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Cancellations suck. Does wedding insurance cover them during a pandemic?

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 22nd, 2020


Should couples get wedding insurance to protect against COVID-19 venue closures and cancellations? Does that kind of coverage even exist? 

 

Here’s a quick look at what wedding insurance is, what it covers, and how couples can adapt to unexpected venue changes.

 


What’s happening?

 

Wedding venues in all locations and of all sizes are shutting down as the pandemic stretches on. Some are only closing temporarily as local safety guidelines change, but many are closing permanently or declaring bankruptcy, leaving couples with cancelled wedding dates and lost deposits.

 

This means that couples across the US are receiving devastating news that their venue no longer exists. This is heartbreaking for venue owners and couples alike, and many couples aren’t eligible for refunds -- a hard financial loss in an already stressful time. 

 

For those with upcoming wedding dates, or who are planning weddings in 2021, wedding insurance might seem like a good idea for the uncertain months ahead.

 


Will wedding insurance cover future cancellations that result from coronavirus?

 

The answer is… it depends. But probably not.

 

Wedding insurance works on a case by case basis, and there are different types of insurance.  General liability insurance covers property damage, accidents, or physical injuries, and doesn’t apply to cancellations. 

 

Cancellation or postponement coverage will reimburse couples for the deposits made to wedding vendors (like caterers, photographers, and venues) when plans change suddenly due to illness, weather, or other unexpected events. Fewer providers offer cancellation insurance, and many stopped offering it when the pandemic started last spring.   

 

For couples wanting their deposits back, a lot depends on when the insurance was purchased. For insurance purchased before the pandemic began, some cancellations might be covered. (Couples should contact their insurance company or broker to find out the details of their plan to find out.) 

 

But for those planning 2021 weddings, unfortunately, insurance can’t be purchased for expected, or “known” causes of cancellation -- like the Coronavirus. This means that couples won’t be able to insure against future Covid-related cancellations.

 

This puts both couples and venues in a difficult position. As couples rush to claim new dates, venues are quickly booking and rescheduling well into 2021 and 2022, meaning that many are unable to take on new clients (or generate any new income). This creates many financial unknowns and the risk of future closures. 

 

 

image of piggy bank, represents lost venue deposit, will wedding insurance cover cancellation pandemic

 

 

What can couples do? 

 

Clear communication with a venue is incredibly important, now and always (in the same way that clear communication with your officiant is vital to a great ceremony). Couples should discuss their contracts in detail with venues before signing anything, and ask questions about cancellations (due to bankruptcy, venue closure, illness, or changing safety and gathering guidelines). If a wedding is already on the books, couples can ask for clarification about their refund or rescheduling policies.  

 

(Officiants, read about Safe Ceremony Planning and communicating with couples.)

 

Losing a venue (and deposit) is painful and stressful, but if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that beautiful weddings can happen anywhere. 

 

Many couples decide to have their weddings anyway. Back yards, living rooms, parks, drive-in theaters, zoos… if you can think of it, someone has held a wedding or commitment ceremony there. Creativity and positivity go a long way, and all it takes to really make a wedding work is you, your guests (even if they’re beaming in virtually!) and your officiant…

 

(Read Can’t Book a Wedding Venue? Consider a microwedding or backyard wedding ceremony instead!)

 

 

Long story short…

 

Wedding insurance is still a great idea, but the benefits are case by case. 

 

Insurance probably won’t cover Covid-related cancellations. 

Insurance is still good protection for unexpected events not related to the pandemic, and unexpected things happen all the time (damaged venue equipment, broken bones, floods, power outages, and the like). Couples should talk to their venues about their contracts to understand all of their options in the event of a cancellation or postponement. 

 


Remember! 

 

Wedding officiants are an integral part of the wedding day, and they can help ease the stress related to a venue closure by revising and rehearsing the ceremony to suit a new venue. They can adapt to ceremony changes, practice the script with couples ahead of time, and help set the tone for a happy wedding day -- no matter where the wedding is!  

 

 

Wondering how officiants and couples connect during the pandemic? Read Does social distancing hurt communication? Here are 3 ways wedding officiants can connect with couples.

 

About the Author
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves digging into the history and magic of ritual, exploring the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She’s an advocate for marriage equality and individuality. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys easy hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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