The military lifestyle can make wedding planning difficult. While surprise deployment and PCS orders are becoming less common, the Covid-19 pandemic has created additional uncertainties and obstacles to planning large events.
To head off financial threats, planners recommend wedding insurance.
Table of Contents
- What is Wedding Insurance?
- Why You Should Consider Wedding Insurance if You Are in The Military
- What Wedding Insurance Covers
- What Wedding Insurance Does Not Cover
- Tips for Getting the Best Military Wedding Insurance Policy
What is Wedding Insurance?
Wedding insurance is basically special event insurance. Different policies provide varying levels of financial protection against unexpected occurrences that might delay or prevent a rehearsal dinner, ceremony, or reception.
USAA spokeswoman Rebekah Nelson said USAA’s special event policies protect members from unexpected financial loss for situations beyond their control.
These can include vendor bankruptcy, extreme weather, or deployment. It may also include an accident or illness of the event host or an immediate family member.
Why You Should Consider Wedding Insurance if You Are in The Military
Weddings are expensive events, so it’s worth taking precautions against unexpected factors, said wedding planner and military spouse Bree Carroll.
She said knowing what protections vendor contracts and policies provide can help military couples feel more empowered as they navigate changes to their big day.
“Covid-19 is truly an impact on most 2020 and 2021 wedding rescheduling reasons,” she said. “However, insurance companies are treading lightly on this issue.”
Carroll cited the insurer WedSafe’s position.
In a statement, WedSafe Vice President Steve Lauro said the company handles coronavirus claims on a case-by-case basis “to properly assess what coverage is applicable to each bride and groom, due to the endless variables and scenarios that can arise.”
Lauro added that every policy is different, and couples should read their terms and conditions carefully and contact the company with any questions.
Most of all, he said, couples should do everything they can to stay well before their wedding.
Carroll also said wedding insurance is especially a good idea if one or both spouses serve in a rapid deployment combat unit or frequently get called up for short missions, work travel or state emergency duties.
It may also be a good idea if a military family is scheduled for a permanent change of station near the wedding date.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” Carroll said. “Every military spouse must keep an eye out for what’s happening in the world – the other shoe can drop at any moment,” she said. “But we’re grateful that that (deployment) scheduling is becoming more predictable.”
What Wedding Insurance Covers
Most wedding insurance policies cover vendor bankruptcy, inclement weather and damaged or lost clothing or wedding rings, according to Nelson. For military couples, wedding insurance may also cover the withdrawal of leave or unexpected deployment.
However, coverage varies by provider, policy and type.
There are two types of military wedding insurance policy: event liability insurance and event cancellation insurance.
Types of Wedding Insurance
- Event Cancellation: Protects policyholders from lost deposits and nonrefundable fees due to cancellations, postponements or other unexpected circumstances.
- Event Liability: Protects policyholders in the event of property damage or injuries at the event. Some policies may include host liquor liability for alcohol-related incidents.
Nelson said event liability insurance is particularly important if you’re having a wedding in an area where accidents may occur, and many venues require it.
One couple used their USAA policy to cover legal damages after a pedestrian was injured passing through their downtown reception venue. wedding.
“The couple worked with the city and the reception venue to ensure they followed all the precautionary steps that were required,” Nelson said.
What Wedding Insurance Does Not Cover
Event liability insurance usually won’t cover intentional acts or activities that policy excludes. Nelson said many policies exclude the use of firearms, animals, and “amusement devices” like bounce houses or ATVs.
Check with your insurance provider for a complete list of exclusions.
Event cancellation insurance won’t cover “foreseen” circumstances or situations in the policyholder’s control – like if the couple decides to cancel the wedding.
Nelson said coverage for cancellations due to infectious disease pandemics or epidemics – including COVID-19 – is still uncommon.
Review your policy language carefully for pandemic coverage details.
Wedding Insurance Pricing
Nelson said event liability insurance starts as low as $75 at USAA, but pricing depends on the policy’s limits, including liquor liability. Event cancellation insurance can start as low as $130.
“Wedding insurance fees are a small part of a wedding’s cost and can protect you if something goes wrong,” Carroll said.
How to File a Military Wedding Insurance Claim
Filing a wedding insurance claim is similar to filing a homeowners claim, Nelson said. You’ll need to contact your policy carrier to start the claim process.
Tips for Getting the Best Military Wedding Insurance Policy
When you’re shopping around for wedding insurance, don’t forget to ask providers if they have a military discount.
Pay close attention to differences in price and coverage.
Carroll said the laws that cover wedding vendor contracts vary by state, so you should reach out to a wedding planner when you’re negotiating contracts.
This is especially critical if it’s a destination wedding.
Carroll suggested “linking language” in a wedding insurance policy with the language in the vendor service contacts so that the two work together for the best event protection.
“One of the things I advise clients to do is to be aware of how they are covered with vendor and venue contracts versus their insurance contracts,” Carroll said. “For example, the major expenses of a wedding are typically the venue and food costs. If you have to change your date abruptly due to deployment, illness, or other circumstances, you may have flexibility within your vendor/venue contract to pivot to a new plan.”
If you’re flexible, changing your event plans can get you a lower insurance rate.
“It’s quite doable to plan a smaller, more intimate event that is just as meaningful as a large ceremony with many guests,” Carroll said.