During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those plans have been thwarted—and some at great expense. There are couples, however, who managed to navigate cancellations and rescheduled dates unscathed, including clients of JoAnn Moore, a Vail, Colorado-based wedding planner.
With the financial stakes so high, purchasing wedding insurance can protect you and your partner from potential losses when it comes to your big day—even for celebrations planned for the future where (hopefully) no masks will be required. “We need to get smart about wedding investments,” Moore says. “Don’t assume having to reschedule or cancel one’s wedding only happens to other people.”
Why should you purchase wedding insurance?
Wedding insurance is soaring in popularity as most weddings booked for this season have been impacted by the coronavirus. “Wedding insurance has always been a priority with my company, and even more so during the pandemic,” Moore explains. She says COVID-19 is “one of those events that can be described as an ‘act of God’ and should be covered.”
When sitting down with new clients, Moore has a conversation regarding budget. “Costs of a wedding can easily equal the cost of a new car or even a house. Most people insure their cars and homes, and wedding insurance should be considered to protect against the unforeseen,” Moore says. “The costs for wedding insurance vary depending on the expected costs for the event and what the policy will specifically cover.”
“Costs of a wedding can easily equal the cost of a new car or even a house. Most people insure their cars and homes,” Moore says.
What does wedding insurance cover?
This specific insurance policy for a couple’s celebration protects against unforeseen events and financial loss. There are two types of coverage you should know about: liability and cancellation.
Although many venues provide event liability, wedding insurance’s liability coverage offers an added layer of protection, covering potential issues such as snafus with vendors, stolen items or gifts, damage to your venue, liquor liability, and guest injuries. Cancellation insurance covers costs if you need to postpone or cancel your wedding.
“Couples can purchase this insurance from various companies that offer short-term insurance specifically for weddings,” Moore explains. These policies may help recoup costs when a vendor fails to perform, damage occurs to a venue, or cancellation due to things out of our control, such as illness, a death in the family, or other unexpected situations that arise.
Moore recently worked with a bride who purchased her dream dress—and then the boutique suddenly went out of business. This is a scene you may have seen played out more than once on reality TV or in the news.
Thankfully, a little preparation can go a long way. “Wedding insurance can cover payments made toward the gown and any loss from not having a wedding gown. The policy would also provide funds for the bride to purchase a new gown,” Moore says.
In the midst of planning, couples sign contract after contract with entertainment, caterers, venues, photographers, rental companies, florists, and planners. All these professionals require a non-refundable payment to secure the event date.
“If something happens and the wedding is cancelled or postponed, the couple could lose all those deposits and payments,” Moore says. “If the incident causing the cancellation is covered in their purchased insurance policy, they will be able to recoup the payments made.”
Moore once worked with a bride whose father was fighting cancer and suddenly took a turn for the worse just a few weeks before the wedding. When he died a few days before the couple was headed down the aisle, the wedding was cancelled and eventually rescheduled.
“Although most vendors were very understanding and had a clause in their contracts to reschedule for such incidents, some vendors that do not provide a reschedule policy could hold payments. In [this] case, my client’s payments were repaid by the wedding insurance company,” she says.
Keep in mind: There are a few things that no policy will save you from. Cold feet and a change of heart are not covered by wedding insurance. If one or both call off the wedding, a couple will typically lose the payments made and, depending on when the event was called off, could be responsible for additional payments, says Moore.
When should you start looking for wedding insurance?
In her experience, Moore says most couples and parents paying for an expensive event do not realize that wedding insurance exists. “In my opinion, wedding insurance should be purchased as soon as the couple starts planning their wedding and has established a budget, and especially before going under contract with venues and vendors,” she says. “I don’t recommend any one company to my clients and encourage them to do their homework and interview a few.”
“Wedding insurance should be purchased as soon as the couple starts planning their wedding and has established a budget,” Moore says.
Be prudent and shop around for a comprehensive policy. Moore says some providers still include pandemic coverage in new policies even now as we are experiencing the pandemic in real time. “As with any product, it is important to shop around and ask questions about what is covered and what is not covered,” she continues.
Check your renters or homeowner’s insurance to see if your current policy covers special events, or if you can tack it on. If not, Moore names companies such as Markel Insurance, Farmers, Travelers, Wedsafe, Wedsure, Wedding Protection Plan, Event Helper, and eWed Insurance.
Policy costs vary depending on location, the number of guests, the time of year, and the expected costs, Moore says. The Knot estimates that $1 million liability coverage will run you just under $200, while a basic policy can range between $155 and $550.
You may have to do a little maneuvering with your budget. But the peace of mind your day can go off without a hitch—well, as they say, that’s priceless.