Wedding concerns can include guests getting food poisoning, suppliers going out of business and much more. Nancy Wells, president of Vancouver-based WEDensure, says destination weddings have some extra concerns. For example, right before your wedding the Canadian government might issue a travel advisory to your destination, or a tropical storm could ground all flights out of town. If couples have purchased insurance, an insurer will cover the non-refundable monies.
There are a few options to choose from, including comprehensive wedding insurance to à la carte coverage.
Selecting specific products can be a good route for destination weddings as they tend to be on the simple side, says Liz Moore, the CEO of Liz Moore Destination Weddings in Kelowna, BC. “The cost of a destination wedding is about one-third the cost of a regular wedding because destination resorts generally have in-house people performing services like photography and décor. And couples don’t need to place large deposits upfront, so it’s much less of a loss if they have to cancel compared to an at-home wedding.”
The biggest expense is travel, so couples – and their guests – can elect to simply purchase the same kind of coverage they’d purchase with any vacation: medical, trip cancellation and trip interruption. Possible extras could include extra dental coverage and/or baggage insurance.
Liz says that cancellation insurance reimburses costs if travel is cancelled for medical reasons. There is also the rare case where a wedding is cancelled due to ‘a change of heart’. Companies usually offer 50 percent cancellation for any reason , giving couples 50 percent of their package back. (Talk to your insurer about specific cancellation policies and timelines.)
Liz says trip interruption coverage is important because it covers unexpected costs if there’s any sort of airline delay, such as for hotels if they can’t fly out overnight. Nancy Wells says that in addition, venues may ask couples to purchase commercial general liability or event insurance.
Liz says a destination wedding is like a group vacation. When it comes to travel and medical insurance, everybody pays for their own.
Nancy says her company’s wedding insurance includes general liability plus wedding cancellation or postponement expenses, failure of suppliers, damage to wedding attire and rings, loss or damage of wedding stationery, cake and flowers, and reimbursement of any pre-paid non-recoverable costs of honeymoon travel related to the cancellation or postponement of a wedding.
For trip medical and cancellation insurance, the cost normally runs between $120 and $160 per person, with some variation depending on factors like length of stay and type of accommodation.
For comprehensive coverage, Nancy says her company’s pricing is linked to the overall cost of the wedding. The minimum cost is $300 for $10,000 of coverage (including general liability and host liquor liability of one million dollars), with each hundred dollar increment adding another $5,000 of coverage. “So $400 would cover a $15,000 wedding, and so on.”
It’s also good to weigh insurance costs alongside your overall wedding costs. Think about how much you’re investing in your wedding and how much the extra piece of mind is worth to you.
Nancy sees insurance becoming increasingly important because people are spending so much money today on their weddings and need to protect their investment.
If you want insurance, timing is crucial. Obtain it when you start putting deposits down on any wedding purchases.
Originally published in Destination Wedding Magazine, Fall/Winter 2016.