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At home wedding disasters -- does your home insurance provide coverage?

By: Beth Orenstein on June 2, 2011

Getting married at home makes a lot of sense for some couples. It could be that a backyard wedding saves a bundle on facility fees, while others find that their childhood home makes for a picturesque setting - à la "Father of the Bride" or "The Hangover."

But before you commit to holding your nuptials at home, there's plenty to consider. One of the first things you should do is call your agent and ask about the protections your homeowners insurance policy may provide, advises Jeanne Salvatore, a senior vice president and spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

"Having a wedding in someone's home is not unusual and the policy's protections would apply," says Salvatore. However, home insurance policies vary from company to company and home owner to home owner so it's best to confirm your coverage well before the big day Salvatore warns.

Home insurance coverage on your wedding day

So what if grandpa takes a spill on the dance floor and needs a hip replacement or someone else is hurt on your property? Many of the disasters that could befall your guests would be covered under the liability protection of your homeowners insurance policy, which covers bodily injury or property damage that you, your family members or your pets cause to others.

Your policy typically includes no-fault medical payment protection as well, according to the I.I.I., which allows visitors who are injured in your home to submit medical bills directly to your insurer thus circumventing the need to file a liability claim.

Damage to your property caused by your vendors, such as a small kitchen fire accidentally set by the caterer, is also generally covered. Salvatore says the limits of your policy would apply in such a situation.

Although home insurance provides coverage for many circumstances, Salvatore recommends you confirm that your home is in good working order before your guests arrive. Anything with a maintenance issue that causes damage could be grounds for the insurance company to deny your claim. For instance, if you experienced trouble with plumbing before the event and didn't fix the issue, a backed up toilet that causes extensive water damage could result in a claim denial.

Cat burglary covered, but not breakage

In the event that your home was burglarized during the wedding, say thieves made off with several wedding gifts including a few china place settings and silver candlesticks, you'd be covered. Home insurance provides protection for your personal property that is stolen or destroyed by a natural disaster or other covered peril.

However, if someone drinks a little too much and knocks over the gift table, chances are you're not covered for this type of damage to your personal property. "You might have a policy that does cover it," Salvatore says, "but the average home insurance policy doesn't cover things like breakage."

Post-wedding home insurance

After you've returned from your honeymoon, Salvatore recommends contacting your agent to review all of your insurance policies, including home insurance, to be sure you're carrying the right amount of coverage. With all the wedding gifts you received, you'll want to create or update your home inventory at the very least.

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