By Meagan Phillips | Published September 14, 2023

As originally published on Marry Me Tampa Bay

Predictions for the 2023 hurricane season have recently been published. With the devastation from Hurricane Ian still fresh in our minds, it is recommended that couples protect their wedding investment with wedding insurance.

Hurricane season runs June 1st through November 30th, which means that weddings taking place almost half of the year are at risk. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting 12 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).

So, what happens if a tropical storm or hurricane hits, causing your wedding venue to shut down, what if your parents can’t catch a flight to Florida to see you get married, or what if your bridal shop is damaged from a storm before your wedding date and your dress gets ruined?

There’s wedding insurance for that.

What Hurricane Scenarios Could be Covered?

Cancellation or postponement of the wedding may be covered if a hurricane were on its way to ruin your special day*. If your vendors or your venue didn’t refund your contracted deposits due to the cancellation, our policy can potentially help reimburse the lost money to you so you can begin planning another date. While in some cases it is very easy to determine that the hurricane will hit your city on your wedding date, you never know when a storm might make a last-minute path change that could impact your day. Purchase your policy well in advance of your event date to ensure appropriate coverage is in place.

* Exclusions apply if the policy is purchased within 14 days of the event date.

If you lived in Tampa Bay in 2022 during Category 4 Hurricane Ian, you’ll remember how suddenly the storm changed its course. Initially predicted as a direct hit for Tampa, instead the historic storm made landfall in southwest Florida before continuing its devastation across the state. Everyone scrambled to acquire last-minute supplies and many areas underwent mandatory evacuations. Weddings were suddenly canceled as people began driving to cities not in Ian’s path.

Special Event insurance coverage can potentially help if this happens to you or if roads are suddenly closed due to: the extreme weather; a state of emergency is declared, or if your venue can’t open due to the storm.

Coverage for cancellation or postponement may also apply If the couple or their immediate family is unable to make it to the wedding due to travel impediments caused by the hurricane, due to flight cancellations.

If the hurricane isn’t as severe as expected, and you’re able to hold your wedding, but find out that a vendor is closed due to the storm or can’t deliver the contracted services, (such as a bakery that can’t make your cake due to no power), coverage may be available for lost deposits if they chose not to refund you.

Our policies may also protect you from loss if the hurricane strikes well before your wedding date but causes you financial loss. An example of this would be the extreme damage Texas experienced after Hurricane Harvey. This storm damaged homes and businesses alike, and bridal dress shops and alteration stores were left with ruined dresses when the hurricane subsided.

What Mistakes Do Couples Make When it Comes to Getting Hurricane Coverage?

In 2017, many people were trying to buy a wedding insurance policy after they had found out that Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria was heading their way. Couples scrambled to prepare last minutes in 2018 for Hurricane Michael, and unfortunately, many weddings were impacted in 2022 when Hurricane Ian made its arrival. To have extreme weather coverage, policies need to be issued at least 14 days in advance of the event date, at a very minimum, catastrophic weather event coverage will not apply once they are known events.

Even if your wedding is not during hurricane season, it is possible your venue can become severely damaged or may not have power for weeks due to the storm. This can lead to cancellations for months to come while the venue undergoes repairs. Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused so much devastation in islands popular for destination weddings that plenty of weddings were canceled during and after hurricane season while the islands rebuilt their infrastructure.

A wedding is an investment and the start of a life-long journey; don’t wait until the last-minute to protect your investment. Purchasing wedding insurance sooner rather than later gives you peace of mind from the start of your wedding planning until the day itself.

How Much Does Wedding Insurance Cost?

Through the Wedding Protector Plan, cancellation/postponement  coverage typically begins at $160, which will cover a wedding that costs up to $7,500. As the national average for weddings is closer to the $25,000-$35,000 range, policies that will adequately cover that amount will be typically $249 for $25,000 in coverage or $300 for $35,000 for Florida residents*. If your budget is higher or lower than this, we have very affordable coverage for weddings of all budgets.

While many of our claims arise from money lost to vendors or the venue due to uncontrollable circumstances, we offer optional liability and liquor liability that can be added to the policy. Some venues nowadays are even beginning to require that you carry liability coverage on the day of the wedding in case a guest has an accident or damages something on the property. If you need this coverage, liability begins at only $165 for a $1,000,0000 General Aggregate, and you can add this coverage to your cancellation/postponement coverage policy through us.

*Subject to change

What Can Be Covered?

Our policies offer protection for the contracted payments you have made to your venue and contracted vendors, such as your DJ, caterer, florist, photographer, bridal shop, etc. If these vendors happen to go out of business, not show up to the wedding, or don’t deliver the services you’ve paid for and outlined in your contract, our policy can help pay you back the deposits you’ve lost to them and can even help you pay for a replacement vendor.

Unfortunately, vendor-related issues topped Travelers’ 2022 list of wedding mishaps at almost one-third (31%) of paid claims. An example is when a national bridal dress shop, closed numerous stores nationwide, leaving many dress orders unfulfilled. With the unstable economy affecting the financial stability of a variety of businesses, it’s smart to insure your deposits.

The cost of the wedding is also protected if you had to cancel or postpone the wedding due to catastrophic weather events, such as hurricanes, or venue unavailability, such as your venue double-booking or getting damaged during a hurricane and closing for repairs. Our policies can cover the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, and post-wedding day brunch. * The costs for all these events should be factored into the level of coverage you are purchasing.

The optional liability and liquor liability coverage can protect the couple if a guest has an injury on-premises and sues the newlyweds, or if someone breaks something at the venue and the couple has to pay for those damages.*

*Subject to policy terms, conditions, and exclusions.

When Do I Need to Purchase It?

We recommend purchasing a policy as soon as you begin putting deposits down for your wedding. Unfortunately, we have heard many stories about venues that continued booking weddings even though they were in the process of foreclosing or had begun the process of selling the venue to new owners that may not honor previous event bookings.

We have also heard plenty of tales of couples who paid a vendor a deposit and then were never able to get back in contact with that business. Once you have already found out that you have experienced a financial loss, it is too late to have coverage for that circumstance if you have not purchased a policy.

Insurance is designed to protect against unforeseen and uncontrollable losses that occur after you have purchased a policy. We can issue policies up to two years in advance of the wedding date, and we always recommend purchasing the policy sooner rather than later.

If you are not sure whether you need liability coverage for your venue, but you’ve already put a deposit down, you can purchase the cancellation/postponement coverage so your deposits are protected for potential losses like a venue or vendor bankruptcy, and you can add liability and liquor liability coverage onto our policy up until a few days prior to the wedding.

Offered through Travelers, the Wedding Protector Plan provides wedding insurance coverage for the ceremony, reception, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and a post-wedding brunch without a deductible. There’s also the option to add liability coverage for the many other things that could go wrong. With last year’s devastation from hurricanes, wildfires, and other storms fresh in everyone’s mind, and with venues increasingly requiring insurance, find out how wedding insurance can protect your special day. Get a Quote or Purchase A Policy when the wedding planning begins.

The information in this post is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions, and limits of the actual policy. Nothing in this post alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. Please read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts, and deductibles are subject to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria and state availability.

As COVID-19 is a known infectious disease and presents circumstances that may reasonably give rise to cancellation and/or postponement of your event, coverage will not be afforded in any way for such circumstance.