Imagine, just a few short weeks before your wedding, you wake up to learn your venue has declared bankruptcy, shut its doors without warning, and all but stolen your deposit. This was a very real scenario for thousands of couples across the United States when NOAH's Event Venues nationwide suddenly closed.
Similarly, a few weeks ago I saw a post in a Facebook group from a bride who got off a red-eye from Chicago to Phoenix only to learn that during the flight her venue had burned to the ground. The place was ash and the helicopter footage from the news was heartbreaking. She thought everything was ready to go and now this joyful season has been thrust into unnecessary chaos.
This, my friends, is why you must have event insurance! More specifically, event cancellation insurance.
WAIT, "EVENT INSURANCE" IS A THING?
Yep! I'm always surprised at how few people (including vendors in the industry) know of its existence. Event insurance is exactly what it sounds like: Insurance that covers various losses as they relate to your event. In fact, your venue may actually require you to purchase a policy.
THE BIG THREE
There are three (3) main "types" of event insurance.
LIABILITY: Protects you if property damage or bodily injury occurs during your event. It’s not uncommon for venues to require clients to obtain a single-day policy up to $1,000,000.
LIQUOR LIABILITY (HOST / RETAIL): An addition to general liability insurance. Offers protection from claims arising from the service of alcohol in a social setting. For example, if a person served at an event you host causes property damage or injury to themselves or others.
CANCELLATION: This can reimburse you for lost expenses or deposits if your event has to be cancelled or postponed for circumstances beyond your control like severe weather, unsafe conditions or serious illness. It can also reimburse some of the cost if a vendor suddenly goes out of business and keeps the deposit.
MORE ON CANCELLATION INSURANCE...
The real benefit of event insurance comes in the form of cancellation coverage. Depending on your policy, circumstances that may be covered under a cancellation policy include:
Your venue burns to the ground and you have to find a new one
Date transfer fees for other vendors and/or reimbursement for retainers if they are unavailable on your new date
Yourself or future spouse are active military and deployed requiring postponement
Photographer ghosts after the wedding and fails to deliver your photos
A leak in your apartment paints your wedding dress with your upstairs neighbors bathwater. (Enjoy that visual)
What it typically doesn’t cover:
Change of heart regarding a venue or vendor
Execution of an inclement weather plan for anything other than extreme weather (think hurricane vs. rainy day)
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Cancellation insurance will run anywhere from $180 - $550. Your premium is based on the limits you select. Make sure the policy offers adequate coverage for your overall wedding investment and know your deductible (both overall and by category) before purchasing.
On the other hand, a $1M general liability policy, including host liquor liability, can typically be purchased on its own between $125-$175. Be sure to check your venue’s contract to confirm the policy meets their coverage requirements.
WHOA! THAT'S A SOLID CHUNK OF CHANGE!
Yep! You wouldn’t buy a house or drive a car without being insured because the level of liability isn’t worth it. You are investing thousands in this event and, whether we like it or not, life happens. Having insurance means investing a few hundred bucks to protect the thousands you stand to lose if something goes wrong.
WHERE CAN I BUY IT?
The most common place to purchase special event insurance is online. Specialty insurers like WedSafe, The Event Helper, and WedSure offer policies.
You may be tempted to avoid the additional cost and rely on existing coverage through your renters or homeowners policy, but buyer beware! In the unfortunate event of a claim your personal insurance will take the hit; impacting premiums or insurability for years down the road.
WHEN SHOULD I BUY IT
ASAP. Ideally, you should have insurance as soon as you book your first vendor. The sooner you have coverage in place, the sooner you’re protected from loss. Insurance is not retroactive. You can’t purchase a policy after an incident and expect to be protected. Usually companies have a minimum number of days prior to an event that insurance must be purchased (e.g., 30 days before your wedding) so don’t wait too long!
DON’T FORGET THE HONEYMOON
Look into travel insurance. If a volcano blows in Bali interrupting your plans and forcing you to make other arrangements you want to be protected...I might be speaking from experience.
SO...WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Have I convinced you that cancellation insurance is worth the expense? Did you even know this service existed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Also, if you or someone you know has been affected by the NOAH's Event Venue closures please have them contact me directly. I am offering FREE venue matching services and/or consultations to help them file claims against event insurance policies. The community of Columbus wedding professionals take the commitment to our couples seriously and we have rallied the troops to help.