This is the ultimate guide to wedding insurance – a decidedly non-glamourous (but absolutely essential!) part of your wedding day. We’ve covered how to find it and when to buy it, what types of things will be covered, and how the three major event insurance companies stack up in terms of price and coverage.
Weddings are significant financial investments, and as such, are worth protecting. Many people don’t realize wedding insurance exists, or think it’s going to be a huge expense: It does, but it won’t be.
Disclaimer: None of this information should be treated as financial or legal advice.
Why you need wedding insurance
With something as complex as a wedding, there are a ton of things that could go wrong. You, your fiancé, or someone in your immediate family could become seriously ill days before the wedding. Your photographer’s equipment could be stolen on their way home from your wedding. A random April snowstorm could leave half of your guests stranded in another city, unable to attend. The dress shop – with your dress waiting there – could be destroyed in a fire.
All this to say, things happen! And if they do, and if you’ve already bought wedding insurance, the money you’ve spent (or will need to spend to fix things) won’t be a concern.
How do you get wedding insurance?
If you have renters’ or homeowners’ insurance, it’s possible that your insurance company may offer policies you can add-on, just as you would a policy for an engagement ring. Mine did not, so I looked into the major event insurance providers:
- Wedsure (backed by Fireman’s Fund / RV Nuccio & Associates)
- Wedsafe (backed by K&K Insurance)
- Wedding Protector Plan (backed by Travelers; not available if you’re a resident of Alaska, Hawaii, or Louisiana)
All three of these companies make it easy to get a quote online (you may have to create an account, but you will get prices right after you do so), and all three allow you to see sample insurance policies if you’d like to take a look at the language.
To get a quote, you’ll have to fill out the type of event (in this case, a wedding), the event date, your state of residence, the state in which your wedding is taking place. You may also be asked to estimate the guest count and whether alcohol will be served at the event (and if so, whether it’ll be purchased by guests). You’ll need to buy a policy for the state in which you live, even if your wedding is taking place in another state.
There are two main kinds of wedding insurance: liability insurance and cancellation / event insurance. Our focus today is the latter, but a few words on the former: Your venue may require you to procure liability insurance, so be sure to read your contract carefully! Don’t let this requirement scare you off – beaches, public parks, and other such venues may ask you to provide $1 million worth of coverage, which sounds pretty intimidating, but can easily be purchased for $200 or less. If you’re purchasing both liability and cancellation insurance, the provider may offer you a small discount on both policies.
What does wedding insurance cover?
Cancellation insurance does, as the name suggests, cover expenses incurred when weddings need to be cancelled or postponed. This is generally what people mean when they talk about “wedding insurance.” Below, we walk through the main sections of wedding insurance policies; policies will vary, of course, so be sure to read all of the details carefully before buying, and when in doubt, ask the provider for clarification.
Money that you’ve spent can be recovered if you need to cancel or postpone your wedding due to extreme circumstances, such as the serious illness or death of a bride or groom or an immediate family member (e.g. parents, grandparents, siblings, and children); the coverage may extend to other people involved in the wedding, such as bridesmaids or groomsmen.
Moving your date due to an unexpected military deployment falls under cancellation / postponement coverage, as does severe weather, if any of the above people – or at least half of your guests – are unable to attend, or if your venue becomes unusable due to a snowstorm, hurricane, or other weather state of emergency.
In addition to the basic coverage, there are seven other categories you may see automatically included with your cancellation insurance (with WedSafe and WedSure), or may have the option to add (with the Wedding Protector Plan):
1. Additional expenses: helps you avoid cancelling or rescheduling – if your venue closes, for example, you could be reimbursed for the additional expenses of finding a new, comparable venue. It’s in the interest of insurance companies to have you not cancel or postpone your wedding, which would cost them significantly more money.
This is automatically included in policies from all three companies, including Wedding Protector. For WedSafe and WedSure, the maximum is 25% of the cancellation amount (e.g. $6,250 for $25,000 in cancellation), compared to 20% of the cancellation amount for the Wedding Protector Plan.
2. Photography & videography: for lost or damaged photos or videos (e.g. the memory card is stolen, or the film camera your photographer used wasn’t loaded), provided the loss/damage happened before you received them, for vendors’ failure to show up.
3. Gifts: for lost or damaged wedding gifts, which may have been at your home, at the event, or in transit to/from either location
4. Special attire: for lost or damaged clothing, shoes, and accessories (excluding jewelry and watches) for the couple and their bridal party – rented or purchased – provided the items were procured specifically for the wedding.
5. Special jewelry: for lost or damaged jewelry (including watches and wedding rings) purchased or rented specifically for your wedding; engagement rings are unlikely to be covered as part of this policy.
6. Lost deposits: if one of your vendors goes out of business and you can’t recover your deposit(s), you can be reimbursed through this part of the policy.
7. Counseling: if your wedding is cancelled or postponed, and your doctor recommends that you seek professional counseling to deal with the stress, the cost of that treatment can be covered.
Additionally, WedSure offers “Change of Heart” coverage, but this can only be purchased by someone other than the bride and groom, if that person is paying for the wedding. If either member of the couple decides to cancel the wedding due to a “change of heart,” and if the wedding is more than a year away, the “innocent party” can be compensated for money they’ve spent.
A few other notes about coverage:
- If you and your fiancé aren’t the ones signing the contracts, even if you purchase the policy, you might not be covered – check with the insurance company before buying.
- Events on the days before and after your wedding, such as your rehearsal dinner, may also be covered by wedding insurance, subject to the same categories.
- If you have to cancel or delay your honeymoon as a result of the cancellation or postponement of your wedding, those expenses are typically covered. Canceling or rescheduling your honeymoon for any other reason won’t be covered, though you could buy travel insurance to cover those expenses.
When should you buy wedding insurance?
Before you start booking vendors, you should have your budget in place (see the first two parts of our budget advice here and here!), which means you’ll have a rough idea of how much coverage you’d actually need. Plan for the worst-case scenario – you’ve already paid for everything, you have to cancel the wedding, and there’s absolutely no way to recover any of the money you’ve spent – and look for plans that will cover that amount of money.
Insurance companies will let you purchase a policy after you’ve already put down deposits or purchased things for your wedding, provided that you’re not trying to scam them – that is, if it’s three days before your wedding and the forecast is now calling for a foot of snow, it’s probably too late to buy insurance.
All three companies allow you to buy a policy up to two years before your wedding. As such, I’d suggest buying a policy as soon as you put down your first deposits. To purchase a policy, you may need to specify the name and location of your venue(s); S and I needed to list ours.
Even if your wedding date is quickly approaching, it’s probably not too late for you to buy insurance. WedSafe has the earliest window – 15 days before your wedding – while Wedding Protector lets you book as late as 24 hours before your wedding (depending on your state of residence), and WedSure sets their cutoff at 12 hours before the “first covered event.”
How much does wedding insurance cost?
You’ll need to take two figures into account – premiums (the amount you pay up front to get the policy) and deductibles (the amount you’ll have to pay before insurance kicks in).
Premiums & coverage amounts:
- Both WedSafe and the Wedding Protector Plan offer 10 tiered plans, ranging from $7,500 for cancellation / postponement up to $175,000. All of the category amounts are pre-set for each tier (e.g. you get $1,500 attire coverage for $15,000 of cancellation coverage).
- By contrast, WedSure lets you choose which additional coverage categories you’d like to add to the base cancellation / postponement, and how much coverage you’d like to add for each. If your spending in one of these categories far exceeds what the tiered plans would cover, or if you know you only want to add a limited set of the categories, it’s worth exploring various coverage levels on the WedSure site.
- Wedding Protector Plan: no deductibles
- WedSafe: $25 deductible per category (e.g. if you claim both jewelry and attire losses, you’ll need to pay the first $25 for each)
- WedSure: you set the deductible amount for the overall cancellation / postponement coverage, and that amount is automatically the deductible for all other categories you add, as well. The minimum deductible is $25, and the maximum, $10,000.
The table below breaks down how much coverage you’d receive from each company, by category, for $35,000 in cancellation coverage. I input Pennsylvania as the state of residence and of the wedding, and used December 10, 2016 as the event date.
|Photos / video||$2500||$2500||$3000|
WedSafe is slightly less expensive than the Wedding Protector Plan at all ten tiers of coverage. The coverage amounts per category do, as in the table above, differ slightly: WedSafe offers more for additional expenses, but the Wedding Protector Plan offers more for photos / video and special attire. The Wedding Protector Plan doesn’t cover any counseling expenses you might incur as a result of cancellation.
For comparison, I generated prices from WedSure to match both the offering from WedSafe and from the Wedding Protector Plan. The former can be matched exactly, down to the deductible, and those amounts are in the above table. For the same coverage, WedSafe would cost $275 and WedSure $407.74.
Getting as close as possible to the Wedding Protector Plan’s coverage (i.e. dropping the counseling option from WedSure and choosing the $25/category deductible), the WedSure plan would come in at $408.35, vs. $300 for the Wedding Protector Plan.
Comparing policies: cancellation coverage of $15,000 and $100,000
The next table shows that, dropping from $35,000 (Tier 4) to $15,000 (Tier 2) in cancellation coverage would cut your premium somewhere between 30-40%. The per-category coverage drops by a comparable amount, although the overall cancellation coverage is cut by more than 50%.
|Photos / video||$1500||$1500||$2000|
As you increase your overall coverage, the premium becomes a smaller percentage of the total cancellation amount (e.g., for WedSafe, $275 is about 0.8% of the $35,000 cancellation maximum, but the $555 premium is closer to 0.6% of the $100,000 maximum). The below table shows the coverage amounts for $100,000 in cancellation coverage.
|Photos / video||$5500||$5500||$6000|
We’re not suggesting that you buy way more coverage than you need, just because it’s proportionately less expensive! That said, if you’re not sure that a particular coverage tier will be sufficient, you might consider purchasing the next tier, which is likely less expensive than you’d expect.
Choosing your deductible from WedSafe
You can choose one of six deductibles for a WedSafe policy – $25, $250, $500, $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 – and whichever you choose will be your deductible for each additional category. For the $35,000 coverage policy in the first table, here’s how the prices would change as your deductible increases:
Sure, you’ll save a bit of money upfront by going with a higher deductible, but at this level of coverage, the most you could possibly save would be $88.67 – for going from $25 to $10,000! Even going from $25 to $250, a single claim would now cost you an additional $225 out of pocket, though you would only have saved $6.47 on the premium.
So, what did S and I decide?
We quickly ruled out WedSure, as our anticipated spending by category was consistent enough with the tiered offerings from WedSafe and the Wedding Protector Plan, such that the higher premium from WedSure didn’t make sense for us.
There wasn’t an obvious winner for us between WedSafe and the Wedding Protector Plan, but we ultimately chose WedSafe, as we preferred the 25% additional expense coverage (vs. 20% from the Wedding Protector Plan).
Still have questions about wedding insurance, or stories of your own experience you’d like to share? Connect with us on social media or leave a comment below!