Wedding Insurance and COVID-19
There has been a huge increase in wedding insurance enquires over the past two years as a result of the continued impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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.
While the current situation is much better than it was a year ago, COVID-19 is still circulating and still remains a risk.
Where can I buy wedding insurance?
Many UK wedding insurance providers stopped selling new policies in March 2020 while they assessed the impact of the virus and potential claims arising from it. Given the volume of claims, underwriters have been cautious and not all providers have resumed sales.
Covermywedding: Policies available to buy.
Dreamsaver: Policies available to buy.
Wedinsure: Policies available to buy.
Debenhams Wedding Insurance: Policies not available to new customers.
Emerald Wedding Insurance: Policies not available to new customers.
John Lewis Wedding Insurance: Policies not available to new customers.
Weddingplan: Policies not available to new customers.
Wedding Insurance Solutions: Policies not available to new customers.
Does wedding insurance cover COVID-related issues?
For new policies purchased at the time of writing, we are aware of the following:
"Coronavirus (including COVID-19) cover for cancellation or rearrangement in the event of death or sickness of the marrying couple or a relative (as defined) within 10 days of the wedding date is available as an optional policy extension. Cover is subject to the marrying couple or relative all being fully vaccinated."
"COVID-19 cover for death, serious illness and self-isolation (as required by law) is included as standard for the marrying couple and/or the marrying couple's (step) parent(s), grandparent(s), (step) children, grandchildren or siblings."
"We will cover cancellation due one or both of the Marrying Couple (and/or the Marrying Couples (step) parent(s), grandparent(s), (step) children, grandchildren or siblings) serious illness/death or if they are required to legally isolate due to government law or regulation following a positive Covid-19 Diagnosis which prevents their participation and/or attendance as planned in the Wedding Ceremony and/or Wedding Reception."
What if the venue or a ban on weddings forces us to change our plans?
Any ban (specifically, a ban on public gatherings) is likely to be a 'Government Act' excluded in the small print of many wedding insurance policies.
If you need to change your wedding plans, speak with your venue and suppliers in the first instance and see if you can make arrangements to postpone your wedding to a later date. Most are being very accommodating although with so many couples having to change their plans, you may have to compromise and work around available dates.
If rearranging isn't possible, you may be entitled to a refund as a result of a 'frustrated contract' - the venue or supplier hasn't specifically cancelled but can't fulfil their contractual obligations for reasons beyond its control. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have published some great guidance on wedding services affected by COVID-19. It's definitely worth a read if you're running into issues here.
Where payments were made using a credit card, you may also have a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
If you've exhausted the above options then turn to your wedding insurance provider to see if you might be able to make a claim under your policy.
What if one of our suppliers has gone out of business?
Following an exceptionally difficult couple of years and, with the industry having lost an estimated £430 million as a result of cancelled or postponed weddings in December 2020 alone, many suppliers are struggling.
If one of your suppliers has unfortunately ceased trading, consider making a Section 75 claim or, failing that, turn to your wedding insurer to try and recover any lost payments.
What if one of our family members is ill?
If you or a close relative is ill and unable to attend on the day, you may have cover under your wedding insurance policy. Check your policy terms to see exactly what is and isn't covered.
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 wont be able to make a claim.
What are the current rules on weddings?
At the time of writing, weddings ceremonies are able to take place in all four UK nations.
Wedding ceremonies and receiptions can take place with no limit on the number of attendees, both indoors and outdoors. That number applies to COVID-secure venues and outdoor private gardens.
Should Tier 4 'Stay at home' restrictions apply at any time, receptions must not take place and ceremonies would be limited to just 6 people.
You will generally not be required to check the NHS COVID pass of wedding attendees, but there are some criteria that would require the checking of passes, particularly if you have more than 500 guests indoors.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions can take place in Level 0, 1, 2 and 3 areas. In Level 4 areas, only ceremonies are permitted. Numbers are limited to 200 in level 0, 100 in Level 1, 50 in Levels 2 and 3, and 20 people in Level 4. These numbers assume the venue can accommodate that many people with physical distancing in place. This means that in some cases fewer people will be able to attend than the legally permitted maximum.
Since December 26th 2021, indoor events with 100 or more people standing or 200 or more people seated have not been permitted but weddings are exempt from those limits.
The number of guests that can be safely allowed for indoor ceremonies should be determined by the venue. Where Level 4 restrictions apply, ceremonies may still take place, however, receptions are not permitted.
The Welsh Government advises all people attending a wedding to take a lateral flow test beforehand.
The number of guests allowed at ceremonies and receptions is generally determined by the venue.
Obviously, this the situation is continually developing and we will keep this page updated as more information is available. As always, please read specific wedding insurance 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 11th October 2022.
CompareWeddingInsurance.org.uk is a trading name of Leyton Solutions Limited.
Registered in England and Wales, Company number 7022117. Registered address: 86-90 Paul Street, London, EC2A 4NE.
Leyton Solutions Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Emerald Life Limited, Insuremore Ltd, UK Oasis Group Ltd and Voyager Insurance Services Ltd who are all authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Leyton Solutions Limited is also an Introducer Appointed Representative of Blue Insurance Limited who is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for UK business.