The big day is fast approaching, and all your ducks are in a row: The invites are out, the menu is set, the dress fits, and the tuxes are ordered. But, what if a wedding disaster strikes? Be it a natural disaster, pandemic, family emergency, or, heaven forbid, one of you gets cold feet, it is not uncommon for weddings to be postponed or canceled for a host of reasons. So, how do you prepare for the unknown? You can add a layer of protection to your wedding day with insurance. But, what does wedding liability insurance cover, and what is it in the first place? Here is what you need to know about safeguarding your big day, so that you can rest easy.

What Is Wedding Insurance?

It’s not fun to think about the things that could go wrong on your wedding day, but, like anything involving a large amount of time, money, and people, it’s important to be prepared. Wedding insurance is exactly as it sounds, it’s an insurance policy to cover an unforeseen circumstance related to your wedding day (and sometimes even the day before and day after).

What Does Wedding Insurance Cover?

Like most other insurance packages, there are different options to choose from. It’s important to research all of the wedding insurance coverage options and read plans thoroughly before making a decision, taking care to note maximum coverage limits and deductibles. Some providers differentiate between wedding liability insurance and cancellation coverage insurance, while others offer totally customizable plans or combine the two. Make sure the plan you select covers all your bases, or, at least, the ones you are most worried about. While there is a range of options to choose from, the best plans will cover the following:

Venue or Property Damage

A lot of venues now require wedding insurance. A liability coverage policy will ensure both you and your venue are protected, if anything goes wrong on the property. Think property damage, such as paint removal or carpet stains, or personal injury, such as someone breaking a leg on the dance floor. Liability insurance is not only beneficial for the venue, but for you, too. With this kind of coverage, you won’t be held financially responsible if there’s any damage to the site, or for bodily injury at your wedding party (knock on wood).

Host Liquor Liability

Host liquor liability is typically included in most wedding liability insurance policies and specifically protects you from any alcohol-related incidents at your wedding. If you’re sued due to drunken damages, this liquid liability will have you covered.

What Does Wedding Insurance Cover? Photo Credit // Elena Bazini Photography

Lost Deposits

Although disheartening, it’s not unheard of for vendors to go out of business or simply not show up on the day of the wedding, leaving you high and dry. In both of these cases, you may not only lose your deposit, but also have to secure a replacement vendor in the final hour. A wedding vendor insurance plan will cover any lost deposits, and sometimes even the difference in price between the old and new vendors.

Wedding Cancellation and Postponement

There are multiple scenarios where you may have to postpone or cancel your wedding. In the midst of a global pandemic, this is all too familiar for couples who planned to get married in the spring and summer of 2020. While a health advisory is one reason you may have to postpone your nuptials (every plan has its own stipulations around this), it’s not the only one:

  • Extreme Weather: Freak storms, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and the like, can not only affect your actual wedding date, but can also cause venues in affected areas to close for indeterminable periods of time, leaving couples out in the cold.

  • Illness: If there’s a family emergency, or the bride, groom, or an immediate family member becomes ill, cancellation policies will cover the costs incurred to postpone or cancel the wedding.

  • Deployment: Deployments and other military leaves can happen at a moment’s notice and force you to reschedule or postpone your wedding. Thankfully, most insurance plans offer coverage for postponement or cancellation in case of unplanned military leave.

Loss of Photos or Video

If the film from your wedding day can’t be recovered, due to loss or damage, your wedding insurance can cover that. While your policy can’t make the missing memory card reappear, or fix film that got wet, it can reimburse you for the funds associated with such damages.

Stolen or Lost Wedding Gifts

Sorry to continue to be the bearer of bad news, but in the hustle and bustle of the wedding day, gifts can easily be misplaced, lost, or stolen. While you can do your best to avoid this by having a family member or wedding planning assistant keep tabs on the gifts at all times, it’s smart to protect your losses, just in case. Read the fine print of your policy on this issue and make sure that you’re well-covered in this category.

Damage to Wedding Attire

Your wedding dress or tuxedo is likely to be one of the most expensive garments you ever wear, so insuring it is not a bad idea. Most wedding insurance plans either include wedding attire protection or offer it as an add-on. When your maid-of-honor accidentally steps on your train, or you snag your veil climbing a hill to get the perfect shot, you’ll be glad you tacked it on.

Change of Heart

While the decision not to walk down the aisle for personal reasons isn’t insured by most companies, it’s available from some. This type of coverage insures a third party who is paying for the wedding in the event that the bride or groom has a change of heart. Insert teary-eyed emoji, here.

Why Do I Need a Wedding Insurance Provider?

Consider all the elements of your wedding that are outside of your control—the vendors showing up on time, or even at all, the health and well-being of family members, the weather, and the list goes on. These are just a few of the reasons that you should strongly contemplate a wedding insurance plan. But, before you buy, there are a few important things to note.

The scope of your wedding is a big factor in determining whether or not you need wedding insurance and, if so, the correct level of coverage. If you’re eloping at the courthouse, for instance, you probably don’t need to insure your wedding; however, if you’re having a more traditional celebration, you probably do. When shopping for a plan, keep these things in mind:

The Location

Is your wedding taking place outdoors? Is the city or state where you’re getting married known to experience extreme weather conditions? If your wedding location is subject to any or all of the above, you will want a cancellation policy in the event that you need to postpone or cancel due to weather. It’s important to not only consider the weather conditions of your chosen location, but also the venue requirements. Ask what type of insurance they require for both you and your vendors.

Last, but certainly not least, make sure that the plan you have selected offers coverage in the state, territory, or destination of your wedding.

What Does Wedding Insurance Cover? Photo Credits // Elena Bazini Photography

The Timeline

The farther in advance you plan your wedding the more uncertainty you have to prepare for, and the more likely you’ll incur losses if you have to make changes closer to your wedding date. A lot of insurance providers allow you to purchase a simple liability plan up to the day before the wedding, but no one needs that additional stress the day before their wedding. The farther in advance you purchase a policy, the better off you will be.

The Size

Accidents can happen anywhere, but when you have two or three hundred people, or more, at your wedding and the drinks are flowing, it’s even more likely for something to go array. And, if your guests are the kind to get a bit rowdy, an insurance policy isn’t a bad idea.

The Wedding Budget

Like all wedding-related decisions, budget is a factor in selecting the right insurance policy. It’s important to know how much you’re spending on your wedding, in order to know what level of coverage you need to protect your investment. This will also help you determine how much you are willing to spend on a policy. Most plans will only cost you a couple hundred dollars, and custom plans will run on the higher end. When you’re considering custom plans, there are elements that need more insurance than others. For example, big-ticket items, such as your wedding rings (yes, you should insure those) and wedding venues, deserve more attention than say, the wedding cake.

If you’re already spending a fair amount of money on your wedding, an insurance plan is a meager additional expense that could save you a great deal down the line.

The big takeaway is that life is unpredictable, but, if you do your due diligence, you don’t have to worry about what you can’t control. Securing wedding insurance can help alleviate the bigger stressors and uncertainties that come with planning a wedding. While it won’t keep hiccups from happening, it will protect you if they do.

For more helpful resources from the wedding experts at Zola, see below:

  • How Much is Wedding Insurance?
  • A Guide to Wedding Planner Insurance
  • A Helpful Guide to Cancelling a Wedding at the Last Minute