A complete guide to wedding insurance – do you need it and what does it cover?

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As the summer wedding season approaches, happy couples will be eagerly looking forward to their big day. In case it’s not all alright on the night, is it worth getting wedding insurance?

Some wedding venues stipulate that couples must have sufficient cover, while others leave it to the couple to decide. So how do you know whether you should get covered for your big day, and what does it pay out for?

What is wedding insurance?

Like any insurance, wedding insurance covers you for a wide range of problems that might happen on the day – and compensates you for any losses. It aims to cover you from cancellations or calamities that could ruin your wedding.

However, each policy differs in how much it pays out and what it pays out for, so check the small print. For example, some policies will cover cancellation up to £10,000, while others go all the way up to £60,000.

Research from Debenhams Personal Finance found that the average cost of a wedding is £18,500, so there is a lot of potential money to be lost.

Around £12,500 of cover will cost £50, according to the website Comparedweddinginsurance.org.uk. Policies start from £19 for £2,500 of cover, rising to £210 for £65,000 worth of cover.

If you’ve splurged on the dress or the rings, you may need to get individual cover for these items as they may breach the policy limits - Credit: AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS
If you’ve splurged on the dress or the rings, you may need to get individual cover for these items as they may breach the policy limits Credit: AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS

What does wedding insurance cover?

The policies cover a range of problems that can hit the big day – from a supplier going bust to damage to your dress or suit, or even cancellation of the wedding.

Some of the strangest claims made for a wedding include £116 for cleaning costs when a pigeon defacated on a bride’s dress and £1,699 for champagne that was ordered but not delivered, according to John Lewis Finance, which offers wedding insurance.

Other claims include £2,700 for a wedding ring that went missing, £3,930 when caterers failed to show up and £15,818 when the wedding venue was flooded and an alternative venue had to be found.

There is no cover from insurers for someone having a change of heart

Typically, insurance will cover eventualities such as when illness of a wedding party member or a close relative (as long as it’s not a pre-existing condition) means you don’t want to continue the wedding, or if photos can’t be printed due to the equipment being damaged.

If you’ve splurged on the dress or the rings, you may need to get individual cover for these items as they may breach the policy limits.

Andy Newman, of Debenhams, said: “Research has found that the most frequent reasons for claiming on wedding insurance tend to be a result of failure of suppliers, cancellation or rearrangement of the wedding and damage to ceremonial attire, with cancellation accounting for the costliest claims.”

You should start cover from the moment you start planning the big day - Credit: Peter Dazeley
You should start cover from the moment you start planning the big day Credit: Peter Dazeley

What is not covered?

One big misconception is that wedding insurance will pay out if you decide to call off the wedding. There is no cover from insurers for someone having a change of heart.

You will also not be covered if you want to cancel the wedding due to falling pregnant (unless you’re cancelling due to pregnancy-related illnesses), nor will you be able to claim for any stress or depression suffered as a result of arranging the wedding.

The insurance typically will not cover your honeymoon either, meaning you’ll need separate travel insurance.

Those using wedding planners must also be careful. Wedding insurance will cover you if you pay the suppliers directly, even if they have been arranged by a wedding planner. However, it won’t cover you if you give your wedding planner a lump sum of money, which they use to pay suppliers.

Many providers will require that both you and your partner are UK nationals and have been living in the UK for at least six months.

What if I’m getting married abroad?

Wedding insurance covers weddings abroad, but there are certain restrictions on some policies. For example, John Lewis does not cover certain aspects of weddings in America or Canada, while the Insurance Emporium does not cover for marquee cover outside the UK.

You will also need separate travel insurance to cover the travel and accommodation parts of your overseas wedding.

Wedding insurance covers weddings abroad, but there are certain restrictions on some policies - Credit: Getty Images/Kseniia Ivanova / EyeEm
Wedding insurance covers weddings abroad, but there are certain restrictions on some policies Credit: Getty Images/Kseniia Ivanova / EyeEm

When should I  buy the insurance?

Ideally, you should start cover from the moment you start planning the big day, before you have paid any deposits.

Adam Leyton, of Compareweddinginsurance.org.uk, said that many policies will run for two years, meaning even those planning a distant wedding will still be covered – but check the individual policy you take out.

“If you have already paid some deposits, don’t panic, as many insurers will cover existing deposits, so long as there is no ‘known risk’. The cost of cover is the same whenever you take it out, so it’s best to take it out as soon as you can,” said Mr Leyton.

Can’t I just use the cover on my credit card?

Anyone using a credit card to  make purchases worth more than £100 are entitled to cover under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that the credit card firm and the buyer are jointly and severally liable should anything go wrong.

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