Wedding Liability and Cancellation Insurance: How to Insure your Event in 2021

With wedding insurance, a cancelation or postponement could simply mean a new date and not a huge financial loss.

Anja Winikka
September 26, 2021

Wedding cancellation insurance is trending. February 2020 saw a significant spike in searches for the term, and an avalanche of canceled weddings followed close behind. Many couples (and wedding venues) are still reeling from all the cancelations. But there’s an upside to this new normal, and we’ve all learned to expect the unexpected.

From the wedding dress to the wedding cake, weddings involve lots of big, one-time purchases with nig deposits. In the event of an emergency cancelation, lost deposits might mean that the couple has to cancel for good. With wedding insurance, a cancelation or postponement could simply mean a new date and not a huge financial loss.

Wedding insurance should be part of every engaged couple’s new normal. Thankfully, it’s fairly simple to find a customized, affordable plan.

Wedding Insurance 101

Major wedding insurance providers make it easy for you to quickly get a quote online. Most companies make it easy for you to customize your plan, so you don’t have to pay for more wedding insurance coverage than you need. If your venue already provides liability coverage, for instance, you can easily find an affordable plan that covers cancellations only.

The Two Types of Wedding Insurance Coverage

There are two main types of wedding insurance: Cancellation insurance and liability insurance. Wedding cancellation insurance covers your deposits, while liability insurance protects you from paying for medical bills or bills for property damage caused by your wedding party or your guests.

Wedding Cancellation Insurance

Cancellations are pretty self-explanatory — life happens, illness strikes, duty calls. Policies usually cover sudden illnesses, military deployments, and extreme weather.

Extreme weather — not just rain — is a common cause for cancellations. Consider wedding cancellation insurance especially if you plan to have a wedding anywhere especially prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms.

Cancellations from the wedding party aren’t the only concern. Vendors might also cancel, making your wedding impossible.

  • Your band cancels because of a family emergency.
  • The caterer goes out of business.
  • The rustic barn where you planned to hold the reception gets struck by lightning the day before your wedding.

We don’t want to stress you out before your big day, so let us emphasize: None of these scenarios are likely, but scenarios like these happen all the time.

Wedding Liability Insurance

Wedding liability insurance protects couples from being sued in the event that one of the guests or staff injures themselves during the celebrations. It covers personal injuries as well as damage to property.

For instance:

  • One of the catering staff trips over a floral arrangement and breaks their ankle.
  • Uncle Ernie has too many glasses of punch and pushes over a statue at your pricey venue.
  • Your ceremonial arch topples over and knocks your photographer’s expensive camera out of their hands.

Who pays the bill in these situations? Without wedding liability insurance, the answer might be you.

Many states require that you buy host liquor liability insurance if you plan to sell or serve alcohol at your event. Alcohol, especially served at an open bar, is obviously a concern for insurance providers. Wedding insurance plans often automatically include liquor liability. If yours doesn’t, check to see if your venue has it. If they do, you may not need to  buy your own.

Liability insurance typically covers a 48-hour period. Provided your rehearsal dinner takes place within that 48-hour window, it would also be covered under the policy. The same goes for  the set-up and breakdown of your site.

Additional Coverage

Insurance plans often offer plenty of coverage options. You can add insurance for the following:

  • Jewelry
  • Wedding Attire
  • Gifts
  • Photos and Videos

How Much Do I Have to Spend?

Wedding insurance plans are typically affordable. Plans that cover both cancellation and liability insurance usually cost under $500. Basic plans for liability OR cancellation can cost less than $300.

Of course, the price of your insurance depends on how much coverage you want. Most wedding insurance companies offer coverage limits of $500,000 to $5 million.

To determine how much cancellation insurance you wish to purchase, tally up your deposits and then select a deductible. The higher the deductible, the cheaper your cancellation insurance will be.

What Wedding Insurance DOESN’T Cover

Some wedding day traditions are simply too dangerous for insurance companies. For instance, you won’t find a policy that covers any kind of pyrotechnic display, including fireworks and sparklers. Events that feature dunk tanks, bouncy castles, firearms, or petting zoos may not qualify for an insurance policy.

Illness is a major force behind cancellations. Many plans do not cover communicable diseases. At this point, major wedding insurance providers have made it clear that they will not cover and Covid-19 related cancellations.

Things to Consider: Don’t Buy More Insurance Than You Need

Carefully consider your coverage options and make sure you don’t buy more insurance than you need. Venues sometimes offer liability insurance, including host liquor liability insurance. In that case, you would only need to buy cancellation insurance.

You should also look for force majeure clauses in your vendor contracts. “Force majeure” refers to acts of God, which include natural disasters and other unforeseeable events that would make a wedding impossible. That could factor into your wedding cancellation insurance calculation.

If you’re having your wedding at your house or a relative’s home, their home insurance might already have all the liability coverage you need. (Note: This may not include host liquor liability.)

When Should I Buy Wedding Insurance?

Wedding insurance providers encourage bride and groom-to-be to purchase insurance as soon as they start incurring costs. Most plans allow you to purchase as soon as two years before your wedding day.

What If I’ve Already Started Paying Deposits?

Cancellation policies usually cover deposits that you purchased before you bought wedding insurance but make sure to check with your provider.

When Is it Too Late?

There are plans that allow you to buy wedding cancellation insurance as late as 15 days before the wedding.
eWed allows couples to purchase liability insurance on their wedding day.

Do You Really Need Wedding Insurance?

Think about it this way: If your wedding was canceled and there was no way to recover your lost deposits, how long would it be before you could save up enough to plan a rescheduled wedding?

Wedding insurance isn’t always optional. Many vendors require that you purchase insurance, and want you to provide proof by 30 days before your wedding date.

Don’t let stress about losing a deposit stop you from creating the wedding you want. We’ve all learned that plans can change quickly, but your dream wedding shouldn’t vanish with a cancellation or postponement. With a little flexibility, we can all get what we want, even in the face of big changes.

Anja Winikka has spent more than 15 years marketing to and engaging with both engaged couples and the small businesses that power the weddings industry.