's included in the add on policy, as several coverages will likely not be included. However, you could also find that things like reimbursements for lost or stolen wedding gifts are already included in your policy for no additional cost.
Remember that while your insurance agent is probably friendly and has your best interests at heart, just like any service provider (yes, Woodland Events included 🙋🏻♂️), they're in business to make money, so if they see a chance to upsell, they'll probably take it. All that to say be sure you shop around and do your research before jumping at the first offer they make.
In addition to your own insurance provider, there are dozens of online companies that specialize in wedding insurance coverage. These plans are often highly customizable and can include anything from basic wedding day liability insurance to full coverage for your rehearsal, gifts, clothing, and even your honeymoon!
My two favorite specialty insurance companies are Wedsafe and Wedsure:
WedSafe - WedSafe offers easy to understand, no bull wedding insurance packages, and you can purchase liability coverage as close as the night before the wedding. Coverage limits go up to $5m.
Wedsure - What I love about Wedsure is also what I dislike about Wedsure: their a la carte coverage options. Rather than offer a potentially expensive all-inclusive cancellation insurance package, you can pick and choose what kinds of coverage you want. They're wonderful If you know you'd specifically like to cover your rings, but not your gifts or you would like to cover your lost photographs, but not your vendor deposits. However, if you aren't sure exactly what you want covered, it can get pretty expensive to keep adding more a la carte coverages. And while I don't like to talk about couples breaking up in my blog, they're the only wedding insurance provider that offers change of heart coverage, so if the two of you don't quite make it to the wedding day, all money that was spent by the couples' families (but not by the couple directly) will be refunded.
Other specialty insurance companies include:
Consumers Advocate recently analyzed several wedding insurance providers based on their policy options, customer service, and cost. They ranked WedSafe and Markel best overall, stating that WedSafe is best for last-minute coverage and larger, more expensive weddings, while Markel is the best for variety and overall value for the price.
It is worth noting that Consumers Advocate partners with Markel and earns passive affiliate income when you purchase Markel insurance from their site. Markel is not exclusively a wedding insurance provider, but does actually offer some excellent wedding insurance plans.
Do I really Need Wedding Insurance?
While I cannot tell you whether or not you should purchase insurance, I will say that while it may set you back about $200-$300, it will cover you for tens of thousands, so it is absolutely worth considering.
I would just advise that you read the fine print in any given policy before you pay for it. There are often many exclusions and limitations, so many claims are often dismissed on a technicality. Know what limitations exist in your plan so you can ensure you get the best bang for your buck.
A note about Wedding Insurance and COVID-19
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, very few insurance companies are offering wedding cancellation policies right now. I will update this blog post as soon as that changes. You can still purchase liability insurance, though.
Have questions about wedding insurance that we didn't answer here? I'm happy to speak with you or point you in the right direction! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!