Hurricane season has been active this year, with nine named storms in just two months. With flooding, damage, and cancellations from Hurricane Dorian still fresh in our minds, we wanted to learn more about how couples can protect their wedding investment, so we reached out the wedding insurance experts at Wedding Protector Plan.
Hurricane season runs June 1st through November 30th, which means that weddings taking place almost half of the year are at risk. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is calling for an active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season with 13 to 19 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
So what happens if a hurricane hits, causing your wedding venue to shut down or what if your parents can't catch a flight to Florida to see you get married or what if your bridal shop is flooded before your wedding date and your dress gets ruined?
There's wedding insurance for that.
What hurricane scenarios would be covered?
Wedding Protector Plan: Cancellation or postponement of the wedding would be covered if a hurricane were on its way to ruin your special day. If your vendors or your venue didn’t refund your deposits due to the cancellation, our policy can help reimburse the lost money to you so you can begin planning another date. While in some cases it is very easy to determine that the hurricane will hit your city on your wedding date, you never know when a storm might make a last-minute path change that could impact your day.
If you lived in Tampa Bay in 2017 during Category 5 Hurricane Irma, you'll remember how suddenly changed course and was heading straight for us instead of Florida’s east coast. Everyone scrambled to get last-minute supplies and certain areas underwent mandatory evacuations. Weddings were suddenly canceled as people began driving to cities not in Irma’s paths.
There is coverage if this happens to you or if roads are suddenly closed due to the extreme weather, a state of emergency is declared, or if your venue can’t open due to the storm.
If the couple or their immediate family is unable to make it to the wedding due to travel impediments caused by the hurricane, such as flight cancellations, coverage for cancellation or postponement is applicable.
If the hurricane isn’t as severe as expected, and you’re able to hold your wedding, but you find out that a vendor is closed due to the storm or can’t deliver the contracted services, like a bakery that can’t make your cake due to no power, you would have coverage for lost deposits if they chose not to refund you.
Our policies can also protect money lost if the hurricane strikes well before your wedding date but causes you financial loss. An example of this would be the extreme flooding Texas experienced after Hurricane Harvey. This flooding damaged homes and businesses alike, and bridal dress shops and alteration stores were left with damaged dresses when the flooding subsided.
What mistakes do couples make when it comes to getting hurricane coverage?
Wedding Protector Plan: In 2017, we had to turn away coverage for many people who were trying to buy a policy after they had found out that Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria was heading their way. To have weather coverage, policies need to be issued months or at least several weeks in advance of the event date, at a very minimum, because we cannot cover catastrophic weather events once they are known.
Even if your wedding is not during hurricane season, it is possible your venue can become severely damaged or may not have power for weeks due to the storm; this can lead to cancellations for months to come while the venue undergoes repairs. Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused so much devastation in islands popular for destination weddings that plenty of weddings were canceled during and after hurricane season while the islands rebuilt their infrastructure.
A wedding is an investment and the start of a life-long journey; don’t wait until the last-minute to protect your investment. Purchasing wedding insurance sooner rather than later gives you peace of mind from the start of your wedding planning until the day itself.
How much does wedding insurance cost?
Wedding Protector Plan: Through the Wedding Protector Plan, cancellation/postponement insurance begins at $160, which will cover a wedding that costs up to $7,500. As the national average for weddings is closer to the $25,000-$35,000 range, policies that will adequately cover that amount will be $249 for $25,000 in coverage or $300 for $35,000. If your budget is higher or lower than this, we have very affordable coverage for weddings of all budgets.
While the vast majority of our claims arise from money lost to vendors or the venue due to uncontrollable circumstances, we offer optional liability and liquor liability that can be added to the policy. Some venues nowadays are even beginning to require that you carry liability coverage on the day of the wedding in case a guest has an accident or damages something on the property. If you need this coverage, liability begins at only $165 for a $1,000,0000 General Aggregate, and you can add this coverage to your cancellation/postponement coverage policy through us.
What is covered?
Wedding Protector Plan: Our policies protect the payments you have made to your venue and contracted vendors, such as your DJ, caterer, florist, photographer, bridal shop, etc. If these vendors happen to go out of business, not show up to the wedding, or don’t deliver the services you’ve paid for and outlined in your contract, our policy can help pay you back the deposits you’ve lost to them and can even help you pay for a replacement vendor.
Unfortunately, issues with vendors happen to be our number one source of claims. An example is when Alfred Angelo, a bridal dress shop, closed numerous stores nationwide in 2017, leaving many dress orders unfulfilled. With COVID-19 affecting the financial stability of a variety of businesses, and the recent bankruptcy announcement from Men's Wearhouse it's smart to insure your deposits.
The cost of the wedding is also protected if you had to cancel or postpone the wedding due to catastrophic weather events, such as hurricanes or extreme flooding, or venue unavailability, such as your venue double-booking or getting damaged during a hurricane and closing for repairs. Our policies can cover the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, and post-wedding day brunch.
If the wedding is canceled or postponed, the honeymoon expenses can also be covered. The costs for all these events should be factored into the level of coverage you are purchasing.
The optional liability and liquor liability coverage can protect the couple if a guest has an injury on-premises and sues the newlyweds, or if someone breaks something at the venue and the couple has to pay for those damages.
When do I need to purchase it?
Wedding Protector Plan: We recommend purchasing a policy as soon as you begin putting deposits down for your wedding. Unfortunately, we have heard many stories about venues that continued booking weddings even though they were in the process of foreclosing or had begun the process of selling the venue to new owners that may not honor previous event bookings.
We have also heard plenty of tales of couples who paid a vendor a deposit and then were never able to get back in contact with that business. Once you have already found out that you have experienced a financial loss, it is too late to have coverage for that circumstance if you have not purchased a policy.
Insurance is designed to protect against unforeseen and uncontrollable losses that occur after you have purchased a policy. We can issue policies up to two years in advance of the wedding date, and we always recommend purchasing the policy sooner rather than later.
If you are not sure whether you need liability coverage for your venue, but you’ve already put a deposit down, you can purchase the cancellation/postponement coverage so your deposits are protected for potential losses like a venue or vendor bankruptcy, and you can add liability and liquor liability coverage onto our policy up until a few days prior to the wedding.
Underwritten by Travelers, the Wedding Protector Plan provides wedding insurance coverage for the ceremony, reception, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and post-wedding brunch, all for affordable rates with no deductible. With last year’s devastation from hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and nor’easters fresh in everyone’s mind, and with venues increasingly requiring insurance, find out how wedding insurance can protect your special day.
This post was sponsored by Wedding Protector Plan.