By GalTime's Consumer Watchdog Mary Schwager
When most people get married, they expect nothing but perfection. After months of tireless planning-they may think: What could go wrong?" It turns out-plenty!
Here are some of the cries for help I've seen fill my inbox over the years from couples planning a wedding. "Help! The inn where we were going to have our reception closed suddenly and we can't get our deposit back!" Or, "That wedding videographer took our money, never showed up and left us high and dry!"
These couples all have something in common. They were ready to say "I do" at the altar, but may have said, "I don't" to wedding insurance.
With the average cost of a wedding reaching about $27,000 in the United States you may want to consider getting wedding insurance. It's an insurance policy to help cover the unexpected. Everything from problems with the reception site, to bad weather, sudden cancellations, stolen gifts and even a damaged gown!
"Wedding insurance is a great way to protect yourself from the unforeseen, especially when weddings can be so costly," said Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the Eastern, Massachusetts area Better Business Bureau. "Wedding insurance can cover a range of prospective problems such as vendor no-shows, cancellations, inclement weather, military deployment, medical emergencies, travel delays and more, so that you won't lose money if plans have to change."
Related: 4 Ways to Deal with Wedding Stress
How often do these disasters strike? According to Traveler's Insurance wedding data:
• 31% of claims were due to problems associated with vendors and venues.
• 19% of claims were due to sickness, injury and mishaps
• 17% of claims were due to problems like military deployment and unavoidable cancellations
• 13% of claims were due to vandalism and theft
• 10% of claims were due to catastrophic weather-related problems
Chantal Cyr, Vice President for Wedding Insurance at Travelers says she's seeing strong interest in these policies. "Reports may show that people are cutting back on other expenses, but when it comes to weddings or special events we're seeing people taking the steps to protect the investments they have made in these big life milestone events."
How Much Does Wedding Insurance Cost?
The BBB says a basic insurance policy that covers loss of photos, videos, attire, presents, rings, and deposits usually costs between $155 and $550, depending on the amount of coverage you want. General liability insurance, which covers up to $1,000,000 for accidents, costs around $185.
Related: Budget Friendly Wedding Tips
Travelers says it offers a policy for $160, called the "no-deductible Wedding Protector Plan", which can reimburse you if an important item related to your wedding (for example, bridesmaid's jewelry) is lost or damaged before you get married. The plan can reimburse you in case you lose your deposit if a vendor (for example, your florist) goes out of business before your wedding. You also can receive funds if events beyond your control cause you to postpone your wedding.
You can also get liability coverage for your wedding. Travelers, for example, says it offers an endorsement to its Wedding Protector PlanSM in case someone at your wedding is injured or causes damage to the property of others. Of course, certain terms and conditions apply to these policies so read the fine print before you "wed" yourself to one.
Do You Really Need Wedding Insurance?
The BBB suggests before you buy wedding insurance, check with each of your vendors to see how well they're covered. Your reception site or your caterer may already have their own insurance, so you wouldn't want to pay for overlapping coverage. Make sure to get everything in writing and ask your vendors for a copy of their policy to see where you aren't fully covered.
When Should You Get Wedding Insurance?
The sooner the better. Let's say you put a deposit on your wedding reception hall 12 months prior to your wedding date and then it burns to the ground a few weeks before the big day. With wedding insurance, you'll be sure to get your deposit back. Make sure you know how far in advance you can purchase the insurance, some insurance companies have limitations.
Always always check out the vendors before you hire them!
In addition to considering insurance, try some common sense precautions. Before you sign a contract or give a deposit to a company just try searching its name on the Internet with the word "complaints" to see what comes up. And plug the vendor's name into the BBB database to see if any red flags pop up.
Pay with a credit card when you can, that way you can dispute the charge if things don't make it to happily ever after.
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