There has been a huge increase in wedding insurance enquires in recent months as a result of the continued spread of coronavirus, COVID-19.
Many couples are naturally concerned about the impact of the potential spread of the disease and the effect this may have on their wedding plans. Not only is there the emotional investment that has gone in to planning the big day, but there are usually some large deposits at risk too.
Whilst we’re unable to comment on wedding insurance policy specifics or whether any particular policy or insurer would or wouldn’t cover a particular set of circumstances, we can look at the situation in general terms and how wedding insurance might help.
What are the current rules on weddings?
At the time of writing, weddings ceremonies and receptions are able to take place, albeit with a significantly limited number of guests.
In England, weddings with up to 30 in attendance (that number includes the bride, groom, officiant, photographer…) have been able to take place since 4th July, however, from 28th September this number will be reduced to 15.
The Scottish Government is advising a maximum number of 20 attendees at ceremonies in Scotland. Receptions should follow the same rules as social gatherings.
In Wales, the number of guests that can be safely allowed for indoor ceremonies should be determined by the venue. Receptions are limited to a maximum of 30 guests.
In Northern Ireland, the number of ceremony guests is also determined by the venue.
What if there is an issue with our venue?
Generally, if there’s an issue with the venue, for example they cancel or, if there’s a local ‘outbreak of infectious or contagious disease’ there, you may be covered by your wedding insurance for cancellation or rearrangement.
However, any “ban” on weddings (specifically, a ban on public gatherings) is a ‘Government Act’ excluded in the small print of many wedding insurance policies.
In the first instance, speak with your venue and see if you can make arrangements to postpone your wedding to a later date.
If rearranging isn’t possible, you may be entitled to a refund as a result of a ‘frustrated contract’ – the venue hasn’t specifically cancelled but can’t fulfil their contractual obligations for reasons beyond its control.
Where payments were made using a credit card, you may also have a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
What if one of our family members is ill?
Where weddings are able to go ahead, if you or a close relative is ill and unable to attend on the day, you may have cover under your wedding insurance policy.
What if we choose to not go ahead with the wedding?
Whether your wedding is here in the UK or abroad, if you choose to not go ahead with it due to concerns about Coronavirus, your wedding insurance policy is probably not going to cover you. This is a situation known as ‘disinclination to marry’ and is no different to simply changing your mind or getting ‘cold feet’.
What if there’s a problem with our honeymoon?
Honeymoons are generally not covered by a wedding insurance policy. You’ll need separate travel insurance for that.
The same logic applies though as choosing not to go ahead with your wedding. If there’s specific Government advice to avoid travel to that country or region, then you may be covered by your travel insurance policy. If you choose not to go though, then it’s likely you won’t be able to make a claim.
When will wedding insurance be available again?
Most UK wedding insurance providers haven’t been selling new policies since mid-March while they assess the impact of the virus and potential claims arising from it. Existing policyholders are unaffected though and their policies are still valid. We’re not certain when the general sale of wedding insurance will resume – this is dependent on the underwriters reviewing risk and potentially adjusting new policy premiums and terms to reflect that.
Where providers are still selling new policies, this is clearly indicated on our wedding insurance comparison table.
Obviously, this is a rapidly developing situation and we will keep this page updated as more information is available. As always, please read specific policy wording carefully and speak to your insurer if you’re worried about a particular situation being covered.
This article was first published on 4th March 2020. The most recent update was on 23rd September 2020.