The sun is shining, birds are chirping and the bride is beaming as she walks down the aisle. In a perfect world, this would be the setting for every wedding; but in reality, that is not always the case.
Every year, hundreds of weddings across the country were ruined or postponed by disasters, both natural and man-made. Seven hurricanes made landfall in the Southeastern United States this summer causing widespread damage and interruptions. Sixteen states experienced flooding bad enough to make it onto the Federal Flood Report; there were wildfires out West; and rockslides in Colorado.
And those are just natural disasters. There were also fires set either intentionally or accidentally at churches, synagogues, hotels, and banquet halls; flights that had to be canceled because of engine problems or bad weather; people who got into car accidents; cars that wouldn’t start; and the list goes on.
“You never know when something will go wrong which is why you should protect yourself by buying wedding insurance,” says Robert V. Nuccio, exclusive program administrator for the Fireman’s Fund wedding insurance program. “Everyone has car and homeowners insurance, but wedding insurance is something most people don’t even think about until it’s too late.”
With the national average for wedding expenses now around $20,000, more families are seeking to protect their investment from unforeseen glitches. Nuccio points out a policy costs the same — $195 and up depending on your coverages — whether you buy it six months or two weeks before the event; but by waiting, you run the risk of not being insurable.
“A lot of people were out of luck this past summer when a total of four hurricanes made landfall in Florida,” says Nuccio. “For a while there it seemed like every week there was evacuation orders in place. A lot of events were canceled because they were in evacuation zones; others because the facilities were destroyed in a storm. The people who didn’t have insurance lost a lot of money.”
For those who say ‘my wedding isn’t happening during hurricane season, or even in a place hurricanes will strike,’ Nuccio offers this example: “Your wedding may be in May; you booked the facility in December; but what if a month before the ceremony, the facility was destroyed in a fire, flood, or tornado? What would you do?” asks Nuccio. Without insurance, you’d most likely lose your deposits and have to pay a lot more to secure a different facility. If you had a policy covering cancellation or postponement, you’d be in good shape. “Most people also opt for coverage of the additional expenses associated with arranging alternative services,” says Nuccio.
Among the other coverages available…
- Photography — If you elect this coverage and the photographer fails to appear or the negatives are lost, damaged, or stolen, the cost of re-shooting the event will be covered. The policy will pay to fly or drive the wedding party back to the event location, put them up in a hotel, feed them, redress them, re-rent the facility, rehire a photographer, buy a new cake, buy new flowers, re-shoot the event, then drive or fly the participants home.
- Special attire — If your wedding gown or the attire of attendants is lost, damaged, or stolen, or the bridal shop goes out of business, this coverage will provide for repair or replacement.
- Jewelry — This coverage allows you to repair or replace jewelry when it is lost, stolen or damaged.
- Gifts — This coverage is intended to protect you against damage, theft or loss of your wedding gifts.
- Rental property — If you are renting chairs, tables, or tents for the wedding, this will cover the value if something gets lost, stolen or damaged.
- Personal liability — The majority of banquet halls require party hosts to supply them with liability coverage, including Host Liquor Liability. “This isn’t always spelled out very well so make sure you read your rental agreement carefully,” says Nuccio. “I’ve had clients find out they need it at the very last minute, and it’s more expensive to acquire on very short notice.”
There is wedding insurance available for just about any situation you can think of. “Except for cold feet,” says Nuccio. “Change of heart is not covered.”
He points out that similar coverage is available for other social events, including bar mitzvahs; anniversaries, birthday and engagement parties; and baby showers.
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