Using Wedding Insurance: How Does It Work? Is It Worth It?

If you're in the throes of wedding planning, you may be wondering what wedding insurance is and why you should get it. Well, unless you're into extreme sports or business startups, orchestrating a wedding is likely the riskiest venture you'll undertake. Here you are, inviting hundreds of guests from all over to a grand party you booked six months ago with vendors you just met for the first time.

What could go wrong? Your church could burn down from faulty wiring. Your venue could burn down from faulty groomsmen. Your hairdresser could be arrested. A winter storm could shut down the whole city. In fact, any wedding that does go off without a showstopping fiasco is a miniature miracle.

For all the acts of god working against you, wedding insurance might be able to protect you. Also known as special event insurance, this type of policy is designed to protect you from two of the biggest financial risks involved in wedding planning: cancellation/postponement and liability. However, before you rush out to buy yourself a little peace of mind, make sure you brush up on what wedding insurance does and doesn't cover.

What Does Wedding Insurance Cover?

Like all insurance policies, you can usually tailor it based on what you want covered and how much you want to pay. Postponement and cancellation coverage are the biggies. For example, you could file a claim for a lost deposit if your caterer goes bankrupt. It may also help with the premium you'll pay on hiring a replacement at the last minute. The Buffalo News reported that a 2014 analysis by Travelers Insurance showed the following breakdown of wedding insurance claims:

  • Vendors dropping the ball accounted for about 44 percent of claims.
  • The bride or groom getting sick or injured and postponing the big day accounted for about 8 percent of claims. Cold feet, however, was not counted as a qualifying sickness.
  • Property damage to a venue accounted for about 28 percent of claims. This would fall under the liability umbrella, which also covers stolen or damaged gifts, clothing, jewelry, and more.

Is It Worth It?

If you get a reasonably priced policy (usually a few hundred dollars, depending on what's covered), you don't have to use it, and you enjoy the modicum of control it gives you, it's certainly worth it. However, there are some cases where it may not be worth it.

When it comes to liability insurance, the venue and your vendors should have their own. If they make you sign a waiver, you might want to consider getting your own coverage. Even then, your home insurance or renter's insurance might cover you already. Find out what protection you already have and see whether you can get a temporary boost to that before you consider buying a separate policy. The same goes for property liability.

The worst-case scenario is when the unimaginable happens and you find out you aren't covered due to some loophole or tricky language in your policy. How do you prove extenuating circumstances were both significant and beyond your control? If the weather is so bad the authorities declare a state of emergency, that's a slam dunk. However, if you call it off on account of rain, the insurance company might just say, "Haven't you heard of umbrellas?"

Shopping for Wedding Coverage

If you're considering getting coverage, do some comparison shopping. Read through the fine print. Make sure the insurer is reputable and licensed in your state and isn't some fly-by-night company cashing in on an awareness trend.

Whatever you do, make sure you fully understand what you're getting and what you're not getting with your specific policy. Carefully weigh that against putting together your own backup plan or contingencies that go beyond the financial impact.

It never hurts to be prepared for the unexpected, especially when it comes to something as big as your wedding. Good luck!