Wedding Insurance During Coronavirus
As coronavirus has led to the cancellation or postponement of many weddings, couples are facing financial and legal difficulties. One of these issues relates to wedding insurance. As Covid-19 is an unprecedented situation, the cover that wedding insurance policies provide has been called into question, with many couples being told that their insurance won’t be paying out. Here we have a summary of what you could potentially experience when dealing with wedding insurance during coronavirus.
In general, cover for cancellation or postponement of your wedding due to coronavirus depends upon the specific circumstances of each claim and the wording of your policy, and external events are moving at an extremely fast pace. Read your policy carefully and speak to someone from the company before making any decisions as this will have an impact on how you then deal with your suppliers. You should have been supplied with the full conditions when you took out the policy. It is important to check that wording in case the policy shown on their website has changed. Ideally, you should contact your insurers. However, it is incredibly hard to get through and when you do, most are being non-committal as they are still getting guidance from their underwriters on different situations.
The CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) announced on 30th April that they would be issuing guidance on refunds and cancellations for the wedding sector. That report has now been published and will help couples and businesses understand their rights and reach a solution. Take a look at our summary of the report’s findings for the latest information.
Will I be insured if I cancel my wedding?
Wedding insurance will usually cover a couple if their venue or a key supplier has to cancel. However, when it comes to cancellations relating to coronavirus, nothing is certain. It isn’t sensible to rely on insurance covering the loss. Some studies have estimated that less than a quarter of 1% of insurance claims will be paid as coronavirus wasn’t a notifiable disease until 5th March 2020. In general, you won’t be covered if the reason for the cancellation is because you’re self-isolating or can’t travel due to restrictions either.
Most policies don’t cover “dis-inclination of the bride or groom”. This means that you’re not covered if you choose not to get married. So, if wedding receptions are allowed to go ahead but you’d prefer to cancel due to the uncertainty, you are not likely to be covered. This particularly applies to those with weddings later in the year; it is quite possible that your wedding could go ahead as planned.
From the experts
Read the policy carefully and check your cover before agreeing to cancelling or postponing any plans.Alison, Our legal/financial/insurance expert
However, if the venue cancels, or a supplier fails to deliver, you could be covered because it’s outside of your control. However, some major insurance policies are not valid if the cancellation is due to a government act. So, if your venue has had to cancel due to government guidelines, your insurance may not be valid. Reasons to cancel your wedding which are covered by insurance are ‘insured events’ which may include death or illness (that isn’t coronavirus) of a close relative or an ‘act of God’ such as a flood. Currently, major insurers do not see the significant reduction of a guest list as a valid reason.
Can I change the wedding date on my policy if I postpone, so that we are still covered?
If you are voluntarily postponing your wedding and want the policy to cover your new date, some major insurers are now stating that they will only accept postponements for weddings before October 1st. So, be wary that postponing a wedding due to take place after 1st October may result in losing your current wedding policy and being unable to get a new cover. They are likely to review this nearer the time if guidelines implies the events industry won’t be opening up more in October.
Will my insurance cover a sequel wedding with a ceremony now and the reception later?
It isn’t unusual to have your legal marriage ceremony and reception on different days. For example, many couples have a civil ceremony or civil partnership in a register office to complete the legalities and then have a celebrant-led ceremony on another day in front of family and friends, followed by a reception. However, in these cases, the legal ceremony and the celebration of marriage are usually just a few days apart. Most policies only allow 21 days between the two elements. Check your policy carefully for this clause and discuss your options with the insurer.
Can I get wedding insurance now?
If you don’t have insurance, most insurers are not issuing new policies at this time while their underwriters assess the implications of coronavirus. Insurers just are starting to offer policies again, with Covid-19 restrictions built in. Others are likely to be working on new policies designed for the current situation. Once the CMA issue guidance to venues on cancellation and postponement policies, which we feel is likely to be relatively soon, the underwriters and actuaries, who calculate the level of risk, will be in a better position to calculate policy prices that accurately reflect the level of risk.
Main Wedding Insurers
Here we have a list of major wedding insurers and their response to coronavirus. This is current as of 9th September 2020. Please always read the small print of any policy you wish to take out to ensure you understand what you are covered for.
Wedinsure is not currently taking any new policies. However, they are offering a free change of date so that your policy continues to remain in force for your revised wedding date if you wish to postpone. This is valid if your current date falls before 31 December 2020. All the terms, conditions and exclusions of your original policy will remain unchanged.
Wedding Plan is not currently taking any new policies. If you are an existing customer, your policy will continue to remain in force and is unchanged. You can change the wedding date on your policy and cover will be provided under the same terms and conditions. This does not provide cover for cancellation or rearrangement of your wedding relating to restrictions imposed by the government. The new wedding date must be within 24 months from your original wedding date. Also, your reception must take place within 21 days of your wedding ceremony. The change is also subject to a small additional premium.
John Lewis is not currently taking any new policies. If you already have a policy, it remains in place unchanged. If your venue and other key suppliers are able to postpone and offer you a new date without you incurring additional cost, John Lewis advises you to arrange the new date with your venue and suppliers, then promptly inform them of the revised date.
Debenhams is not currently taking any new policies. If you are an existing customer, your policy will continue to remain in force and is unchanged. You can change the wedding date on your policy and cover will be provided under the same terms and conditions. This does not provide cover for cancellation or rearrangement of your wedding relating to restrictions imposed by the government. The new wedding date must be within 24 months from your original wedding date. Also, your reception must take place within 21 days of your wedding ceremony. The change is also subject to a small additional premium.
Cover My Wedding is currently accepting new policy applications. However, these new policies will not cover claims resulting from coronavirus. We are unable to recommend this company at this stage as we have been unable to speak to anyone there regarding their policies.
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