Play safe: take a rain check

From fund-raising sports days to weddings, bad weather can be a disaster. But you can take cover. Paul Slade reports

Elgin Athletics Club could hardly have picked a worse day than 18 July for its 1998 highland games fund-raiser. Over an inch of rain fell on the site that afternoon, making the whole event a wash-out.

The club treasurer, Steve Down, recalls: "We've got a cinder track, and you couldn't see lanes one, two and five, because they were completely underwater. It was more like a pond. The high jump was cancelled, the dancing was cancelled. It was constantly raining, and a lot of the stallholders had asked to go home. Probably about 500 people turned up, and we usually get well over 2,000."

Down's organisation was not the only one to have its big day ruined by rain this summer. England and Wales had 125mm (5 inches) of rain in June, against a June average of just 65mm. July's rain was lighter than the month's average, but persistent. Andy Yeatsman, a Met Office spokesman, says: "On average, you'd expect to see rain every other day in June and July, whereas this summer so far, we've seen it on all but two days".

Fortunately, Elgin Athletics Club had insured its Highland Games against rain. The loss of gate receipts meant the club raised no cash from the day, but at least the insurance payout allowed them to break even. The club paid Eagle Star a premium of pounds 192.66 to secure a pounds 2,000 payout under the company's Pluvius policy. This would be triggered if more than a tenth of an inch of rain fell on the site between the crucial hours of 2pm and 5pm.

John Lear, Eagle Star's rain expert, says the company has received as many rain claims for events in June as it would normally expect to get in a full year.

Pluvius policies - named after the Latin word for "rain" - cover about 3,000 events a year. Elgin Athletic Club's cover was what insurers call an "agreed value policy". Lear says: "People insure against a certain amount of rainfall, perhaps during the important hours of the event. If it rains X amount, we pay."

Premiums for this cover depend on when and where the event is. For cover of pounds 2,000, lasting three hours, Eagle Star's August premiums range from pounds 192 in London or Leeds, to pounds 317 in Keswick, Cumbria. This cover would pay out in full if at least 0.15 inches of rain fell during the crucial period.

When assessing whether enough rain has fallen to trigger a successful claim, Eagle Star not only relies on Met Office data; it may also lend the organisers a rain gauge. Just in case the organisers are tempted to top up the gauge to safeguard their claim, Eagle Star insists it is read by a pillar of the local community, such as a policeman or a vicar.

Lear says: "I've been doing this job for eight years, and I've had to question only three readings."

A few people take out Pluvius insurance for their wedding day, but most rely on specialist wedding cover instead. These policies, which include an element of bad weather protection, work very differently. The weather has to be bad enough not just to ruin the day, but for the "whole ceremony" to be cancelled. The insurer will pay out if gale force winds blow the reception marquee into the next county, or if flooded roads mean that more than half the guests are unable to get there.

Ron Barnot is a product development officer at Methodist Insurance, one of the companies with a specialist wedding plan. He says: "We're talking about extreme conditions. I don't think you could call the rain we've had in the last two months extreme by any means. It has just been persistent."

If weather hits the bride or groom's own travel arrangements, that may be good enough. Barnot says: "We had a claim in January from the north east of Scotland, where the groom would have been prevented from reaching the church if he hadn't hired a four-wheel-drive vehicle. We paid for the hire of the four-wheel-drive."

Methodist's wedding insurance package will cost you anywhere from pounds 40 to pounds 190, depending on how much cover you want. The basic cover will pay out up to pounds 2,500 for cancellation, plus up to pounds 3,750 to cover loss or damage to wedding clothes, photographs, rings, cake and presents.

These other aspects of wedding insurance can prove handy even for problems you could never have foreseen. One Methodist Insurance policyholder successfully claimed pounds 188 to pay for emergency wedding photographs, when the photographer dropped dead half-way through the ceremony.

But there is one unforeseen event that even the best wedding plan will not protect you from. If the bride or groom gets cold feet and flees, this counts as what Barnot calls "disinclination to proceed", and is excluded in the small print.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas