|Insure your wedding ceremony against
Your wedding day is one of the most unforgettable
days of your life. The last thing you want is for the event to be
remembered because of a catastrophe.
There are countless ways the big day can be wrecked.
The maid of honor gets appendicitis, a plumbing problem floods the
reception hall or guests end up eating Beanie Weenies because the
caterer mixed up his dates.
Even more potential calamities lurk in today's tumultuous
world. Airports closed because of terror alerts or virus scares
could keep key wedding participants from arriving on time. And several
brides and grooms have been shipped overseas to fulfill military
service obligations before they got to say "I do."
Such are the incidents for which wedding insurance
Costly weddings mean costly
Leah Ingram is the author of seven bridal books, including
Portable Wedding Consultant," and countless articles for
national bridal magazines. She says that with the amount of money
spent on weddings (the average is more than $27,000 according to
a survey conducted for the Conde Nast Bridal Group), getting insurance
is a no-brainer.
"The average wedding costs as much as a down
payment on a house," Ingram says. "It's a major investment.
It just makes sense to get insurance."
Plus, she notes, the insurance can do wonders for
a bride's peace of mind, especially with the number of vendors involved
and the variety of issues that can't be controlled.
Wedding insurance is a well-established product in Great Britain,
but it's been available in the United States for only about a decade.
Specialty carrier WedSafe and general insurer Fireman's Fund are
two policy sources. You also can ask your personal or homeowners
insurance agent about special-event coverage.
WedSafe's lower-limit policy premiums range from $185
to $405. Coverage goes as high as $50,000 for weddings that have
to be canceled or postponed.
Coverage typically includes wedding cancellation or
postponement if a member of the bridal party dies, gets sick, is
injured or can't come to the wedding because of military service
or the shutdown of commercial transportation. (Pre-existing medical
conditions are excluded.)
It also will help pay for the reconvening of the bridal
party for new pictures if the photographer loses the film or it's
damaged at the lab, new wedding rings if they're lost, and replacement
of damaged, stolen or lost wedding gifts.
Cold feet, however, are not covered. If a bride or
groom has a change of heart, the cost of the canceled wedding comes
out of his or her own pocket.
Worried about her own wedding
Karen and Roger Sandau started WedSafe after planning their
own wedding in 2000. It was supposed to be a small ceremony on Maui.
Before they knew it, the guest list was at 62 people, Karen was
sending "enormous deposits" to vendors hired sight unseen
through the hotel, and hurricane season was on the way.
"The icing on the cake was Roger's bachelor party
was turning into a three-day snowboarding weekend," she says.
"Our honeymoon was 12 days in Fiji. I thought, 'What if he
breaks an arm or a leg? I'm going to kill him.'" (He went to
An attorney who specializes in the music business,
Roger was accustomed to getting one-day cancellation insurance from
a broker in London who insures massive rock-concert tours. When
Karen mentioned her concerns, the broker suggested insuring the
wedding. But U.S. coverage at the time was extremely limited and
expensive, so she didn't buy it.
"For the country that has the biggest, most expensive
weddings in the world, how could this not exist?" she asks.
"I was a bride. I know it's a really exciting time. Cancellation
and postponement are very drastic. People want to follow through
on their weddings."
Sharon Naylor, author of "The
Complete Outdoor Wedding Planner," strongly recommends
wedding insurance for the simple reason that you're dealing with
a host of vendors and there's a lot of money at stake. Plus, we
live in a society in which people will sue for just about anything.
How strong is her recommendation?
"If you're having an outdoor wedding and you
don't have insurance, you're a moron," she says. "When
you look at the amount of money it is, it's worth it. The big benefit
is the peace of mind."
Pat Curry is a freelance writer based