Important Update March 2020: Owing to the Corona Virus emergency some wedding insurers are temporarily closing their policies to new applicants. For example John Lewis Wedding Insurance is currently closed. Please bookmark this page and check back after the health emergency is over if you require wedding insurance.
Wedding insurance provides peace of mind. If things go wrong the couple can make decisions to spend money to remedy the situation quickly, knowing they will be reimbursed. How useful it is to the couple depends on how much they stand to lose if the wedding has to be cancelled or a supplier fails to provide the agreed upon service.
Some of these costs may be recoverable through the couple’s consumer rights but this can take weeks or even months and often demands quite a bit of personal effort. So if the couple think they may be too upset to pursue compensation claims effectively if things go wrong then insurance could be worth it.
Parents may value peace of mind more than the optimistic couple so as Mother of the Bride why don’t you offer to pay the premium if you consider wedding insurance worthwhile? It’s not a large sum but it might help you stop worrying ‘what if’ before the big day.
Note: this article does not provide financial advice. Read the full disclaimer at the end of this article.
What does wedding insurance cover?
Most insurers have a standard package. The price of this depends on how much the wedding costs.
Usually included are:
- Cancellation by the venue. This might happen due to administrative errors such as double booking or closure due to lack of funds, health risks, flood or fire damage. The insurer will cover the additional cost of booking an alternative venue of a similar standard.
- Failure by suppliers. Whether the supplier has gone bust or fails to turn up or to provide the service as agreed, the insurer will refund you any deposit that you can’t get back and will cover any additional costs you incur if you have to book another supplier instead. The usual supplies included are wedding attire, photographs and video, catering and cake, flowers, wedding transport, stationery and music.
- Loss or theft of goods. If, for example, the wedding gifts or the groom’s suit are stolen then wedding insurance will pay out. Most insurance companies also cover the wedding rings.
- Damage to goods in transit. For example, if a gift shatters on its way into the venue you will receive compensation.
- Cancellation due to severe bad weather. If the couple or at least 50% of their guests cannot get to the wedding due to weather conditions the insurer will cover the irrecoverable costs of the wedding if it has to be cancelled.
- Cancellation due to illness or death. If the wedding has to be rearranged or cancelled because a key member of the wedding party such as the bride or groom, their close relatives, bridesmaid or best man cannot attend due to illness most insurers will cover any extra expenses and any irrecoverable costs.
What does wedding insurance NOT cover?
Basically insurance only covers risks over which you have no control.
- You won’t be able to claim if you or your fiancé decide to call off the wedding because of a change of heart or a lack of funds. Or if you leave your wedding gifts on the back seat of a car parked on the street with nobody looking out for them, then your wedding insurer will not compensate you if they are stolen.
- If an essential member of the bridal party is too ill to attend, or dies, and you call off the wedding, you will only be compensated if their illness was unknown. So cancellation due a father’s heart attack will not be covered if he had been diagnosed with a heart condition before the wedding.
- A downpour which means you can’t have the outdoor wedding you planned will not be covered by most UK insurers but Wedsafe will offer rain insurance. Many insurers define ‘bad weather’ as weather conditions which prevent you or 50% of your guests from attending.
- Your honeymoon will not be covered. You need to take out a separate travel insurance policy for this.
- Whilst your wedding bands will usually be covered it is unlikely that your engagement rings will be covered.
- A marquee in your garden – this is usually covered as an optional addition to the standard policy.
How to decide if you need insurance
Make a list of all your budgeted wedding costs which would be covered if things went wrong. Remember to update this list with actual figures if you find yourself overspending.
Look online for how much this level of cover will cost.
Then before deciding to take out wedding insurance look at the alternatives.
Minimize the risk
Take care to get contracts from your suppliers with details of the service they will provide including dates and times. Pay the minimum upfront. Check back with every supplier a week before and ask them to email you confirmation that they can supply exactly what they agreed. Apart from making it easier for you to claim against them if they fail to do what they’ve promised, this level of checking shows suppliers that you are not the type of customer to overlook their mistakes or fail to claim back deposits.
If you need to cancel how much would you lose? Ask every supplier to state how much of any pre-payment you’ve made will be refunded. You will usually forfeit more of your deposit or pre-payment the closer to the wedding. You need to know details of the timeline for refunds. You can try to negotiate for a better refund policy. Could you cope with these losses?
Have a Plan B for every aspect of the wedding. What could you do if the wedding transport was cancelled the day before? You might have a list of all the other wedding car hire companies in your area so that you (or the best man) can quickly ring them all. Or you may have your friend with the new car on standby just in case. A little advance planning can give you peace of mind.
Find out what insurance your venue and suppliers have
Never work with anyone who can’t show you their public liability or third party insurance. But ask about your personal liability too. If you bring a fire-pit or sparklers to the venue and a guest’s dress gets burnt, who is liable?
If a supplier gets ill and can’t turn up, are they insured against this so that you will immediately get a full refund and payment of any additional costs involved in having to rearrange things at the last minute? Does the photographer have a Plan B? Has he got a colleague or a local contact that can step in if things go wrong? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions.
Check what insurances you already have
Your home insurance company may increase your cover for a month over the wedding date to insure gifts, clothes and anything you are storing at your home. Many do not charge extra for this.
Use your credit card
Pay for everything on your credit card, not debit card.
UK: Anything bought worth between £100 and £30,000 on a credit card is covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which makes the card provider jointly liable with the retailer if something goes wrong. Even if you only pay a deposit (for the venue, for example) by credit card and the rest in cash you’re still covered for the whole cost of hiring the venue.
USA: Dispute charges when your supplier provides unsatisfactory goods or services. You need to show you tried to get a refund from the supplier but without success. Credit card companies will look at claims for purchases of at least 50$ or if you bought the item in your home state or within 100 miles.
Don’t use Paypal or other companies that stand between you, your credit card company and the retailer. Don’t use Amazon marketplace suppliers either. Just pay the actual retailer or supplier directly by credit card.
See more about Section 75 refunds in the UK on MoneySaving Expert.
And see more about refunds when using a credit card in the USA on the FTC website .
Use your debit card for smaller items
For items under £100 certain credit and debit card companies will refund against non-delivery or other faults. This is useful for smaller items such as the cake or if you prefer to use a debit card because you can’t run up debts. Again, it is important to read more about how to claim on MoneySavingExpert.com who have example letters ready for you to use if you need to make a claim.
Know what you can claim back for directly
According to the Consumer Rights group Which only one in five couples tries to get an unsatisfactory wedding supplier to compensate them for poor or faulty service. Ask all your vendors and suppliers for a contract. And you must keep their receipts. Then you can complain and if necessary demand a full or partial refund.
Which.co.uk gives you useful templates for making complaints and asking for refunds.
Is wedding insurance worth it for a home wedding?
The largest cost of a wedding is often the venue. So if you don’t need to insure that cost is it still worth considering wedding insurance?
To decide, make a list of all insurable items. It’s likely that you will be using at least some suppliers. Use the notes above to minimize your risks and then decide if you could cope with these risks.
Tell your home insurance company about the wedding and seek their advice about your liability for guests getting injured or their property or clothes getting damaged while they are attending the wedding. They may not charge to cover the wedding for 24 hours and perhaps gifts, attire, rings and wedding essentials for up to a month beforehand. If they do want to charge you extra then compare their quote, and exactly what they do and don’t cover, with specialist wedding insurance.
When talking to your home insurer ask specifically about liability if you are serving alcohol. In the US the person serving the alcohol can be held liable for any damage to property or people resulting from drinking. (Note that some US wedding insurance plans include liquor liability for the host). But even in the UK make sure you would be covered for this.
Insurance for a marquee or wedding tent
A tent as part of venue hire will almost always be covered within the venue’s insurance. But if you are staging a backyard wedding a tent will have to be insured separately.
Check what insurance the rental company has and if it covers all the furniture. And if you intend to have anything even mildly dangerous such as a fire pit or a patio heater, you’ll need to get clear what their insurance covers in the event of an accident.
Make sure the hire company does a site survey before the wedding to minimize the risk of the tent being impossible to set up in your field or garden. Some tents are as expensive as a venue so cancellation insurance is important.
How much does Wedding Insurance cost?
John Lewis Wedding Insurance offers six levels of cover. The policy costs from £60 at Level 1 to £310 at Level 6.
- Cancellation Level 1: £10,000 to Level 6: £100,000
- Loss or damage Level 1: £5,000 to Level 6: £50,000
- Failure of suppliers Level 1: £5,000 to Level 6: £50,000
- Wedding rings Level 1: £2,000 to Level 6: £15,000
- Wedding gifts Level 1: £2,000 to Level 6: £15,000
- Legal expenses Level 1: £10,000 to Level 6: £10,000
- Public liability Level 1: £2.5m to Level 6: £5m
Debenhams Wedding Insurance offers 5 levels covering similar items. But Debenhams breaks down the maximum amount covered for each item or service e.g. photography, cake etc.
Prices run from £59.95 at the gold level for a policy very similar to John Lewis Level 1, up to £209.32 at the diamond level which includes cancellation up to £60,000, failure of suppliers up to £27,500, rings up to £12,500 and gifts up to £12,500, personal liability of £2m and public liability of £2.5m.
Both companies offer marquee insurance at an additional fee.
USA and Canada
Major providers of Wedding Insurance in the USA and Canada include Wedsure and Wedsafe. Both insurers offer prices starting around $125 but you will need to input your details to their online form to get a valid quote.
You should look carefully at what is excluded by insurers in their policies. For example some UK insurers do not offer public liability for USA or Canada but otherwise cover a destination wedding at the same price as one in the UK. Most policies will also have a small sum that you will pay yourself towards any claim.
Also check when cover starts. It can be immediate or shortly before the wedding. If you have precious items stored at home before the big day, this date will be important.
Nothing, of course, can compensate the couple for the distress they will suffer if things don’t work as planned on their wedding day. But at least insurance will take away the financial headache.
As Mother of the Bride you can help the couple to cope if things do not go as expected. Read my article What if the wedding is called off.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to explain in broad outlines what wedding insurance is and to encourage you to learn more about your consumer rights before deciding for or against taking out wedding insurance. Whilst I once qualified and worked as a Financial Adviser with a major British bank, that was many years ago and my suggestions should not be seen as in any way current professional advice. My personal view is that both John Lewis and Debenhams have good reputations for fair pricing and quality products in the UK. They both work via a major insurance company. If you click on the link to John Lewis Wedding Insurance or Debenhams Wedding Insurance in this article, (thank you), and buy insurance via this link, I may receive a small commission payment, at no cost to you. It is always advisable to consult a qualified financial adviser when considering purchasing a financial product.
Please take note of the date (at the top) of this post as prices may have changed since its publication.