published Friday, August 24th, 2012

Biz Bulletin: Should you purchase wedding insurance?

Jim Winset

Q I am in the midst of planning my wedding and will attend the Bridal Affair on Aug. 30. My question, is it worthwhile to buy wedding insurance?

A Nobody wants to think of the possibility of getting jilted on their wedding day. The day is supposed to be magical. But as smart shoppers know, anything can happen...even on your Big Day. From a sudden cancellation to stolen gifts to a damaged gown, wedding insurance can help protect you against the unforeseen, and can also afford you great peace of mind.

Wedding insurance also can cover a wide range of prospective problems such as vendor no-shows, cancellations, inclement weather, military deployment, medical emergencies, travel delays and more, so that you will not lose money if plans have to change.

Better Business Bureau and wedding planners recommend investing in wedding insurance before your special day. When looking to invest in wedding insurance, BBB suggest taking the following tips into consideration:

• How much does wedding insurance cost? A basic insurance policy that covers loss of photos, videos, attire, presents, rings, and deposits usually costs between $155 and $550, depending on the amount of coverage you want. General liability insurance, which covers up to $1,000,000 for accidents, costs around $185.

• Do you really need wedding insurance? Before you buy wedding insurance, check with your each of your vendors to see how well they are covered. Make sure to check that they are a reputable business via their BBB Business Review at www.chattanooga.bbb.org. Your reception site or your caterer may also have their own insurance. You do not want to pay for overlapping coverage out of your own pocket. Make sure to get everything in writing and ask your vendors for a copy of their policy and understand if you are fully covered.

• When should you get wedding insurance? Typically, the sooner the better. As an example, you put a deposit on your wedding reception hall 12 months prior to your wedding date and then it burns to the ground a few weeks before the big day. With wedding insurance, you will be sure to get your deposit back. Make sure you know how far in advance you can purchase the insurance, some insurance companies have limitations.

n What does wedding insurance cover? Problems with the site, weather, vendors, key people, sickness, or injury are the top concerns come wedding day. There is usually a specified maximum amount, which can be claimed under each section, and a deductible also applies. Be sure you know and understand the details of your insurance plan.

Get answers to your questions each Friday from Jim Winsett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Inc., which serves Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia. Submit questions to his attention by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN, 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at dflessner@ timesfreepress.com.

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I'm the author of a budget wedding planning guide, Budget Wedding Secrets: How to Have a $30,000 Wedding for Less Than $10,000 available at www.budgetweddingsite.com, and I totally agree with you that it's a good idea to have wedding insurance. I bought liability insurance when planning my son and daughter-in-law's wedding to protect against guests falling at the wedding site (outdoors) or inside at the reception site, or the possibility of guests drinking too much and having an accident on the way home. After all the planning and preparation of a mostly do-it-yourself wedding to save money, the last think you'd want is a lawsuit! I consider the cost (a little more than $300) money well spent for peace of mind. I also added my son and daughter-in-law, the bride's parents and my ex-husband and his wife on the policy because it didn't cost any extra and all our names were on the wedding invitations. Might as well protect everyone!

August 24, 2012 at 10:19 p.m.
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