Picture this: you and the love of your life are strolling down the beach as the sun floats just above the horizon. The warm glow bathes the two of you in the last light of the day and suddenly your partner turns around, drops to their knee, and asks you to spend the rest of your life with him (or her). You burst into tears of joy and respond with an emotional “of course!”
Next, you call your family and friends and immediately start planning the perfect wedding day. The first question you generally answer is when that day will take place. For the most part, engaged couples wait between 12 and 18 months before tying the knot after the proposal. Sure, you’re ready for the next step ASAP, but it takes time to pick the venue, the dress, and the color scheme.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, planning a wedding could be difficult. Not only do you need to find a venue that has availability on or around your preferred date, but you also need to decide on a photographer, a caterer, a florist, and the guest list. Then you have to send out your save the dates and your formal invitations. The list goes on and on and on and… well, you get the idea.
It’s a lot to think about, and of course wedding planning can be fun too! What’s not to love about cake tastings, right? But, there are a lot of moving parts to think about when planning a wedding and any number of unforeseeable events can throw a wrench into the entire day. This is especially true while wedding planning continues to take place during the pandemic. There is good news though, because wedding insurance, yes, that’s right, wedding insurance, can provide some piece of mind.
Types of Wedding Insurance
The types of wedding insurance you can buy falls under two categories. The first is liability insurance and the second is cancellation insurance. Just as you probably guessed, liability insurance for weddings covers injury or property damage. You may be thinking, “wedding injuries? That’s ridiculous!” If you are, then you have probably not spent enough time on YouTube.
Anytime you mix crowds of people with an open bar, you’re taking a risk (albeit a fun one). In fact, some venues will even require you to have liability coverage if you intend to provide alcohol at your wedding reception. Liability coverage is a smart idea even if you don’t plan to serve spirits, and it is a great way to protect yourself and your loved ones on your special day.
The second type of wedding insurance covers cancellations. Cancellation insurance covers a multitude of scenarios that could otherwise leave the engaged couple out a whole lot of cash. The average cost of a wedding in 2020 was $23,000. In 2019, before the pandemic it was even higher at $28,000. Cancellation insurance covers the costs associated with the cancellation of the wedding or the cost of vendors cancelling on you.
What Does Wedding Cancellation Insurance Cover?
No one wants to cancel their wedding, but sometimes you are forced to delay the big day. Covid-19 provides an excellent example of this. Many of those who planned to marry in 2020 know first-hand how the unforeseeable can wreak havoc on your wedding plans. A lot of couples cancelled their weddings voluntarily, but many others cancelled because gatherings of people weren’t allowed at all.
Fortunately, we now know how to protect ourselves from Covid-19 more effectively. Testing, masking, and social distancing have been front and center at many recent weddings. Those extra precautions, plus the vaccine, mean that the virus doesn’t have to entirely derail our wedding plans going forward. That said, life remains unpredictable and wedding insurance can still be a smart investment.
It’s not hard to imagine other happenings that could cause a wedding to be postponed. If you’re planning for a winter wonderland wedding, for example, you could end up with a blizzard instead. Some might power through, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Although the only ingredient truly necessary for a blissful wedding is your fiancé, it’s certainly nice if your guests can join in on the fun too.
And what happens if that country-chic barn where you were planning on hosting your reception burns down a week before your big day? That’s definitely not the barn burner you were planning for, but if you have cancellation insurance for your wedding, then you’ll at least get your money back.
And last but not least, cancellation insurance also covers vendors who cancel on you. In fact, the most common cancellation insurance claims are related to no-show vendors. Sometimes vendors go bankrupt before the big day, or they are otherwise unable to fulfill their obligations. If you have cancellation insurance, you’ll be able to recoup your cost and find another vendor.
Don’t Forget the Supplemental Insurance!
Most of the time, your wedding day won’t be threatened by some unforeseeable catastrophe, so take a deep breath. Whew! It’s still a good idea to have cancellation insurance, but blizzards and fires aside, you may want to consider some supplemental policies that can help you manage inconveniences. These are the kinds of headaches that won’t thwart your entire wedding but will still cause frustration.
Some policy add-ons will cover things like stolen wedding gifts or garment replacement. Insurance policies covering garments might sound a little over the top, but when you’re talking about the repair or replacement of a wedding dress, it makes sense.
You should also ask your insurance agent if your wedding insurance covers honeymoon travel. Some wedding insurance providers offer additional travel insurance, which could come in handy if you’re honeymooning in the Caribbean during hurricane season.
No, Wedding Insurance Won’t Cover THAT
Wedding insurance may sound like a no brainer to you by now but it’s important to know that there are some limitations. There are always limitations with insurance policies and just like you can’t call your car insurance company because you don’t like the make and model of your car, you can’t call your wedding insurance provider if you decide you’d rather have different vendors based on creative differences.
Wedding insurance also doesn’t cover the loss or theft of your engagement ring, which may seem surprising. Ultimately, this may be for the best because engagement rings can be worth thousands of dollars and hold even more sentimental value. It’s best your wedding ring have an insurance policy all to itself.
Wedding insurance also won’t cover cancellations that result from an engaged couple deciding they no longer want to get married. Unfortunately, loss of love is not considered an insurable loss. Although maybe it should be.
You should also talk to your wedding insurance provider and confirm that your plans do not violate the policy and void your coverage. For example, wedding insurance may not cover injuries resulting from fireworks or other inherently dangerous activities. Even if they are super fun.
Do You Need Wedding Insurance?
So, do you need wedding insurance? Well, ultimately, it’s a decision that you and your partner should make together. Wedding insurance is another expense to add to the wedding budget, but it is oftentimes a justifiable expense. Large weddings with even larger budgets will result in a significant loss if the big day has to be postponed through no fault of your own. Even if you plan to elope, and have a relatively small wedding, you might wish to have insurance of some sort, even if it is travel insurance.
Wedding insurance ranges in cost, but starts around $60 for liability policies. Remember, cancelation policies and liability policies are two separate types of coverage and so if you want both, you will need to purchase both. Oftentimes, the venue and vendors will have their own insurance policies, so be sure to do your research. You don’t both need insurance covering the same thing, and if they are already paying for it, you may not need to.
Planning for Life After the Wedding
There are many ways to ensure that your future is covered, and insurance is just one of those ways. Kudos for doing the research and determining the options that best fit the life you and your partner are about to start together. Why stop at wedding insurance? You should also consider entering into a prenuptial agreement.
Prenups and wedding insurance have quite a bit in common. Both are designed to help you manage unpleasant scenarios that you hope don’t happen. Just because you hope they don’t happen doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for them. With a little effort and expense on the front end, your preparedness will ultimately save you a lot of time and money when you need it the most.
So, when your partner kneels down on that beautiful sandy beach and asks to spend forever with you, keep a few things in mind. In addition to calling your friends and family, and setting the date, you should also see if wedding insurance makes sense for you and your partner. Once you’ve tackled that discussion, you’re ready to bring up prenups!
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].