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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Reasons to Buy Wedding Insurance

Words by Autumn Cafiero Giusti
Photos courtesy of Dana Cubbage Weddings

The average couple spends as much on their wedding as they would on a new car. And much like cars, weddings come with all sorts of risks – intoxicated guests who get into accidents, major weather events that force cancellations, reception halls that go out of business weeks before the event, wildfires that destroy venues, and the list goes on.

Should any of these scenarios play out, a couple could find themselves having to foot a five-figure bill – and possibly have no wedding to show for it. 

That’s where wedding insurance comes in. This type of special event insurance is designed to safeguard a couple’s investment in case they’re forced to cancel or postpone their nuptials because of unforeseen events. It also offers liability protection from injury or property damage. So if a guest experiences a food allergy after eating a slice of wedding cake, or a member of the wedding party slips and falls after having one too many mimosas, the couple would be covered in case someone files a lawsuit.

Wedding insurance has become a more popular purchase in recent years for several reasons:

1. Weddings are expensive.
In 2018, the average wedding cost $24,723, according to The Wedding Report Inc., with couples often laying down nonrefundable deposits with venues, caterers, florists, photographers and other vendors.

2. It’s required.
Wedding insurance may have been considered a luxury at one time. But for many couples today, it’s a necessity. More venues are requiring that couples show proof of insurance before they sign a contract, which may hold the bride and groom liable for bodily injury or property damage. “The industry is making it the norm,” says Kris Jana Turner, owner and CEO of Atlanta wedding and event planning company Kris Lavender. Turner requires all of her clients, vendors and venues to carry wedding insurance.

3. Liability
This is the leading reason couples buy insurance, and it protects couples and their venues in the event of injuries or property damage. Liability coverage is especially important now that couples are opting for more elaborate weddings. “I just had a wedding where they had llamas. And there are weddings where the grand sendoff is done with sparklers. These are all hazards,” Turner says.

4. Cancellations
The need to cancel or postpone ranks as the No. 1 reason why couples file an insurance claim, accounting for 40% of these claims in 2017, according to Wedsure, the wedding insurance offered by R.V. Nuccio & Associates Inc. of Toluca Lake, Calif. Cancellation and postponement insurance generally covers non-refundable deposits on everything connected to the wedding. Weather and natural disasters are among the leading causes of postponed and cancelled weddings, but other reasons include serious illness or injury, a bankrupt reception hall, or a caterer bailing at last minute. Insurance won’t cover a cancellation that’s within the control of the couple if they’re paying for the event. However, some providers do offer a separate “change of heart” provision and cover expenses as long as the person footing the bill had no prior knowledge that the bride or groom was getting cold feet.

5. Other Expenses
Couples spend thousands of dollars on purchases such as wedding rings, dresses, tuxedos, photography, food and honeymoons. So policies can include provisions to cover mishaps such as a lost wedding ring, a misplaced bridal gown or a photographer’s camera — containing the couple’s wedding photos — getting stolen.

Coverage considerations 
When it comes to determining how much insurance to buy, couples should consider what their venue’s contract requires them to cover, and how much money they can stand to lose. And the closer a couple gets to the wedding date, the more non-refundable deposits there are, says Robert Nuccio, founder of R.V. Nuccio & Associates Inc. and Wedsure. “Once you get past a certain point, nobody is going to give you your money back. And the industry generally doesn’t take credit cards,” Nuccio says. Providers such as Wedsure will allow couples to purchase wedding insurance up to 24 hours before an event.

What it costs
The average cost of a wedding liability policy is about $125 for $1 million to $2 million in coverage. Adding cancellation insurance and a few other types of coverage brings the average cost to about $400 to $500, Nuccio says. “It’s not a huge expense, considering what people spend on weddings,” Nuccio says. Although couples may prefer to spend that money on a fun purchase like a pair of shoes or cake topper, Nuccio says it’s wise to resist the temptation. “You’d insure your car for $30,000, so why wouldn’t you insure your wedding?” he says.

Autumn Cafiero Giusti is a New Orleans-based writer and business journalist who specializes in insurance and personal finance. She is a frequent contributor to insuranceQuotes.com

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