A wedding is about as an important event as you can get. The cost of wedding services can soon mount up, planning it involves the bringing together a great deal of ideas as well as the services of many professionals. The pressure for it to go smoothly is immense, and, unfortunately, the scope for things not to go quite so smoothly is equally large. This is why Wedding Insurance is so popular. But just what is wedding insurance? What does it actually cover?
Like all insurance, wedding insurance cover is a contract agreement
where, in return for a stated payment, an insurance company will compensate for a loss. This can be of physical property, such as the rings; or a loss of a service, such as the photographer not making an appearance. However, the actual cover, or more importantly, the exclusions of cover need to be looked at and understood before handing over the premium. And, as ever, lots of questions need to be asked!
One of the benefits of wedding insurance is that it is designed to bring all the possible perils inherent in arranging a wedding under one insurance product. Annoyingly, this can also be a source of problems as well.
I have referred to the issues associated with “dual insurance” before. It is the principle whereby in the event of a claim you are obliged to disclose whether or not another insurance may exist that would also cover the claim. While it shouldn’t in itself prevent settlement of the claim, it can slow the process down and even highlight the possibility that you have paid a second time for insurance you didn’t actually need.
Let me give an example…
Most home insurance policies allow for an increased sum assured during the run up to a wedding, this is to take into account any gifts that may be stored at the house prior to the ceremony. A stand alone wedding insurance will also have a section relating to gifts. Dual insurance is almost inevitable.
Whether or not wedding Insurance is for you, is a decision for you, but hopefully you will be in a much better position to make an informed decision after you have read this.
WHEN DOES THE INSURANCE ACTUALLY START?
Most Wedding Insurance providers will state that you should take out cover as early as possible. However, some state a time limit prior to the wedding of, typically, two years. It is likely that if you have already made arrangements outside of any set limits then cover will actually be activated from the day the insurance is taken out.
WHEN DOES THE INSURANCE FINISH?
Not as straightforward as you would think. The policy doesn’t end at the stroke of midnight on the wedding day. You may not know that there is a problem with the photographs for some weeks after the event. Make sure you check how long the cover is in force for and the time limits imposed for making a claim.
AM I COVERED IF ONE OF US CHANGES OUR MIND ABOUT GETTING MARRIED?
I don’t think anyone will be surprised that the answer to this is “No”. It does give rise to one of my favourite insurance exclusion phrases though, the “disinclination to marry” clause!
WHAT IF THE WEDDING IS CANCELLED DUE TO ILLNESS OR DEATH?
The fear of cancellation following an unexpected event is probably the biggest reason for taking insurance. There are a number of reasons a wedding may be cancelled, one of the most common being injury, illness or death. Cover in this instance typically includes the bride and groom (or prospective civil partners) and close relatives as well as significant members of the wedding party whose “unavailability” would make it inappropriate to go ahead.
While this deliberate vagueness is really helpful in many ways, as it allows for the inclusion of your closest childhood friend with whom you have been inseparable forever, the onus falls entirely on you to make the case for their non attendance being the reason for cancellation.
It is common for there to be an exclusion for “pre existing conditions”. This is very important if you have a close family member who has had poor health.
I would guess that in most families, someone has suffered a serious illness, and where this is the case I would suggest you do the following: Firstly, talk to the person involved. Ask them what their feelings are if they suffer a relapse and cannot attend, then throw in your own thoughts about how you would feel. Secondly, contact the prospective insurance provider and explain the situation. Be prepared to obtain a doctors letter setting out the situation and possibly even providing an opinion on the suitability of attending. It may well be that you are told that cover will not be extended to that person, but at least you will know and can be prepared for the worse.
With regard to “pre existing conditions”, check out what the insurance company’s definition of what they are. If for instance, the Bride’s Father had had a heart attack 20 years ago, not on medication currently and has another heart attack a week before the wedding, I personally think it unlikely that they could invoke the “pre existing condition” clause. Generally speaking, if you have a doubt – Ask First!
WHAT ABOUT COVER FOR FAILURE OF SUPPLIERS?
The simple answer here is that failure of suppliers is something that wedding insurance will cover to some degree, including deposits and the cost of sourcing alternatives at short notice. There is a more complicated answer, so here goes…
The list of suppliers and service providers for any wedding is long. Typically, it will include the venue, photographer, cars, entertainment, cake, flowers, suit hire, caterers and hairdressers. I’m sure you can add a lot more. However, the points I am making here are general points that are the same regardless of the service being provided.
Above anything else, get an agreement with every supplier.
Then read the agreement with every supplier.
Then ask for anything you are unsure about to be clarified – in writing.
Although a Wedding Insurance policy will state the cover that is in place for the failure of goods and services, the fact is you will have difficulties with a potential claim if there was not a written agreement, contract, letter of terms and conditions with a supplier. In real terms this means that if you have asked your uncle Bert, who is a great amateur photographer, to be your wedding photographer, and he doesn’t turn up resulting in you having to pay top dollar for an instant professional replacement; you may well have problems with the claim. So, even if you are using uncle Bert, get an agreement as to what is expected from him.
Most professionals will have standard terms of business and agreements which they will provide to you. They will set out the services they provide and may have a section on the limits of their liability if things go wrong. They will (or should) also have there own insurers who, in the event of a claim will also provide compensation for any problems you may have as a result of a problem caused by the failure of their client.
I would also suggest that you consider paying for your suppliers using a credit card. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the card provider can be equally liable under certain circumstances for refunding your payment in the event of contractual failure. I am not usually a great fan of credit cards, but it does provide a further layer of protection and, given the range of interest free and cashback cards available, using one might be of use for other reasons as well.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making a claim, as well as informing your stand alone Wedding Insurer of the relevant incident, also tell them if you paid by credit card, give them a copy of the agreement with the supplier, tell them of any other insurance cover that may be in force such as your home insurance. Remember, the purpose of insurance is to put you back in the position you were (as far as is possible) before the incident that gave rise to the claim. It is not to put you in a financially better position.
IS THE STAG AND HEN PARTY COVERED?
Almost certainly not. If you feel the need to insure this, there are stand alone “Event” insurances that may well do the trick. Usually though, exclusions include incidents that may occur “whilst under the influence of alcohol”. I’ll leave you to decide whether that makes it worthwhile or not!
IS THE HONEYMOON COVERED?
Again, almost certainly not. You will have to take appropriate travel insurance, as you would for any trip abroad, in order to be covered properly.
WHAT IF I AM GETTING MARRIED ABROAD?
Most Wedding Insurance providers provide for weddings abroad. Conditions are slightly different and, as always should be read closely. Some have restrictions on location, with USA and Canada frequently singled out for special attention, or even exclusion. You will almost certainly need to have your own separate Travel Insurance as well, although some providers may wrap up the two different policies into one package.
AM I COVERED IF ANYTHING IS STOLEN?
If anything to do with the wedding is stolen, such as gifts or the rings, you are probably covered depending on where it was stolen from. If it is from home, you are covered probably by both the Wedding Insurance and your Home Insurance, subject to your normal terms and conditions. If it is from a car, then the car would have to be locked and the items not visible from the outside. If it is from the reception then cover is excluded if it was stolen by someone that was invited to the wedding. As always, the full list of exclusions are listed in the various policy summaries.
I AM USING A WEDDING PLANNER, DO I NEED WEDDING INSURANCE?
Like any other professional, a wedding planner will have a contract setting out what services they will and will not provide. Typically, stand alone Wedding Insurance will not cover the services arranged by a wedding planner, so if you are using one make sure you know what the insurance position is regarding them.
WILL THE POLICY COVER ME IF THE WEDDING AND THE RECEPTION ARE ON DIFFERENT DATES?
Usually yes, though there may be a time limit on how far apart they are.
HOW MUCH SHALL I INSURE MY WEDDING FOR?
Most providers offer different levels of cover at different prices. The simplest way to decide the right cover is to make a list of all the costs involved and then choose the level closest to the total cost.