I have recently started seeing an increase in ads and promotion for wedding insurance, so I can’t be the only one to ask “Is Wedding Insurance Worth it?” Thousands of couples worldwide have been forced to postpone their weddings due to Covid-19, but even if they had wedding insurance, they can’t claim due to an exception for pandemics. So, do you really need Wedding Insurance, or is it yet another expense that’s going to blow the wedding budget?
Do you need Wedding Insurance in New Zealand
There appear to be just a few of companies offering Wedding Insurance in New Zealand, and I’ve been looking into the policies offered by EventCover.co.nz and Dream Wedding Insurance. Event Cover are underwritten by Lloyd’s of London, which encouraged my trust in the stability of the company – and these are the events which they insure https://www.eventcover.co.nz/weddingcover:
Cost of Wedding Insurance
It is worth noting that for full cancellation or postponement cover with EventCover.co.nz of a wedding costing over $15,000 (so, most wedding budgets in New Zealand), the insurance level required is ‘Gold’ ($950), and ‘Platinum’ ($1,250 if over $60,000). Dream Wedding Insurance, ‘Gold’ costing $855 is required for any wedding between $10-$25,000, and ‘Platinum’ costing $1,285 for a wedding $25-$50,000.
What does wedding insurance cover?
Dream Wedding Insurance states: [we] protect all of your deposits and payments. If you’re let down by your caterer/florist/band or other wedding suppliers, if you have to cancel due to injury/sickness/severe weather, if you lose deposits due to damaged hired equipment, if you face legal liabilities due to property damage or injury. Each of these events, and many more, could leave you in financial hardship… and that’s where wedding insurance comes in.
For most couples, the risk of cancellation or postponement of an event is the main reason for organising wedding insurance – “should the unexpected happen and your wedding is cancelled or postponed.”
Realistically – what are the “unexpected” going to be?
As mentioned earlier, a global pandemic like coronavirus (though unexpected) is excluded from cover.
However, in the current ‘climate’ particularly with regards to small businesses and hospitality businesses, many of which service weddings, Wedding Insurance may actually be more valuable than ever, protecting you from the loss of deposits paid if a supplier goes out of business or fails to provide what has been agreed upon.
Wedsafe’s data shows that 16% of wedding claims are due to Vendor Problems – Companies going out of business, unresponsive videographers, and the entire band falling into a river!
Does Wedding Insurance cover Weather? Yes. To warrant a cancellation the weather conditions would have to be “so extreme as to prevent you or your immediate family or active participant(s) from taking part in the wedding or more than half of the guests from reaching the wedding, or which renders the venue unusable or unsafe.”
So in extreme circumstances, you would need wedding insurance to cover cancellation due to unexpected weather.
If you are using an established venue, most venues should have all-weather options, but this may be a more valuable option if you are having a “DIY” wedding, for example organising a wedding at home, on the farm or at another site where it is necessary to put up a marquee. Of course if the weather is so extreme that guests cannot reach the wedding, it doesn’t matter where the venue is. For our wedding in Coromandel, flooding on the roads did make it difficult for guests the day prior to the wedding – though all were able to make it.
Wet weather options should certainly be considered when booking your wedding venue. See the list of questions to ask your vendors in the Wedding Planning Pack.
A cited US example states: Ten inches of rain (i.e. a severe flood) fell in Virginia, State Highway was closed. Bridal party members and guests couldn’t get to reception site. Band, food, cake, flowers, photos all had to be cancelled. Amount reimbursed: $25,000
Does Wedding Insurance cover Illness or Death?
Yes, your wedding will be covered incase you or your fiancé have an unexpected illness or death (unless it is caused by a pre-existing condition) – but not due to injury or death caused by mental illness, or influence of alcohol or drugs.
Example given by Wedsafe: Groom experienced chest pains and went to hospital. Newly diagnosed heart condition forced him to postpone wedding.
Amount Reimbursed through Event Cancellation coverage – $28,907.45
Photography and Video cover for wedding insurance
The policy reviewed states “if your professional photographer or video operator lets you down or the film/negatives or video is lost or damaged, we will pay for the expenses incurred to retake.”
If tis was the case, you would expect that the wedding photographer would retake the images without charging you. However, without wedding insurance you may have to pay for your hair and makeup, you may need to have your wedding dress dry-cleaned for the shoot, and there could be other costs involved.
Example: Customer received message from the photographer saying he was out of business, would not be attending the wedding and would not be refunding the deposit.
Amount Reimbursed through Loss of Deposits coverage – $1,515
The policy states that “if the unexpected happens, we will pay for the extra expenses in order to avoid a cancellation or postponement of your wedding.”
Examples: Hurricanes Ivan and Frances damaged hotel; repairs originally scheduled to be completed by October but completion date pushed to January. Bride and groom had to find a new venue for their destination wedding and were out of pocket for additional costs. Amount Reimbursed through Extra Expense coverage – $5,050
The wedding reception facility cancelled because they lost their permit. The wedding couple had to find a new location and had to pay extra money out of pocket for new invitations. Amount Reimbursed through Extra Expense coverage – $2,378
Failure of Supplier
“If a wedding supplier fails to meet their contractual obligations, we will pay the non-refundable deposits that you have paid.”
For instance, a supplier going out of business could be disastrous for your wedding, and while legally you would be entitled to those deposits, but it would certainly be a lot easier to claim with your insurer than chase the deposits yourself.
Examples: Wedding venue originally expected to open in time for the wedding, but construction completion date was pushed back and the wedding had to be rescheduled.
Venue construction prevented wedding from being held; venue refused to refund deposit. – $6,690.95
Reception hall went out of business. – $5,243.70
Reception site was sold and shut down. – $13,367.38
“We will cover you for the loss or accidental damage to hired equipment including marquees, tents, gazebos, chairs, tables, furniture or lighting equipment hired during the wedding period.”
– My gut feeling is that each individual vendor’s insurance would cover them for accidental loss, but wedding insurance may be worth it for the avoidance of argument.
Example: Wedding couple held responsible for damaged table top and other property damages. Claim paid by Property Damage coverage – $7,000
We will cover the bride and groom or any person for which the bride or groom would be legally liable for, up to $5,000,000. We will also pay for legal costs and expenses in defending any claim in respect to injury, loss or damage.
An international example given is a bride and groom held responsible for damaged carpet at reception. Amount reimbursed: $5523.81.
N.B. with Dream Wedding Insurance, Personal Liability is excluded for weddings taking place outside of New Zealand or Australia.
Insurance for International weddings
Event cover will cover New Zealand residents for weddings taking place anywhere in the world. If I was having an overseas wedding, I belive it would be worth having wedding insurance, simply because it would be more difficult to deal with vendors in the event of any let-down, postponement or cancellation, and it would be such a hassle to reorganise a wedding overseas.
If you still have a lot of questions about Wedding Insurance and whether it might be worth it for you, Event Cover have a customer service chat (which helped me with some of the above questions).