When Wedding Insurance Pays: Common Claims by Couples

Beyond "cold feet," dysfunctional future in-laws and reports of upcoming inclement weather, brides and grooms have plenty to worry about.

Travelers, an insurance company that offers a Wedding Protector Plan, released an analysis this week of the top reasons policyholders filed claims in 2011. "Vendor- and venue-related" issues made up the largest percentage of claims - 31%. Such claims include a facility or vendor going out of business, undelivered flowers and photos, and DJs missing appointments, according to Travelers.

Other wedding day heartbreakers included:

  • Sickness, injury and mishaps : 19% of claims
  • Vandalism and theft: 13%
  • Catastrophic weather-related problems: 10%
  • Military duty/deployment, unavoidable wedding cancellations and attire snafus: 17%

"Couples should seriously consider the financial risks associated with planning a wedding and protect their investment and budget accordingly," Chantal Cyr, vice president for Travelers Wedding Insurance, said in a statement.

Travelers also expanded its "special events" plans to cover bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, birthdays, anniversaries and other noteworthy occasions.

Besides Travelers, a few specialty insurers sell wedding insurance, including WedSafe, Wedsure and Event Insurance Now. Fireman's Fund also offers special event coverage, which includes weddings and receptions.

How much does wedding insurance cost?

How much will a couple typically have to pay to insure their wedding? Like most insurance plans, it depends on how much coverage you want.

"A basic insurance policy that covers loss of photos, videos, attire, presents, rings, and deposits usually costs anywhere between $155 and $550, depending on the amount of coverage you want. General liability insurance, which covers up to $1,000,000 for accidents, costs around $185," according to the wedding website TheKnot.com.

Travelers' $160 wedding insurance plan provides $15,000 in protection, including $7,500 for cancellations or postponements, $1,500 for photograph or video problems, $1,500 for clothing issues and $1,000 for lost deposits, according to its Wedding Protector Plan website.

But for those with bigger dreams, the bottom line accelerates rapidly. The firm's most expensive policy (the "level 10") goes for $1,025 and includes $175,000 protection for cancellations or postponements, $10,500 for photographs and videos, $10,500 for attire, and $10,000 to cover lost deposits. An extra $200 will buy you $1 million in liability and another $1 million in property damage coverage.

Tips for purchasing wedding insurance

Peter Kuhnmuench, the executive director for the Insurance Institute of Michigan, says wedding insurance could be a reasonable purchase for a dewy-eyed couple, if only to make them feel calmer during a loving, but hectic and stressful time. (For tips on how to purchase wedding insurance, see "Wedding insurance and you: The perfect match?")

"It could be a resource to protect you against the unexpected, which certainly can happen during a wedding and what's going on around it," he says. "You really hope that day will be as perfect as possible and something you can enjoy. If the insurance gives you peace of mind by removing some financial risks, then I see nothing wrong with it."

Couples spent an average of $25,631in 2011 on their ceremonies and receptions, according to The Wedding Report, a research firm that tracks the industry. So it may make sense to spring for a policy that can protect your investment.

"The average price tag of a wedding decreased last year by 3.4%, yet couples actually spent nearly 21% more on the reception location," Shane McMurray, The Wedding Report founder and CEO, said in the Travelers statement.

Regardless of whether you insure the big day, once you do get married, be sure to review your car insurance and health insurance policies. Life events such as marriage can significantly impact your rates and coverage. For more information, see "Getting married: How wedding bells change your insurance needs."

The original article can be found at Insurance.com:Altar-ed states: The most common wedding insurance claims