Wedding Insurance is About More Than Getting to the Church on Time

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Roses might be red and violets blue, but it can take an awful lot of green to get married these days. According to a survey conducted by the Conde Nast Bridal Group, the average cost of a wedding in 2006 was $27,852 – up significantly from approximately $15,000 just a decade before. If that fact alone doesn’t make a prospective bride or groom run screaming into the night, it might at least put “wedding insurance” on the front burner – right up there with the jeweler, the florist and the caterer.

Not counting Daddy’s shotgun, wedding insurance is a pretty new concept, but more and more couples are opting into the plans which provide some financial protection caused by some basic events that can derail the big day, including:

* Unforeseen injury or illness on the part of the bride or groom

* Unforeseen injury or illness on the part of an immediate family member

* Unexpected military duty for the bride or groom

* Bad weather that disrupts the wedding or honeymoon

* No-show photographers or caterers.

If there’s a hitch getting hitched, wedding insurance can reimburse some of the costs that have already been paid.

“Wedding and event cancellation insurance are especially good to look at if you are holding your wedding outside,” said Tim Dodge, Independent Insurance Association of New York Director of Research and External Communications, explained. “You may be saddled with unrecoverable expenses if the weather forces you to postpone or cancel the wedding.”

There is a catch, though: run-away brides or grooms, changes of the heart or the proverbial cold feet are never covered by these plans.

Engagement rings are another area to consider. Most homeowners and renters policies only cover stolen jewelry up to $1,500. If the engagement and wedding rings cost more than that, purchasing additional coverage might not be a bad idea. Please note that most of the time insurers will require a professional appraisal of the rings before providing the insurance, however.

Considering that most wedding announcements also appear in the local paper, making sure that there is adequate insurance to cover the wedding gifts and other special – and expensive – items that might be arriving prior to the celebration, especially if the home will be unoccupied afterwards, when the couple is on their honeymoon – and make sure that the gifts are all videotaped (for the record), just in case the groom carries his bride into an unexpectedly empty home upon their return.

“When the day goes off without a hitch, the honeymoon is over and it’s time to return to real life, there are some tasks that need to be dealt with right away as well,” Dodge said, adding that after the big day – when life returns to normal, newly married couples should also remember to:

* Update all insurance policies, remembering to change the claimant/beneficiary names and status on all insurance policies, as well as other important documentation.

* Combine auto policies. Combining auto insurance into one policy may make couples eligible for a multi-car discount. Additionally, premiums for younger couples should drop dramatically upon marriage.

* Purchase life insurance. Even in the absence of children, the purchase of life insurance is essential for young newlyweds. In the event of untimely death, life insurance will help cover such debts as charge accounts and house payments. Purchasing life insurance while people are young also keeps long term premiums low.

* Inventory the home. Do a comprehensive home inventory of all valuable belongings and store it in a fireproof deposit box.