When two become one, the last thing lovebirds want is for disaster to strike around their special day. Aside from the nightmare “I OBJECT!” scenario, or the runaway groom/bride, there are many things that can cause significant strife on the path to, or worse, during nuptials.
According to the annually published Real Weddings Study from The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the US has risen to $33,931. With such a bank-burning bill, couples should really consider purchasing wedding insurance to protect their weddings and their finances, said Todd Shasha, managing director of Personal Insurance Product Management at Travelers.
A wedding insurance policy can help protect couples against the most common wedding insurance claims, such as vendor problems, severe weather, military deployment, severe weather and property damage. In 2018, 41% of Travelers wedding claims were due to vendor issues and 22% were due to property damage caused by wedding day accidents. Severe weather events also factored in a significant amount (18%) of claims.
“When you think about weddings and the amount of deposits and premiums you pay to contract an event, the exposure you take on through those vendors can be huge,” Shasha told Insurance Business. “The venue, the photographer, the videographer, the band, the DJ, the caterers – that’s all exposure that comes into play when you’re putting together a wedding. Typically, vendor issues have topped our wedding claims list every year, with the exception of 2017, when severe weather caused the most problems.
“Vendor issues are challenging to deal with because a lot of them are small businesses. Ultimately when they go out of business and fail to complete their contract, for example they file bankruptcy, the options are to sue them or to file an insurance claim. I think having wedding insurance is the easier solution. Unless you have a wedding at a really top-notch facility with really deep pockets, most wedding vendors are typically small businesses that are at risk of folding if things don’t go their way.”
As the average cost of weddings continues to skyrocket, more and more couples are considering wedding insurance as a financial risk mitigation tool. The Travelers Wedding Protector Plan, which is currently only available in the US but could feature in Canada in the future, has grown incrementally year-over-year since its inception 12-years-ago. Shasha attributes this growth, and any future progress in the product, to education.
“For the cost of a few dinners at the reception, policyholders are able to hedge the significant financial risk that goes into their special day and they’re able to make sure nothing goes wrong,” said Shasha. “Just imagine visiting your venue one month before your wedding and finding a ‘We’re closed’ sign on the door. Without wedding insurance, that’s your deposit potentially lost.
“We advise clients to purchase wedding insurance as soon as they start doing an outlay of deposits – literally when they start writing those checks. That might be up to two years in advance of the wedding, but at least then they’ll have peace of mind that they’re covered if anything happens to their vendors.”
Insurance agents can play a huge role in facilitating the growth of wedding insurance, according to Shasha. They also have opportunities to cross-sell and to branch out into other lines of insurance where couples with newly mingled lifestyles and finances might have a coverage gap.
“Agents understand their customers and their life cycle needs better than anyone,” he added. “When people get married, they’re merging two households together. So, agents can ask questions like: ‘What are you doing with your auto insurance?’ and ‘Do you need renters insurance?’ They can start with wedding insurance and then be that trusted advisor as two lives continue to merge together. There are complexities abound which means there are great opportunities for agents to speak to.”