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Wedding insurance

Find out what it covers and slash costs

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By Tim Evershed | Edited by Sam D

Updated Monthly

wedding insurance

Weddings and civil partnerships are an expensive and emotional business – the right ring, perfect dress, dream venue – and that's before the food, cake and guests. With potentially huge costs you should carefully consider if you need insurance.

This guide explains the basics of insurance for a wedding or civil partnership (which are treated exactly the same way), what it covers and how to get it cheaply. Also see our 50 Cheap Wedding Tips for more ways to save on the big day.

This is the first incarnation of this guide. Please tell us your experiences in the wedding insurance discussion.

Wedding insurance explained The 10 need-to-knows

You've popped the question, they've said yes (hoorah!) and now it's time to start planning and paying for the big day. But with the average wedding costing £20,500, should you fork out for insurance to cover it? Before we get going it's vital to understand what wedding insurance does and doesn't cover. In a nutshell...

Wedding insurance covers a problem with the venue or a supplier, or a key wedding party member falling ill. It does NOT cover a change of heart.

There's lots more to consider so our need-to-knows will help you decide whether you need it or not.

Only get wedding insurance if you'd be left out of pocket if something went wrong

The kind of policy you buy, or even if you buy it at all, turns on how much you're spending on the big day and what kind of wedding you've planned.

Not every wedding is the size of an Elton John bash, so if you could easily rearrange it on your own, then wedding insurance isn't a must (see our 50 Cheap Wedding Tips for lots more ways to save).

However, if the financial and emotional stress of rearranging would be too much, insurance will be worth a look.

Venue cancellation and supplier failure are the two main reasons people buy wedding insurance; policies start from £19 for weddings of £3,000 and go up to £300 for £100,000 weddings.

wedding insurance

Insurance usually covers venue or supplier failure, key people falling ill, NOT cold feet

All wedding insurance policies are different so always check the small print. But as a rule of thumb, here's what policies typically DO cover.

The venue goes bust or cancels on you

A supplier lets you down

You cancel because key people can't make it due to illness, accident or death

Lost, stolen or damaged... wedding rings, flowers, cake, outfits, gifts

If photos and videos don't turn up

Personal liability and legal expenses

Watch out, though: the following are typically NOT covered by standard wedding insurance policies.

Cold feet

Cancellation if only a small part of the day goes wrong

Cancellation due to financial difficulty, other than redundancy

Pre-existing conditions that cause cancellation

The following are typically not covered on more basic policies but you can sometimes pay extra to get them added.

If bad weather ruins the experience

Marquee cover

Ceremonial swords

Public liability

Quick question

Is my money protected if my insurer goes bust?

Paying by credit card gives some protection but isn't a substitute for insurance

Anything bought worth between £100 and £30,000 on a credit card is covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which makes the card provider liable if something goes wrong. Even if you only pay a deposit (for the venue, for example) by credit card and the rest in cash you're still covered for the whole cost of hiring the venue. See Section 75 refunds for more information.

Yet it doesn't cover certain elements that insurance does, such as someone falling ill or personal liability.

You may also be able to get your money back through a scheme called chargeback, if you paid on your debit card or for an item under £100 on a credit card.

However, this is nowhere near as strong as Section 75 because it's just about the Visa/Mastercard/Amex process, which is nowhere near as weighty. You also can't take the issue to court if your bank won't pay. For full details see our Visa, Mastercard & Amex Chargeback guide.

Your home insurance may give you a small layer of protection

A successful claim doesn't always mean cash in your pocket

Smaller mishaps, such as rotting flowers or ripped suits, usually trigger a single payout for the cost.

But if the problem's so severe – say, your venue has flooded – that the wedding has to be rearranged, then your insurer may instead arrange an alternative wedding, so you won't actually be paid any redress, it'll just sort out the new Big Day.

Notice the emphasis on the words usually and may, as there's no one definitive rule; it can vary by insurer.

Don't forget on any claim there's an excess to pay. For example, say your wedding flowers are a write-off when they arrive: you might typically be entitled to £2,000 cover but have to pay a £25 excess, so only get £1,975 back.

You can buy up to TWO years in advance

wedding insurance

The sooner you buy your wedding insurance the sooner you're covered, should something go wrong and you need to cancel, postpone or get a refund for one element of the wedding.

It doesn't cost any extra to book earlier and you can buy most policies from two years before the wedding date up until around a week, or sometimes 24 hours, before – even if you've already paid for deposits.

This means you'd be covered should the venue be destroyed in a fire a year before your wedding date, or if a serious illness set in for a family member six months before the ceremony.

Getting wed overseas? Grab a specialist deal

If you're shunning the possible rain-filled skies of Britain for sunnier climes you're not alone – John Lewis says 8% of weddings it insures are abroad, with Italy, France and Greece the most popular destinations.

To be insured for this, ensure you check the terms of your policy so it covers you abroad, as not all do. It typically costs from about 10% extra but can be more. For example, with Leisure Guard it's £19 for UK weddings of up to £3,000 and £27.80 for overseas weddings with £3,000 cancellation cover.

It's also worth noting that for overseas weddings some parts of the policy might not be included – such as public liability for weddings in the United States or Canada – so always check the small print before you buy. Also see our Cheap Overseas Travel Tips to cut travel costs.

Planning an extravagant stunt or fireworks? Hire a professional or pay extra

If you're planning to mark your celebration with a special stunt such as a firework display, don't let your drunk uncle take charge – and cause £1,000s of damage.

Most wedding insurers won't cover firework displays but you may not need to pay extra for it if you've hired a reputable firm with its own cover.

A professional company – and many charge no more than £800 for a half-hour display – will not only bring the know-how to make the display a success but will also carry its own public liability insurance, often with millions of pounds of cover, in case something does go wrong.

If you plan something even more exotic with fire – and many ceremonies do use fire in a limited capacity – always check with your insurer to see if it'll cover you for a higher premium.

Using a trusted supplier lowers the risk

To lessen the risk of something going wrong and ruining your day, it's important you pick reliable companies when you put your wedding together. If your venue is a multi-billion pound hotel chain you'll be less likely to worry about it going bust, though it's still not risk-free.

Get personal recommendations and do your research on suppliers, such as looking for reviews on the internet. Other practical tips include scanning the MSE forum for ideas and looking up local Facebook groups and forums for tips and recommendations. Two specific wedding forums worth checking out are You and Your Wedding and Hitched.

Get everything in writing and keep receipts

Keep a record of everything you book in writing, make sure you have written agreements or contracts with your suppliers and get receipts for everything you pay for. You may need to dig these out when making a claim.

Jot down the dates of when each full payment is due, to ensure you don't lose deposits or lose track of suppliers.

You need travel insurance for the honeymoon

If you've got wedding insurance this WON'T cover you for your honeymoon. You'll need to buy separate travel insurance, as you would with any holiday.

And like with any trip, always buy cover as soon as you book so it covers you for cancellation or anything else that might go wrong BEFORE your honeymoon. For full help and to find the best buys, see our Cheap Travel Insurance guide.

wedding insurance

Cut the cost of wedding insurance

If you've read through the need-to-knows and think wedding insurance is right for you, follow our step-by-step plan to getting the best possible cover for the best price.

Step 1 is essentially the prep, then pick the best policy you can from steps 2-4, and see if you can get cashback on top (step 5).

wedding insurance

Step 1: Work out how much your wedding will cost

Before you even start looking for wedding insurance policies, make a list of all the things you're planning to spend money on, to get the total cost. It's vital you do this anyway for your budgeting, but insurers put their different types of cover into bands, depending on the total cost of the wedding.

It's important to get it right so you're not left under-covered. Say you break your £20,000 budget and spend £30,000 but were only insured for the original sum; if you had to cancel, you'd only be covered for two-thirds of the cost.

To avoid this, ensure you tell your insurer if the cost rises unexpectedly during the planning stages, though you may have to pay to increase the cover level. Don't include items you won't need insurance for, though: if you plan to settle a large drinks bill run up on the day, leave it out of your costing.

When picking a policy, ensure what you're spending most on is adequately protected. While some couples will want to go all out on the food, others will splash out on attire and photos, so make sure your biggest concern is covered.

Step 2: Grab a benchmark price from a comparison site

Wedding insurance isn't on any of the main comparison sites and the only one to offer a small comparison is CompareWeddingInsurance.org.uk. This is a good starting point but several large wedding insurers such as John Lewis are excluded.

Step 3: Check out our best buys

Next step is to try a range of insurers that may not all be on comparison sites and that meet our minimum criteria. If you have positive or negative experiences of using these, or know of other insurers we should be mentioning, please let us know.

Best buys: Top picks for weddings up to £10,000

Policy Price Cancellation incl venue failure (1) Supplier failure Attire Photos & video Gifts (2) Rings
Dreamsaver (Gold) £37 £10,000 £5,000 £5,000 £5,000 £5,000 £5,000
Weddingplan (Gold)* £36.15 £10,000 £6,000 £4,000 £4,000 £3,000 £2,500
Covermywedding.co.uk (Three Star) £34.99 £10,000 £5,000 £5,000 £5,000 £5,000 £4,000

(1) Venue failure that causes the entire wedding to be called off is included under cancellation. If invoked, you may still need to pay other suppliers of the original wedding even though it won't go ahead as planned, but the insurer should pay for replacements for the new date.

(2) With the gift element, check the maximum limit per gift and for cash/voucher gifts (usually much lower). Rings, flowers and cake usually fall within the same policy element for payouts, but do double-check.

Best buys: Top picks for weddings up to £20,000

Policy Price Cancellation incl venue failure (1) Supplier failure Attire Photos & video Gifts (2) Rings
Dreamsaver (Platinum) £77 £20,000 £10,000 £7,000 £7,000 £7,000 £7,000
Weddingplan (Diamond)* £46.37 £12,500 £7,000 £5,000 £5,000 £3,000 £3,000
Weddingplan (Diamond +)* £72.30 £17,000 £8,500 £6,000 £6,000 £3,000 £4,000
John Lewis (Level Three)* £101.50 £20,000 £10,000 £10,000 £10,000 £6,000 £6,000

(1) Venue failure that causes the entire wedding to be called off is included under cancellation. If invoked, you may still need to pay other suppliers of the original wedding even though it won't go ahead as planned, but the insurer should pay for replacements for the new date.

(2) With the gift element, check the maximum limit per gift and for cash/voucher gifts (usually much lower). Rings, flowers and cake usually fall within the same policy element for payouts, but do double-check.

Best buys: Top picks for weddings up to £30,000

Policy Price Cancellation incl venue failure (1) Supplier failure Attire Photos & video Gifts (2) Rings
Dreamsaver (Diamond) £104 £30,000 £15,000 £10,000 £10,000 £10,000 £10,000
Weddingplan (Platinum)* £72.30 £22,000 £11,000 £7,000 £8,000 £6,000 £5,000
Covermywedding.co.uk (Four Star) £69.99 £25,000 £6,000 £5,000 £6,000 £6,000 £5,000
Debenhams (Platinum) £100.20 £25,000 £6,000 £5,000 £6,000 £6,000 £5,000

(1) Venue failure that causes the entire wedding to be called off is included under cancellation. If invoked, you may still need to pay other suppliers of the original wedding even though it won't go ahead as planned, but the insurer should pay for replacements for the new date.

(2) With the gift element, check the maximum limit per gift and for cash/voucher gifts (usually much lower). Rings, flowers and cake usually fall within the same policy element for payouts, but do double-check.

Best buys: Top picks for weddings up to £100,000

Policy Price Cancellation incl venue failure (1) Supplier failure Attire Photos & video Gifts (2) Rings
Debenhams (Diamond)* £205.58 £50,000 £27,500 £25,000 £27,500 £12,500 £12,500
Weddingplan (Premier +)* £206.59 £65,000 £35,000 £10,000 £22,000 £10,000 £10,000
John Lewis (Level Six)* £299.50 £100,000 £50,000 £50,000 £50,000 £15,000 £15,000

(1) Venue failure that causes the entire wedding to be called off is included under cancellation. If invoked, you may still need to pay other suppliers of the original wedding even though it won't go ahead as planned, but the insurer should pay for replacements for the new date.

(2) With the gift element, check the maximum limit per gift and for cash/voucher gifts (usually much lower). Rings, flowers and cake usually fall within the same policy element for payouts, but do double-check.

Step 4: Get quotes from brokers

If you've time, brokers can give advice on what policy to pick, and they often have connections with various insurers so might be able to offer you a special deal.

Your best option will be to find a broker who's a member of the British Insurance Brokers' Association, who'll be able to help you find the right product. You could also try Unbiased.co.uk or VouchedFor.

If you've had a positive experience with a broker please let us know in the forum to help others find a good one.

Step 5: Look for cashback

Once you know your cheapest price, hunt down any cashback deals. If you're new to cashback sites, make sure you read our Top Cashback Sites guide for pros and cons before using them. Otherwise, use the Cashback-Sites Maximiser tool to find the highest payer for each insurer.

What to do if an insurer wrongly refuses a claim

If your wedding insurer rejects your claim and you think it has done so wrongly, don't take it lying down. First complain to it directly then if you don't get a response within eight weeks, complain to the free Financial Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman is an independent adjudicator that will make the final decision on a claim if you're locked in a dispute with your insurer. For more on how to make a complaint, read our Financial Rights guide.