Should You Buy Wedding Insurance?
Every so often you hear one of those awful stories where a couple’s wedding is in jeopardy because something has gone drastically wrong. Couples rarely think about what will happen if the venue goes out of business or the dress is damaged, but it’s best to be prepared.
Weddings can be a big financial commitment; the average UK wedding now costs £22,000. It’s understandable that couples want to protect themselves financially in the run-up to the big day so it makes sense to take out wedding insurance.
What does Wedding Insurance Cover?
The idea of insurance is to cover you financially if something ruins your big day, or the wedding has to be cancelled or postponed.
Most policies cover cancellation or rearrangement of a wedding or reception due to accident, illness or bereavement involving someone from the main wedding party. They also provide compensation if a supplier goes out of business or there’s loss or damage to any of the main wedding outfits, presents, rings, cake and flowers.
You can also get coverage for having to retake photographs and video, failure of wedding cars and personal liability and legal expenses. Most insurance companies consider extreme weather conditions, such as flooding or snow, that prevent the main wedding party from travelling to the ceremony as an acceptable reason for cancelling a wedding. Wedding cancellation insurance will help cover the costs of rearranging the celebration.
Although most wedding insurance policies will cover similar things, it is essential you check the small print to find out exactly what is covered and what isn’t, as making assumptions is never a good idea.
Keep a record of what you’ve spent
How much cover you need depends on what you spend on your wedding and how worried you are about things going wrong. If the wedding budget increases, it should be reflected in your policy. Insurers recommend that you keep a record of what you’ve spent and that you have a written contract with your suppliers to make sure your policy fully covers the cost of your wedding.
All policies are different for stand-alone wedding insurance cover. The amount you can claim if things go wrong is based on the level of cover you have.
Keeping track of spending is not just useful from an insurance point of view. It can also help you to keep within your budget, so your dream wedding doesn’t land you in debt.
List your actual costs
When working out how much you should insure your wedding for, create a spreadsheet and put down actual costs or, if you don’t yet know them, realistic estimates. The big cost items such as venue, food and drink are the most important, followed by:
- The wedding dress and other outfits
- Wedding rings
- Photography and video
- Honeymoon, stag and hen dos
- The cost of the wedding gifts – for example, a couple hosting a wedding for 100 people would typically receive gifts worth nearly £5,000.
- Registrar fees
Get a handful of quotes from a number of wedding insurers to compare before choosing what’s best for you.
Most policies allow you to take out wedding cover up to two years before the day. There are a number of set packages available but some insurers will even allow you to tailor a policy to suit individual needs.
Read the Terms and Conditions
Insurers are strict about what you can claim. For example, they won’t pay out if either partner changes their mind about getting married or the couple decides they cannot afford to go ahead with their plans.
There are also strict guidelines on theft so check the small print about this first. Some insurers will not cover theft of outfits from a car unless they are in a locked boot or they insist that wedding gifts have to be in a secure area when a venue is open to the general public other than the wedding party.
As standard, good insurers cover a wide range of incidents such as damage to the wedding cake, flowers or outfit, cancelling or rearranging a wedding because a supplier has let you down, or accident, sickness or death.
Policies vary in what coverage they offer and this will be reflected in the premium. Always carefully read the terms and conditions before you choose your policy.
There are upper limits to the amount the insurer will pay out if a venue goes bust or cancels so it is advisable to check that your insurance will cover the amount you have paid for a venue.
What isn’t covered as standard
As with any insurance, wedding cover is there to protect you against the unexpected. And while wedding insurance doesn’t cover either the bride or groom getting cold feet, some policies even cover the cost of counselling that may be needed as the result of such a devastating decision.
Other situations that may not be covered as standard include:
- The honeymoon. Your dream getaway may not be covered, so you will need to take out separate cover.
- Cancellation due to only a small thing going wrong. For example, if you cancel because your wedding cake is damaged on the way to the venue. You may get your money back for the cake but if you cancel over one relatively small part of the day when the wedding could still go ahead, you could lose the rest of what you’ve spent.
- Cancelling the wedding due to a pre-existing medical condition. It’s a good idea to check the wording on your policy to see whether conditions that you know about such as heart problems or diabetes may invalidate your cover. If a key person in the wedding falls ill and you’ve failed to declare a pre-existing condition, your insurer may not pay out.
- Cancelling because you can’t afford to pay for the wedding. Unless you’ve been made redundant, generally most policies won’t provide cover for this.
- Bad weather ruining the day. Most couples assume that bad weather cover is included as standard, but it often isn’t. You’ll need to add this on as an extra or find a specialist policy if you’re concerned about it.
- Public liability for guests. If someone falls ill, becomes injured or damages property during the wedding, a basic wedding insurance policy may not be adequate. How would you afford an unexpected bill for the damage, or a personal injury claim from one of your guests? It’s not very common, but it could still happen – and planning for the unexpected is what insurance cover is designed for. You may need to add it onto your cover (if this is an option) or take out a separate public liability insurance policy alongside your wedding cover.
- Cover for marquees. This is another thing that couples assume is automatically included in basic wedding insurance policies, but it can trip you up. A basic policy may not provide cover if you put a marquee, gazebo or other temporary tent structure on your land or hired land.
- Ceremonial swords and other unusual or high-value items. When it comes to more unusual wedding plans, it’s a good idea to check with the insurance company before taking out a policy. Items like ceremonial swords (which are typically borrowed from a regiment) are very valuable so are not usually included in basic policies.
- Fireworks. Most insurers will not cover fireworks displays, even they are a popular choice for a large number of weddings. You may not need to get additional insurance cover though, as you can instead hire a professional display organiser who will have their own cover. This is a smart choice anyway, as it takes the pressure of members of the wedding party, will be much safer and will result in a better quality fireworks display.
Wedding Insurance – 10 Things to Remember
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your finance whether you choose to get wedding insurance or not. You may find it a big weight off your mind as you plan the big day, or you may prefer to avoid the extra expense and take the risk that something may go wrong.
If you’re considering it though, here’s a quick summary of the 10 main points to remember:
- You’ll need to keep a careful list of your spending during wedding planning – and keep your receipts
- Policies usually cover venue failure, supplier failure or a key person falling ill
- Wedding insurance doesn’t cover your expenses if one of you gets cold feet
- If you’re paying a lot upfront and your deposits aren’t refundable, wedding insurance could be a smart choice
- It’s essential to check the terms of cover carefully before going ahead, as basic policies may not cover everything you expect
- Buying your wedding insurance in advance (up to two years before the wedding) ensures that you’re covered as you start to confirm and pay for more elements of your big day
- Getting married abroad? You may need specialist insurance
- You’ll need to get separate travel insurance cover for the honeymoon
- Shop around and compare prices to get the very best deal on wedding insurance
- Remember: the cheapest policy may not meet your needs and cover everything you want it to, so going for the cheapest option could be a false economy.