How does wedding insurance work?

It can cover the cost of your wedding if you need to cancel, or if something else goes wrong like one of your suppliers fails to fulfil their commitments.

It also protects against damage or theft to your wedding attire, gifts, cake, flowers and can cover the cost if you have to retake your photographs or if you have a problem with your wedding cars.

Wedding insurance can give you valuable protection, especially if your big day costs a lot of money.

What does wedding insurance cover?

Cancellation or rearrangement

Most insurers cover the cost of cancellation or rearrangement if:

  • Your venue has been damaged by fire, flood or another disaster

  • The bride, groom, civil partner or a close relative dies, is ill or injured

  • Any booked and paid for professional suppliers do not turn up

  • The wedding clothing is damaged and cannot be used

  • You are made redundant at least eight weeks after buying your policy

  • The officiating minister or registrar does not turn up

  • Bad weather means the wedding party and guests cannot reach the venue

Problems on the day

You will also be covered for individual things that go wrong leading up to your wedding, or on the day itself, including problems with:

  • Suppliers: This covers the cost of arranging alternative suppliers, and any deposits you have paid, if your supplier cannot provide their service on the day.

  • Wedding clothing: This covers the cost of replacing or repairing any wedding attire, like the bride or groom's outfit and bridesmaid dresses, that has been lost or damaged while in your possession.

  • Photographs and videos: This covers the cost of retaking your photos or video if your photographer does not show up, or if they lose or damage the film.

  • Cars and transport: This covers the cost of arranging alternative transport and any deposits paid if your hired car cannot get you to the venue.

You can also claim if you lose or damage certain items, including:

  • Wedding gifts

  • Wedding rings

  • Flowers

  • Wedding cake

You also get third party liability cover. This covers any claims against you following an incident that results in an injury, or damage to someone else's property.

Check the terms and conditions of the policy to see if there is a time limit for you to make a claim. For example, you may not be able to claim more than 48 hours after your wedding day.

Specialist cover options

There are extra cover options you can add to your policy if you need them, like:

Ceremonial sword cover: If you use ceremonial swords as part of your wedding, you can protect them against loss or damage.
Marquee cover: If you hire a marquee for your wedding, you can add this to cover the cost of repair, and the cancellation of your wedding if the marquee is damaged.
Overseas cover: If your wedding is taking place abroad, you can include this cover to extend your policy to cover you in a foreign country.

What does it not cover?

There are some things wedding insurance will not protect you against that you should be aware of before you buy a policy:

Getting cold feet

If you or your fiancé decide you no longer want to get married, cancellation will not be covered by your insurance.

You also cannot claim if you decide that your wedding is too expensive and you cannot afford to pay for it.

Your honeymoon

Most wedding insurance policies do not offer cover for your honeymoon.

Some wedding insurers offer to add cover for your honeymoon, but you will probably get better protection by shopping around for a separate travel insurance policy.

Your hen or stag party

Any arrangements made for your hen or stag do will not be protected by your wedding insurance.

If you are going abroad for your party, make sure everyone going has travel insurance.

Poor goods or services

You cannot claim if any of the services you receive do not meet your expectations, for example, if you are unhappy with the photos, or the food is burnt.

If this happens, you should complain to whoever provided the service and ask for a refund. Here is how to complain about poor service.

Other exclusions

Every wedding insurance policy includes a set of circumstances where you cannot claim. These are called policy exclusions, and include:

  • A death, injury or illness that results from a condition you knew about

  • If any pre-booked service goes out of business within 14 days of the policy starting

  • Any theft where items were left unattended

  • Any third party liability claims if your wedding is taking place in Canada or the USA

Every policy sets different exclusions, so check the documents carefully before you buy so you know what you can claim for.

When should you get wedding insurance?

Purchase a policy as soon as you start making any bookings or pay any deposits. For example:

  • Booking your venue

  • Buying a wedding dress

  • Ordering a cake

Most policies let you take out a policy up to two years before your wedding, so it is worth getting it sooner rather than later.

However, make sure you know how much your wedding is likely to cost so you get the right level of protection, otherwise your policy might not cover the costs.

How much will wedding insurance cost?

It depends on how much you are spending on your wedding. The more you spend, the more expensive the policy you need will be. Most wedding insurers offer a choice of cover levels, with a set claim limit for everything they cover.

For example, a basic policy could offer up to £5,000 for cancellation, but a premium policy could give you up to £100,000 of protection.

Work out how much you will spend (or have spent) for each area and make sure you choose a policy that can refund the cost if you need to claim.

You could pay anything from £20 to £300 for a policy depending on the insurer and the level of cover you choose.

You pay for wedding insurance as one payment, and policies start from when the cover is taken out, and end once your wedding is over.

Most insurers let you take out a policy two years before your wedding, so you can get cover well in advance of your big day.

Why get wedding insurance?

There are many things that could happen that mean your wedding day has to be cancelled or rearranged.

For example, the venue could go out of business or a member of your wedding party or close relative could fall ill and be unable to attend.

Without insurance you could lose all of the money you spent on your wedding. You may have some protection if you paid by credit card, but this will not cover everything wedding insurance can.

Section 75 can protect any payments you make by credit card between £100 and £30,000, but it only covers certain scenarios, e.g. if your venue goes out of business.

You should also think about whether the peace of mind of knowing you are protected if anything went wrong is worth the cost of buying a policy.

What cover do you need?

Wedding insurance policies offer fixed amounts of protection, so work out how much your wedding costs by using a budget tool and then find a policy that gives you enough cover.

For example, if the total cost of your wedding is £20,000, get a policy that offers at least this amount of cover for cancellation or rearrangement].

The lower the cover limits offered, the cheaper the policy will cost. Most insurers offer several different policies, and each one has different cover limits, for example:

CoverBasic policyMid-level policyPremium policy
Cancellation£5,000£30,000£100,000
Failure of suppliers£2,000£15,000£50,000
Wedding rings£1,500£10,000£15,000

How to make a wedding insurance claim

Before you make a claim, check that what you want to claim for is covered by reading your policy before you contact your insurer.

You should get all the information you need together before making your claim, including:

  • Your policy number, which will be shown on your documents

  • Details of any loss or damage and how much the claim is for if known

  • Police crime reference number if applicable, e.g. if something was stolen

  • Names and addresses of anybody involved in the incident, including witnesses

You will have a better chance of your claim being sorted quickly if you can give your insurer all the information they need straight away.

What you should do when making a claim

If you need to make a claim on your policy, you should:

  1. Call your insurer: Use the claims line number shown on your policy documents to contact your insurance company and tell them what has happened.

  2. Complete a claims form: If you receive a claims form, fill it out with all the details of what has happened.

  3. Return the form with any supporting information: You will need to send your claims form back with any supporting evidence or documents.

Most insurers give you 31 days to make a claim, but the sooner you contact them the sooner they can cover your costs.

Evidence you may have to provide

To assess your claim and work out how much it will cost, your insurer may ask you to provide evidence, including:

  • Original receipts, invoices, bank or credit card statements

  • Purchase dates and location of lost or damaged property

  • Confirmation from a qualified expert if something is beyond repair

Your insurer should cover any reasonable costs you face to get any specific information they have requested, e.g. paying to get any damage assessed.

They may also ask to meet with you to discuss your claim, inspect any damage or to undertake further investigations.

How your claim will be paid

It depends on what you have claimed for, but most insurers will settle your claim by:

  • Paying out the cost of the claim to you, for example if you have paid for a venue that goes out of business

  • Covering the cost of the claim directly, for example paying the venue for damage caused by you or your guests

Ask how the claim will be settled when you call your insurer.

Paying an excess

If your claim is accepted you will have to pay an excess. This is an amount set out in your policy that you pay towards the cost of the claim.

Most insurers set an excess of around £50 for all claims, which will be deducted from the pay out you receive.

If they settle the claim for you, you will need to pay the excess to your insurer. Before you claim you should check your policy to see what excess you need to pay.

If your claim is rejected

If your insurer rejects your claim but you have checked your policy and feel it is valid, you should contact them to complain.

If they do not offer to change their decision you could ask the financial ombudsman to assess your claim.