Your florist isn't going to show up on your wedding day. At
least, that's one of the more likely problems you might face.
The Travelers Cos. recently analyzed claims from its wedding
insurance policies and identified the top trouble spots. The No. 1
offender was problems with vendors and venues.
More than 30 percent of wedding insurance claims were filed
because of calamities such as wedding venues going out of business,
DJs and photographers who failed to show up, or flowers that never
arrived, says Chantal Cyr, vice president of Travelers Wedding
Insurance. The second-largest claims category (19 percent) was
sickness, injury and mishaps involving members of the bridal party.
Another 10 percent of the claims were related to weather
catastrophes, including blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes.
Claims also were filed because of things such as stolen or
damaged gifts, grooms and brides who were called to active military
duty, and wedding attire that was lost or did not fit properly.
Economy causing disasters
Chamein Canton, a wedding planner in Long Island, N.Y., for more
than 15 years, has heard of plenty of venue and vendor issues. In
this economy, she says, it's not uncommon for reception halls or
vendors to go out of business before your wedding day, despite
their having signed contracts and accepted deposits.
"I've also seen where the facility will tell you they can
accommodate your number of guests because they don't want to lose
your business," she says. "They say they can handle 250 people and
you find yourself in a broom closet. Your wedding goes from this
experience you always dreamed about to a nightmare where everyone
is on top of everyone else."
Destination weddings are probably the most vulnerable to
disasters, Canton says. Plan a wedding in the Caribbean during
hurricane season and you never know what might befall you and your
Wedding insurance a worthy investment
What can you do to prevent rain on your wedding parade? Cyr
believes wedding insurance is worth the small investment. Expect to
pay between $150 and $500, depending on how much coverage you
That's a fraction of the average of $25,631 couples spent on
their ceremonies and receptions in 2011, according to The Wedding
Report, a research firm that tracks the industry.
policies vary, but typically cover items such as:
- Lost deposits
- Perishable materials
- Unavoidable cancellation due to weather or military
- Lost or damaged photographs
- Damaged gifts
- Host liability
Wedding insurance can reimburse you if an important item related
to your wedding, such as a ring, is lost or damaged, Cyr says.
Wedding insurance is a must if you're having your wedding at your
home, says Gina Sole, a wedding planner in Philadelphia.
"A slip and fall from a guest of a guest that you may not even
know unfortunately could turn into a lawsuit," Sole says. "Brides
today know to protect themselves, especially if they're having a
wedding on their own private property."
Destination weddings demand insurance
Canton recommends wedding insurance for destination weddings. If
you've booked the wedding online, you may be in for some surprises
when you get there.
Cyr says that "if you have to postpone your wedding because a
commercial transportation shutdown prevents the honorees, parents,
grandparents or children from getting there, you can receive
reimbursement for nonrecoverable expenses," Cyr says.
In addition to the United States, you can purchase coverage for
locations in Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico,
Bermuda, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Caribbean islands and
cruise ships leaving from a port within these territories.
Travelers doesn't charge extra for these locations, Cyr says.
You can buy insurance for other destinations, including Europe
and South America, but you may pay extra.
Terms and conditions
Like any insurance, wedding policies are subject to policy
exclusions, terms and conditions. Most require you to buy wedding
insurance at least 14 days before your special day.
Wedding insurance won't guarantee that the flowers or the
photographer show up, Sole says. But it may help you feel better
about the disaster later.