Wedding dress, $1,200; banquet hall rental, $10,000; flowers, $5,000; cake $600; and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Before you know it, the cost of putting on a wedding can exceed a lot of people’s annual salaries. According to Condé Nast’s Bride’s Magazine, the average wedding costs between $20,000 and $25,000 to put on; many far exceed that amount.
“It’s not just the bride and groom’s happiness at stake on their wedding day. Dad has made a big investment and it would be a mistake not to protect it,” says Robert V. Nuccio, exclusive program administrator for the FiremanÂ’s Fund wedding insurance program, and author of this exclusive policy. With all the details that need to be taken care of before the big day, Nuccio’s product is often the last thing people think about, but he says it should really be the first.
A lot of people have made that realization this past year. The recent California fires, this summer’s massive power outage in the Northeast, and Hurricane Isabel all forced the cancellation or postponement of a lot of weddings. Several of Nuccio’s customers were affected.
“The power outage could have spelled disaster for one of my clients,” says Nuccio. “He had a $175,000 wedding planned at a very high end hotel in New York. Because he had insurance, when the power went out, we were able to approve the event’s move to another hotel, 2 blocks away.” Nuccio authorized up to $43,000 in additional expense.
Wedding insurance policies also saved a lot of expense for people in California. At the height of this summer’s firestorm, four major airports in the Los Angeles area were shut down, causing massive delays. Country clubs and other wedding facilities in the San Fernando Valley area were under a mandatory evacuation order. Dozens of weddings and other special events had to be cancelled because people couldn’t get where they needed to go. “Those with insurance were able to recoup their non-refundable expenses and put their parties on at a later date,” says Nuccio.
When compared to the cost of the event itself, wedding insurance is relatively inexpensive. Depending on the coverage you select, insuring a $20,000 wedding would cost about $400.
Cancellation or postponement -- If a natural disaster such as a firestorm, flooding, blizzard, ice storm, tornado, earthquake or volcanic eruption prevents the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding or honeymoon from taking place, the cost of rescheduling the event will be covered. Coverage is also available if the bride, groom or someone else in the wedding party gets sick or injured; if there is damage to the wedding attire or the place where the ceremony is to be held; and if someone key to the event like the caterer or priest fails to show up.
Additional expenses -- This coverage will pay for expenses associated with arranging alternative services to avoid a covered cancellation or postponement of the wedding or reception.
Photographs -- This coverage actually pays to reshoot the event should the photographer fail to appear, if the negatives are lost, stolen or damaged, or if the photographer is nowhere to be found 6 weeks after the event date. 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, reshoot the event, then drive or fly the participants home.
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 coverage will pay the replacement cost if something gets lost, stolen or damaged.
Special attire -- if your wedding gown or the attire of attendants is lost, damaged, or stolen, 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.
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.”
“A misfortune not covered in a wedding insurance policy is cold feet. That’s a known circumstance,” says Nuccio. “We don’t cover changes of heart.”
Weddings aren’t the only social events eligible for celebration coverage. Policies can also be bought for bar mitzvahs, anniversaries, birthdays, engagements, and baby showers. For more information, call 1 (800) ENGAGED.