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When the big day gets altar-ed -- the most common wedding insurance claims

By Mark Chalon Smith on May 23rd, 2012

When it comes to a wedding, there's much to fret over beyond threatening weather, annoying in-laws and balking brides or jittery grooms.

What if there's a problem with the catering? Or what if the local band you hired for all those romantic tunes doesn't show? You can't prevent hassles like that, but you can protect yourself from the financial losses that can come with them.

Wedding insurance is offered by a handful of companies, including Travelers and specialty insurers like WedSafe, WedSure and Event Insurance. Another large firm, Fireman's Fund, sells "special event" coverage that includes weddings and receptions.

Travelers recently released the most common reasons customers filed claims in 2011 related to its Wedding Protector Plan. At the top (31 percent of all claims) were "vendor- and venue-related" issues. Travelers said these included things such as DJs not appearing, undelivered flowers and photos, and facilities or vendors going out of business before the giddy day.

Other matrimonial problems driving couples to distraction were:

  • Illness, injury and mishaps: 19 percent of claims
  • Vandalism and theft: 13 percent
  • Problems related to bad weather: 10 percent
  • Military duty/deployment, unavoidable wedding cancellations and clothing-problem snafus: 17 percent of claims

What does such protection cost?

Industry experts say the price tag for wedding insurance varies depending on the insurer, but a basic policy usually ranges from $155 to $550, depending on how much protection you want. The insurance covers loss of photos, videos, attire, presents, rings and deposits. General liability insurance, which covers up to $1,000,000 for accidents, usually costs $200 or less.

When it comes to Travelers, the least-expensive package goes for $160 and provides $15,000 in protection. That works out to $7,500 for cancellations or postponements, $1,500 for photograph or video problems, $1,500 for clothing issues and $1,000 for lost deposits.

The firm's costliest policy will set a couple back $1,025 and provides $175,000 protection for cancellations or postponements, $10,500 for photographs and videos, $10,500 for attire and $10,000 to cover lost deposits. Put down another $200 to purchase $1 million in liability and another $1 million in property damage protection.

Beyond weddings, Travelers recently expanded its "special events" market to include protection coverage for bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, birthdays, anniversaries and other mark-the-calendar occasions.

Is wedding insurance coverage really necessary?

That depends on how worry-free you want the wedding to be, Travelers says. Having protection against money losses may not be the biggest item on your list, but it can be important later if there are problems.

Mark Chalon Smith
As a writer and editor, Mark Chalon Smith has covered a spectrum of subjects from personal finance and the stock market to the arts and entertainment. He wrote for the Los Angeles Times for several years and his articles appear regularly in new media and more traditional sources.
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