Wedding and special event insurance is a special kind of cancellation insurance that can protect you if your event goes awry.
When you’re thinking about planning a big event—whether it’s a wedding, huge birthday bash or blowout retirement party—no one wants to think about cancellations or other disasters that could throw things off course. That said, when you’re putting a lot of time and money into planning an important event, it’s smart to consider what you can do to protect yourself if anything goes awry. That’s where wedding (and other special event) insurance comes in!
What is wedding and special event insurance?
It’s commonly called “wedding insurance” because this kind of insurance is usually used for weddings. However, the full name is “wedding and special events insurance,” and it can cover all kinds of occasions. In short, it is a special kind of cancellation insurance that people sometimes get for large, expensive events. Cancellation insurance covers the money you have spent planning the event. Like other kinds of insurance, wedding and special event insurance helps protect you from circumstances you can’t control. For example, if your wedding has to be cancelled or postponed, or something throws it off course, wedding insurance reimburses you for any money you’ve put into planning it up until then.
Many venues require liability insurance from people hosting an event in their space. This covers any liability you might incur during the actual event and is different from cancellation insurance.
Why get special event and wedding insurance? What kinds of special events need insurance?
You might consider wedding insurance to safeguard against potential money-losing situations.
For example, let’s say unforeseen circumstances out of your control force you to postpone your wedding right before it’s scheduled to happen. If you’ve already spent a lot of money on planning your wedding, a forced postponement could potentially mean losing out on thousands of dollars depending on your agreements with your vendors. If you have wedding insurance, however, you can get back all the money you’ve put into your wedding.
Another example many couples have become all too familiar with this past year is that of a worldwide crisis. If a situation like a global pandemic breaks out during your wedding planning process, you might be forced to postpone or cancel entirely. This can be a huge hassle for folks who have already put money down on venue deposits, photographers, florists, catering and more to try to reschedule without incurring additional costs. Wedding insurance can lift some of that stress. It gives you peace of mind that you can immediately get back money you’ve already paid. You won’t have to worry about nonrefundable deposits or being unable to postpone without paying more money.
This kind of insurance also isn’t limited to circumstances that affect the entire event. If a special gown is destroyed, wedding rings are lost, the catering company suddenly has to pull out or the violin quartet set to play music during the ceremony can no longer make it, special event and wedding insurance can cover the cost of replacing those goods or services.
Again, weddings are the most common example, but this same rationale applies to other kinds of special events as well. If you’re planning a costly charity auction, fundraiser, banquet or holiday party, special event insurance can protect you from bad weather, vendor cancellations and more.
Not every event may require a special additional insurance policy, but this depends heavily on personal circumstances. In the case of weddings, some couples who have homeowners’ insurance may have some existing coverage for items such as wedding bands under their property insurance. Some homeowners’ insurance providers are able to add riders for weddings. As always, it’s important to check with your insurance provider to see if you have any existing coverage to make sure you can:
- fill in the gaps where you’re not fully covered, and
- avoid overlapping coverage.
When should you get special event and wedding insurance?
As soon as you can! Ideally, you want to have insurance in place before any mishaps can occur. Just make sure you are within the maximum and minimum periods of time your insurance provider will allow you to purchase your policy. Often, this maximum period is around one year before the wedding or event date. The minimum is typically around one month to three days before the event date.
What is covered by special event and wedding insurance?
Almost anything you could think of that could be connected to the wedding or special event. Some examples of what could be covered include:
- Total cancellation or postponement of the event due to bad weather, military deployment, illness, injury, vendors failing to show up and more
- Vendor issues, such as if the DJ backs out, the venue goes out of business or the photographer doesn’t show up
- Replacement of damaged bridal clothing for weddings
- Replacement of lost or damaged event-specific goods, such as wedding (but not engagement) bands, wedding cake, stationery and wedding gifts (see your insurance provider for exceptions)
- Costs of a honeymoon that has been cancelled due to a cancelled wedding
You can also get coverage for destination weddings and events if one of the insured parties is a Canadian resident.
To see which costs are covered by your insurance policy, check with your insurance provider. If certain items are not covered, you can often get additional policies to cover those costs, as explained below.
Do you need additional special event-related coverage?
If your insurance policy does not cover things you would like covered, you have the option of buying additional insurance policies to specifically cover other potential damages. For instance, if your bridal attire is not covered under your wedding insurance, you can ask about a supplemental policy to cover that specific cost. If the cost of lost, stolen or damaged gifts are not covered for your blowout birthday bash, a supplemental policy can repair or replace non-monetary gifts within a limited time period. Again, consult your insurance provider for any exceptions or conditions for supplemental policies.
What is not covered by special event and wedding insurance?
Most special event and wedding insurance policies do not cover a change of heart. That means if you voluntarily decide not to host your event anymore, you will not get back the money you have spent on it. If a third party, such as a parent, has paid for the event, there may be exceptions to this rule.
For weddings, most insurance policies will not cover the cost of watches and other jewelry (including engagement rings) beyond the wedding bands, even if this jewelry is attached to clothing.
Many insurance policies also will not cover cancellations arising from pre-existing conditions. This would be the case if, for instance, the organizer has epilepsy and she suffers a seizure that causes the event’s cancellation. Check with your insurance provider to see what terms apply.
What is the cost of special event and wedding insurance?
The cost can vary a lot depending on where you are, how large your event is and how much coverage you want. Basic insurance policies can start at around $200 and the cost can go up to more than $2,000 for comprehensive, large-scale policies.
Overall, the most important thing to consider is your own circumstances. Every person and event are different, and what is right for one event may not be necessary for another. At the end of the day, though, if you think you could benefit from peace of mind that special event and wedding insurance could give you, it could be the best money you’ve ever spent.
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The information in this article was correct at time of publishing. The law may have changed since then. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of LawNow or the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta.
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