Guide to wedding insurance
- Wedding insurance is based on set price brackets, not age or location
- Cover can be purchased up to two years beforehand
- Read policies with care - make sure you're aware of what is and isn't covered and that the insurance is suitable for your arrangements
- As an alternative to wedding insurance, home insurance can offer elements of wedding cover
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and one of the most expensive, too - according to research by Sheila's Wheels in May 2013 the average cost of a wedding tops £18,000.
From something borrowed to something blue, weddings are steeped in superstition and while wedding insurance may not ward off bad luck, it will protect you if the worst happens in the run up to your wedding or civil partnership, or on the day itself.
It's not surprising, then, that many couples decide to take out cover to protect the huge investment that goes into a wedding or civil ceremony.
"Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, so it seems natural to protect it with wedding insurance," said Gocompare.com's Ben Wilson.
"From the photographer to the florist, the caterer to the baker, you rely on numerous people to make your wedding day special, and the more people you involve the more chance there is that something could go wrong.
"Taking out wedding insurance is the easiest way to protect yourself in the run up to your big day, but make sure that the level of cover you decide on is right for you and your needs."
How wedding insurance works
Wedding insurance covers you financially if your nuptials don't quite go to plan.
Some home insurance policies may include cover for a wedding, or offer the possibility of extending cover
Wedding insurance policies list all the elements of cover they provide, and the sum they will insure up to for each of these elements.
Unlike car insurance or home insurance, the wedding insurance premium you pay isn't usually dependent on your individual circumstances, such as age or location.
Instead, you buy a set amount of cover for a fixed premium price.
How to buy wedding insurance
It might be hard to know where to begin looking for wedding insurance, but searching online is a good start.
If you're using a wedding planner they might offer insurance alongside their services, but you should also check online to make sure you're getting the best cover and the right deal for you.
If you register with a department store like Debenhams or John Lewis for their other wedding services it's worth looking at the insurance deals they offer.
Remember that some home insurance policies may include cover for a wedding, or offer the possibility of extending cover, which may be cheaper than taking out an additional policy.
At the very least, your home insurance might provide some cover for the things you buy before your wedding like rings and dresses.
Just make sure that you have sufficient contents cover for them or - if they're over a certain value - that they've been individually listed..
Levels of wedding insurance
Some weddings hit the £18,000 average while some may be more expensive and others will be on a budget, so it's important to find the right cover for your needs.
Tailoring your cover appropriately will mean not paying too much - or too little - for your premium.
At the time this was researched (November 2014), comprehensive policies ranged in price from about £60 to £300.
If you're planning on spending the £18,000 average figure on your day, that's roughly 1.5% of your total spend for the most expensive cover.
In November 2014 John Lewis offered six levels or 'tiers' of cover, ranging in price from £58 to £289. The middle level - priced at £98 - offered cover for up to £10,000 for loss or damage, £10,000 for failure of suppliers and £6,000 for wedding rings, while the highest level offered cover up to £50,000.
When to take out wedding cover
You can take out cover up to two years before you're planning on getting married, but don't worry if you've left it to the last minute.
Cover can be bought even days before your wedding, so long as you're not planning on claiming for something that you know is going to happen.
However, it may make sense to take out cover as soon as you pay for any element of the event so that your deposits are covered.
If you do intend to take out cover a while before the date, make sure that the policy you choose is the right level for your needs. Be careful not to over- or under-insure - a wedding budget can get out of hand, so it's key to plan in advance.
What does wedding insurance cover?
Wedding insurance will cover you in the event you have to cancel and rearrange your day, or if one of your suppliers goes under or fails to deliver.
While wedding insurance can't guarantee that everything will go without a hitch, it can give you the peace of mind that any unforeseen events will be covered and go a long way to easing those pre-wedding jitters. It won't cover your other half getting cold feet, but it can reassure you that an already expensive day doesn't become even more costly
Nick Starling, the Association of British Insurers
Illness and absence
If the bride or groom falls ill and the wedding day has to be postponed, or if a close family member gets sick, insurance will cover the cost of rearranging the day.
If the bride or groom is in the army and their leave is cancelled, insurance may cover the cost of rearranging the wedding if this was unforeseen.
Bad weather can put a serious dampener on weddings, so you'll be covered for this too, so long as your cancellation is reasonable.
A shower won't cut it - it would need to be something fairly catastrophic, like a storm, flood or heavy snow that closes down your venue or stops people travelling.
Unless you plan on doing everything yourself, you rely on several different people to make sure your day is as you imagined it.
From the photographer to the florist, the caterer to the dressmaker, making sure your day goes off without a hitch takes a small army of professionals.
According to John Lewis, the majority of claims relate to suppliers. If a venue goes bust, or a supplier fails to deliver flowers or the cake in time or at all, insurance will provide you with a safety net.
Comprehensive policies should also include cover for loss, theft or damage to wedding attire, the rings, cake, flowers and transport before and during the ceremony, and for a limited period afterwards.
Photos and video
If your photos can't be printed because the film or any digital media has been damaged, your insurance may pay for a photographer to reshoot the wedding party and cover the costs needed to do this.
Some wedding insurance policies will offer cover if one of you is made redundant in the run up to the wedding.
Third party cover
Many policies will also offer cover for third party injury and public liability, in the event anyone is injured at the wedding.
This could be worth thinking about if you're planning something over the top for your day, like a firework display, or arriving at the ceremony via a skydive.
What wedding insurance doesn't cover
Before taking out cover, check the policy to make sure that you're covered in the way you expect - each policy's terms and exclusions will differ.
Dropping out voluntarily
Insurance won't cover the cost of the wedding if you get cold feet, or if you find out that your intended has been philandering.
Cancellation will only be covered if the reason was unforeseen and beyond your control.
Multiple days and/or overseas weddings
If your wedding ceremony is on a different day to the reception or if you're getting married overseas, check that you're protected.
You could be given the option to extend your cover, but you'll probably have to pay extra.
If you're planning a wedding across multiple days, you may need to look into special cover.
This probably won't be included as standard, but marquee cover may be offered as an optional extra and covers loss or damage of the marquee before the wedding.
Check your policy if you're hiring a marquee.
Pre-existing medical conditions
Wedding policies generally cover you for being unable to attend your wedding due to unexpected illness.
However, if the wedding doesn't go ahead due to a pre-existing medical condition that you knew about when you took out the policy, this is likely to be excluded and you won't be covered.
How do wedding policies pay out?
If you need to make a claim on your wedding insurance it's important to contact your provider as soon as possible - there'll be a phone number included with your policy details.
If you need to rearrange your day you'll need to contact your insurer before planning an alternative.
Some insurers may put a clause in your policy stating that any alternative reception must be in the same area, and there'll be a limit on what they're willing to pay.
Once your claim has been accepted, your insurer may arrange to have physical items repaired or replaced with an item of similar quality through its preferred suppliers.
You could request instead to receive cash or a voucher, but this will be at the discretion of your provider.
If you're making a claim after the wedding it's important to do so as quickly as possible - don't wait until you're back from your honeymoon to ring.
Excesses and cost of policies
Excesses vary across policies, but typically more comprehensive policies will have higher excesses.
The cost of policies depends entirely on the level of cover you need, and this will be dictated by how much money you're spending.
Each policy will allot varying amounts of cover for each aspect of the wedding - clothes, cake, reception, etc.
To work out how much cover you need, write down how much you're planning to spend or have spent on each thing and then find a policy which offers that level of cover.
So, for example, if you're spending £4,000 on clothes, find a policy that covers clothes up to £4,000.
Taking out a policy that offers more cover than you're planning to spend is a waste of money, as you'll only be reimbursed the cost of what you've lost.
Many of those planning a wedding neglect to take out wedding insurance, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're not protected by another product.
If there's a problem with any goods or services this means you'll be protected if it amounts to a breach of contract.
After the wedding
There's lots of admin to do both in the run up to and after a wedding, including penning a new will, getting copies of your marriage certificate and alerting the relevant people if either of you decide to change your name.
As stated, some home insurance policies may include cover for a wedding, or offer the possibility of extending cover.
What's more, many home insurance policies increase the level of contents insurance after a big event, including a wedding.
Don't forget to let your insurer know if you have any particularly valuable gifts and to update your policy to include them - depending on their value, your wedding rings may also need to be named on your home insurance policy.
If you're going on an extended honeymoon and leaving your home empty for more than 30 days you should look into unoccupied home insurance.
Planning the honeymoon can be the most enjoyable and anticipated elements of wedding planning, and it's important not to forget travel insurance - although remember that an element of honeymoon cover may be included in your wedding insurance.
By Emily Bater