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June 19, 2020
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COVID-19 Notice: Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, several wedding insurance companies are not offering new policies, especially cancellation policies. We’ve provided the latest notifications from our selected providers as of mid-June 2020. However, the situation is fluid, so it’s wise to check with providers for any updates. Liability coverage may also be affected by the pandemic. Many policies written in the included standard clauses that rule out coverage caused by a pandemic, and those written now tend to specifically eliminate claims related to COVID-19.

To choose the best wedding insurance providers for 2020, we spent dozens of hours looking into the most popular companies, analyzing their data, and comparing the four main factors at which policies must excel in order to be considered among the best.

Those key considerations start with price. The average premium for basic wedding insurance starts at $155 for basic liability (coverage of $500,000 to $2 million, depending on the company) and $130 for basic cancellation (coverage of $7,500). We prioritized insurance policies with lower premiums and that do not require paying deductibles.

We also considered the companies’ policies when it comes to customization. Because the option to buy last-minute coverage is so important to many couples, we gave flexibility in when and how to buy a policy a lot of weight in our choices. We also considered how well companies allowed buyers to add and/or remove covered items according to their needs.

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Companies that best streamlined purchasing, customization, and claiming processes, using online features and tools were also favored.

FInally, we factored in ease of claims, based on our research on how quickly a claim for coverage under a wedding policy would be processed and reimbursed by the insurer.

More details on our methodology.

Money’s Top Picks

Markel Event Insurance
Best for Bundling Liability and Cancellation

Best for Last-Minute Liability Coverage

Best for Customized Policies

Best for Military Families

More on Money’s Top Picks

Markel Event Insurance
Best for Bundling Liability and Cancellation

As of June 2020, the following COVID-19-related announcement appears on the company’s website: “Effective immediately, due to the Coronavirus, Markel Specialty is no longer offering new event cancellation policies. Event liability policies can still be purchased online or by calling an event insurance specialist at 800-236-2453.”

With over 70 years of experience in the insurance industry, Markel offers some of the most comprehensive and affordable wedding insurance policies. Liability insurance premiums begin at $75 for up to $500,000 in coverage, and cancellation policies begin at $130.

If you want to bundle both policies, you can either:

  • Add $5,000 in cancellation coverage to your liability policy for only $50, or;
  • Buy the two policies together, and receive a 15% discount on the total cost
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Other details include:

  • Cancellation policies can be purchased up to 14 days prior to the event
  • Liability policies can be purchased up to one day before the event
  • If the certificate of liability does not meet your venue’s requirements, you’ll get your money back
  • Weddings outside the U.S.can be insured
  • Claims can be filed online

Best for Last-Minute Liability Coverage

As of June 2020, the following COVID-19-related announcement appears on the company’s website: “Due to the quickly changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and potential denial of claims, we are unable to offer event cancellation coverage during the ongoing crisis. Please continue to check back with us for event cancellation coverage when government restrictions on gatherings have been lifted”.

Some wedding insurance companies let you purchase your liability policy one day in advance, but WedSafe goes even further: they let you purchase yours on your wedding day itself. As some other providers offer, a digital certificate of liability is sent directly to your venue and/or vendors via email right after your purchase. Also, WedSafe’s coverage limit of $5 million in liability is one of the highest in the industry.

Other details include:

  • Average premium cost between $75 and $200 (to see the exact prices, you must apply for a quote)
  • 5 tiers of liability coverage
  • No deductible for general liability claims

Best for Customized Policies

COVID-19 Update: While WedSure is still offering cancellation policies, the company will not cover COVID-19 related cancellations. Per company policy, COVID-19 is considered a “known circumstance” and is therefore outside coverage.

The company that invented wedding insurance—according to WedSure’s website—is also the best we found when it comes to customized policies. Starting at $125, these policies allow you to add or remove coverable locations and services depending on the specifics of your event. Via its award-winning website, you’ll be able to manage and tailor your policy from anywhere and at any time.

Other details include:

  • Only company among our choices that offers “change of heart” policies as an add-on
  • Nine separate coverages available
  • Up to $5 million in liability coverage
  • Free host liquor liability
  • Cancellation policies are available starting at $95
  • Available in all 50 states

Best for Military Families

Since all USAA wedding insurance policies are underwritten by Merkel, the latter company’s COVID-19 related caveats apply, meaning that, at this moment, they are not offering new cancellation policies.

In addition to other financial services, USAA offers its members (military personnel, reservists, veterans, and eligible family members) affordable wedding liability/cancellation policies which are specifically tailored to the realities of military life. Its liability policy covers events in the US and its territories, Canada, and all cruise ships leaving ports in these locations. Cancellation policies cover events held in the US and its territories, Canada, the United Kingdom, Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Mexico, and all cruises leaving ports in those countries.

Other details include:

  • Will cover postponement if a guest of honor is deployed as a member of the police force, active military, or fire department
  • Available only to USAA members
  • Liability policies cover rehearsals within 48 hours of the event
  • Guaranteed to meet the venue’s requirements or your money back
  • Policies can be purchased up to 1 day before the event
  • Up to $2 million in liability coverage
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Details on How We Chose Our Best Companies

Price: While premiums vary according to the specifics of each event, the average price for basic wedding insurance starts at $155 for basic liability (coverage of $500K to $2 million, depending on the company) and $130 for basic cancellation (coverage of $7,500). When cancellation and liability are bundled together, the average price is $275. Remember that, unlike other types of insurance, this is a one-time-only payment. Also, we prioritized insurance policies that do not require any deductible fees.

Flexibility: Regarding deadlines, companies as a whole allow the purchase of policies anywhere between 2 years and 1 day in advance. Most common, though, is a purchase deadline for cancellation policies of14 days prior to the event. Because the option to buy last-minute coverage is so important to many couples, we gave this factor a lot of weight when choosing the best insurance providers.

When it comes to flexibility in customization, we favored companies that allow couples to add and/or remove covered items according to their needs. Because no two weddings are identical, the best insurance policies allow for the fullest tailoring to the particular couple and their wedding circumstances.

Online Features: We favored wedding insurance companies that best streamlined purchasing, customization, and claiming processes, using online tools.

The online delivery of your “certificate of liability” (a physical or digital document in which the insurance company acknowledges the existence of a policy and details its specifics) is especially important in this respect, since most wedding venues require it before you contract with them. For this reason, we chose companies that automatically create an online certificate of liability immediately after you purchase a policy.

Ease of Claim: As with other forms of insurance, a claim for coverage under a wedding policy should be processed and reimbursed as quickly as possible. We chose companies with excellent track records for customer satisfaction, revealed in online ratings, testimonials, and user reviews. We also rewarded companies whose claims processes appeared to be streamlined and with the greatest chance of being hassle-free.

A Guide to Buying the Best Wedding Insurance

A wedding is one of the most memorable events in a couple’s life — and one of the most expensive. On average, couples in the U.S. spent $34,900 to tie the knot in 2019, and that’s without taking into account additional expenses such as honeymoons and bridal showers. With the financial stakes so high when it comes to a wedding, it’s worth considering insurance against mishaps that could increase the cost of your magical day, or even cause it to be canceled altogether.

What Is Wedding Insurance?

Wedding insurance is designed to cover certain wedding-related events and services in case anything goes wrong. Coverage can extend to the ceremony, rehearsals, receptions, vendors, clothing, jewelry, catering, DJs, deposits, gifts, and even honeymoons. Coverage can make you whole financially on everything from the cost of outright cancellation to the cost of a lawsuit should a guest be injured.

Unlike home or life insurance, wedding insurance is “special event” coverage that requires only a one-time payment. In other words: the quoted price is all you have to pay, although as with most insurance policies, a deductible may apply.

The Two Main Types: Liability and Cancellation

The wedding insurance industry offers two main types of policies: cancellation and liability. Most insurers will let you either purchase them separately or bundle them together, depending on your needs.

Cancellation policies typically insure you for anywhere between $5,000 and $200,000 — depending on the company and specific policy — to cover the costs of the wedding being postponed, canceled, or rescheduled. The reasons are confined to unforeseen circumstances that are beyond your control, such as severe weather, sudden illnesses, military deployments, and vendor bankruptcy. Cancellation policies usually have no deductible.

Most policies do not cover the insured in case of “change of heart” cancellations, in which the groom and/or bride changes the date or decides not to get married at all.

The other policy type is liability insurance, which covers the financial costs from any losses or accidents before or during the wedding event. This is the most common type of wedding insurance — mainly because many wedding venues require proof of liability in order to let you contract with them. The typical coverage ranges between $500,000 and $2 million in damages, minus any deductibles, if applicable.

Those deductibles for liability policies range, we found, from zero to $1,000. Some companies let you customize the amount of your deductible. As with other forms of insurance, lower deductibles generally mean a higher premium. Still, for a low-cost wedding, a zero-deductible policy may be the best way to go.

Below is a list of the items that are usually covered or excluded from wedding liability and cancellation policies:

What is Usually Covered

  • Venue Issues: In case the venue is unable to serve as the location for your wedding event, you’ll be covered for any losses and/or costs related to moving to an alternative venue.
  • Property Damage: Protects you from damage to the venue’s physical property (its structure, windows, or sound system, as examples) that happen during the event.
  • Problems with Vendors: Protects in case service providers, such as musicians, decorators, photographers, caterers, parking attendants, and the like are unable to provide their services, and you incur additional costs to engage replacements.
  • Postponement Due to a Medical Emergency: Covers any costs for should the wedding be delayed due to an unforeseen injury or illness to an essential member of the wedding party – usually defined as the bride, groom, best man, maid of honor, officiator, or key service providers such as caterers.
  • Extreme Weather: As long as it’s considered “unforeseeable,” you’ll be covered from any losses related to extreme weather – usually defined as severe enough to prevent most guests or one or more of the wedding party to attend. Coverage must be bought before a weather event is imminent; it’s too late if a named hurricane or tropical storm already threatens your wedding.
  • Military Deployment: Covers costs in the case of cancellation or postponement because an essential member of the wedding party is called to serve in the military.
  • Wedding Attire: While this coverage varies significantly depending on the company, it usually takes care of any costs related to damage, loss, and/or theft of wedding attire, excluding jewelry other than the wedding bands.

What is Usually Excluded

  • Changes of Heart: Most wedding policies will not cover the groom or bride if either one of them, or both, decides to not get married. Most cancellation policies do not even offer this type of cover, and those that do make it available only as an add-on.
  • Foreseeable/Known Circumstances: Policies generally will not cover you for any losses deriving from circumstances that are either under your control or that could have been easily prevented or foreseen. An example might be not covering the cost of a replacement for the vintage car a friend promised to lend, but then failed to honor the promise.
  • Jewelry: Any losses related to jewelry—other than the wedding bands—will usually not be covered by your policy.
  • Theft of gifts: As a rule, standard wedding insurance doesn’t cover the theft of gifts, including cash, at the reception or other wedding events.

The Add-Ons

Much like other types of insurance, wedding insurance lets you add certain items at an extra cost. While the options vary between companies, the following are usually offered as add-ons to your main policy:

  • Honeymoon
  • Alcohol Liability
  • Theft of Gifts
  • Reception and Rehearsal
  • Transportation

The type and breadth of coverage you need will depend on a variety of factors, such as how much money you’ll spend on the overall event, the event location(s), the number of guests, and any other coverable item that may be involved (such as having a fireworks show launch when the couple says “I do”). While you shop for your policy, remember to read the fine print carefully and make sure to ask any pertinent questions. Until you get clear answers to those, preferably in writing, do not purchase the policy.

Why to Check Possible Coverage From Other Insurance

Before buying a wedding policy, review other insurance that you or friends and vendors may have to ensure you aren’t paying for any unnecessary coverage.

For example, if the wedding reception is being held at a private home, insurance on that property may suffice to cover any liability claims from wedding guests. If you’re renting a venue, check that its liability insurance doesn’t protect you to some extent, especially if you haven’t yet been asked to produce proof of such insurance, as is usually required.

Also, while this isn’t insurance coverage per se, keep in mind that you’re allowed by law to dispute credit-card charges. That right may allow you to have the credit-card issuer pursue satisfaction with any vendors you pay by credit card and then fail to deliver the goods or services they promised.

When Should You Buy Wedding Insurance?

The sooner the better. Most wedding insurance will only cover losses that occur after you buy the policy, which is why you should get insurance before any wedding-related payments or reservations are made.

You can, however, shop for wedding insurance at the last minute, with a few key caveats. Some of the best wedding insurance providers, such as the ones included in this review, allow you to purchase your policy as little as a day before the event, generally without any increased premium costs.

However, as noted, in the event of trouble, you may not then be able to claim the cost of wedding purchases you’ve already made, such as deposits you placed to secure services. Nor will you be covered for events that are foreseeable by that point, such as a major hurricane whose extreme weather is already threatening the wedding site.

What to Watch Out For When Purchasing Wedding Insurance

Before you make any decisions regarding wedding insurance, we recommend that you do your own research and make sure to get all your questions answered. Only then will you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your special day will be covered if the worst were to happen.

Also, remember that, as of June 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on the sale of insurance policies from many companies, especially cancellation policies. Check with the insurance providers to see if they are offering wedding insurance at this moment.

Lastly, it’s very important that you make sure a company’s policy will cover expenses or commitments made prior to your getting the policy. If you’ve already spent money on wedding-related services, seek out policies that will cover you for retroactive expenses.