Your florist isn't going to show up on your wedding day. At least, that's one of the more likely problems you might face.
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The Travelers Cos. recently analyzed claims from its wedding insurance policies and identified the top trouble spots. The No. 1 offender was problems with vendors and venues.
More than 30 percent of wedding insurance claims were filed because of calamities such as wedding venues going out of business, DJs and photographers who failed to show up, or flowers that never arrived, says Chantal Cyr, vice president of Travelers Wedding Insurance. The second-largest claims category (19 percent) was sickness, injury and mishaps involving members of the bridal party. Another 10 percent of the claims were related to weather catastrophes, including blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes.
Claims also were filed because of things such as stolen or damaged gifts, grooms and brides who were called to active military duty, and wedding attire that was lost or did not fit properly.
Economy causing disasters
Chamein Canton, a wedding planner in Long Island, N.Y., for more than 15 years, has heard of plenty of venue and vendor issues. In this economy, she says, it's not uncommon for reception halls or vendors to go out of business before your wedding day, despite their having signed contracts and accepted deposits.
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"I've also seen where the facility will tell you they can accommodate your number of guests because they don't want to lose your business," she says. "They say they can handle 250 people and you find yourself in a broom closet. Your wedding goes from this experience you always dreamed about to a nightmare where everyone is on top of everyone else."
Destination weddings are probably the most vulnerable to disasters, Canton says. Plan a wedding in the Caribbean during hurricane season and you never know what might befall you and your guests.
Wedding insurance a worthy investment
What can you do to prevent rain on your wedding parade? Cyr believes wedding insurance is worth the small investment. Expect to pay between $150 and $500, depending on how much coverage you want.
That's a fraction of the average of $25,631 couples spent on their ceremonies and receptions in 2011, according to The Wedding Report, a research firm that tracks the industry.
Wedding insurance policies vary, but typically cover items such as:
- Lost deposits
- Perishable materials
- Unavoidable cancellation due to weather or military leave
- Lost or damaged photographs
- Damaged gifts
- Host liability
Wedding insurance can reimburse you if an important item related to your wedding, such as a ring, is lost or damaged, Cyr says. Wedding insurance is a must if you're having your wedding at your home, says Gina Sole, a wedding planner in Philadelphia.
"A slip and fall from a guest of a guest that you may not even know unfortunately could turn into a lawsuit," Sole says. "Brides today know to protect themselves, especially if they're having a wedding on their own private property."
Destination weddings demand insurance
Canton recommends wedding insurance for destination weddings. If you've booked the wedding online, you may be in for some surprises when you get there.
Cyr says that "if you have to postpone your wedding because a commercial transportation shutdown prevents the honorees, parents, grandparents or children from getting there, you can receive reimbursement for nonrecoverable expenses," Cyr says.
In addition to the United States, you can purchase coverage for locations in Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Caribbean islands and cruise ships leaving from a port within these territories. Travelers doesn't charge extra for these locations, Cyr says.
You can buy insurance for other destinations, including Europe and South America, but you may pay extra.
Terms and conditions
Like any insurance, wedding policies are subject to policy exclusions, terms and conditions. Most require you to buy wedding insurance at least 14 days before your special day.
Wedding insurance won't guarantee that the flowers or the photographer show up, Sole says. But it may help you feel better about the disaster later.