Wedding insurance: will you get your money back because of COVID-19?

Mid-March we uninvited elderly relatives to our son's Birthday party because we knew coronavirus was coming. Meanwhile friends and family members were wondering what that meant for their planned weddings.

At the beginning of March, many people were starting to think they should consider postponing their wedding - or knew they had to because of their own need to sheild. However, the country was still open for business and so any decisions made by a Bride and Groom to cancel were completely to be made by them.

That is, until the country went into lockdown - and suddenly, depsite the disappointment, a weight was lifted for many because it meant their venue was closed and so they couldn't have their wedding. From a financial point of view, this made a huge difference - it meant they were more likely to be eligible for a refund if their venue couldn't honour their commitment any longer, rather than it being a case of a Bride and Groom cancelling and them being the ones to break the contract. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of horror stories about people losing lots of money, but the official lock down - and presumably wedding suppliers' own insurance companies - did help.

Right now though, the world is in a little bit of flux. We do seem to be coming out of lockdown, and it is expected that some venues will be able to open in July. But there are many people who still won't be comfortable with going to events, or won't be able to due to their own health, not to mention the countless couples who had expected to celebrate with elderly or vunerable guests who won't be able to attend right now. The other issue is that whilst venues may open again, they will probably need to do so with social distancing measures in place - meaning they can't welcome as many guests as they would normally. Where does that leave you if you've paid for a wedding for 100 guests and now you're committed to that date because the venue is still open but you can only have 50?

The first thing to do is to talk to your wedding suppliers. Before you reach for the phone to call your insurance company, have an open and honest conversation with your suppliers. Remember this is their livelihood so whilst you're stressed because it's your big day, they're stressed because they're wondering how they'll feed their kids. Everyone would rather it worked out for the best, so just discuss it and see if any arrangements can be come to.

If you just can't agree on things with any providers, then now's the time to give your insurance company a call and see what they can do. Read the small print of your contract beforehand and have a list of things you want to ask them infront of you when you make the call. Try considering outcomes - if you ask your question and they reply with X, what will be your next question? But if they reply with Y, what will you ask next instead? Keep in mind that if they can reimburse you for anything, it'll likely be things that you've completely lost - so things that are date specific, or things you've been told can't happen... a wedding dress you've ordered and can use at any time in the future or a wardrobe full of wedding favours probably won't be covered.

Overall the main thing is not to panic! Whatever boat you're in, you're unlikely to be in it alone. The world is having to feel it's way through this new way of life and so there will be plenty of other people in the same situation as you.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

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