Popped the question? Now’s the time to start thinking about a wedding policy, according to a special events insurance expert.
The wedding industry is showing a healthy recovery in 2022 after two years of postponements amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Wedding website The Knot forecasted about 2.6 million nuptials would take place this year – substantially more than the 1.9 million weddings in 2021.
Todd Shasha (pictured), senior managing director of boat, yacht and special events for Travelers Insurance, said couples who are engaged (or may soon be) should look at financial protections for their special day as early as possible.
“When you think about all the planning that goes into a wedding with multiple vendors and venue organizers, a special event or wedding insurance policy is a great way to hedge your risk,” Shasha told Insurance Business.
Wedding insurance can help protect from unforeseen circumstances, including cancellation and postponement. Policies could also insure special attire, jewelry, wedding gifts, and more.
“Photographers, videographers, florists, dressmakers, and all the businesses you pay for when planning a wedding – they all represent an exposure for that one day,” he illustrated.
Last year, nearly a third (29%) of Travelers Insurance wedding claims were due to vendor issues, such as venues closing or photographers not showing up. Property damage constituted 19% of wedding-related claims, while another 18% were due to illnesses and injuries that got in the way of a couple’s special day.
Shasha also warned future brides and grooms not to underestimate Mother Nature’s power in spoiling their day, especially with many weddings taking place during the US hurricane season. According to Brides magazine, the number of weddings generally peaks in June and September.
“We’re approaching that time of year when the weather can certainly impact your wedding,” Shasha noted.
When should couples secure wedding insurance for their day? “We recommend that you purchase the policy as soon as you start laying out deposits,” answered Shasha.
“Basically, up to two years in advance when you start outlaying deposits for the venue and vendors because that’s when your exposure begins. In essence, we’re insuring the event and all those exposures up to the event. A special event policy can assist you with losses that come should circumstances not pan out.”
Brokers and agents should be ready with a checklist of questions to help their clients obtain the right coverage for their wedding. “What are you spending on the wedding? How much coverage do you need? An agent can help with that,” Shasha said.
Do clients need cancellation coverage? Do they need liability insurance, such as liquor liability? Understanding the extent of clients’ plans for the wedding and reception will give brokers and agents a picture of the possible exposures. “The first query I would ask [clients] is, what is the overall cost of your event? You want to come up with an amount for your financial exposure,” said Shasha.
Research will play a significant role in helping lovebirds hedge wedding-related risks. Shasha recommends that couples investigate their venues and vendors thoroughly to determine their chances of falling short. “If you take shortcuts, you might come up short,” he warned.
Destination weddings, though romantic and glamorous options, will require even more due diligence. With more risk involved due to the logistics, Shasha said proper coverage is crucial for couples.
He also pointed out that policies can even extend to events surrounding the wedding, such as rehearsal dinners or brunch for the day after.
Travelers Insurance has rolled out exclusions specific to COVID-19. Shasha noted another important exclusion: “If you change your mind and no longer want to get married, it’s a conscious choice, so there’s no coverage for that.”
The pandemic has had a considerable impact on weddings and, in turn, on the insurance industry. Shasha said: “I think it created awareness about the need for special event insurance and how it can protect you. Certainly, we’ve seen that influx in business coming our way. Our customers and agents have greater awareness about how it can help protect them in the event of unforeseen circumstances.”