With this policy, I thee wed

As costs rise, vow to insure your big day. Sam Dunn reports

With the average wedding costing £11,000 by the time you've hired the reception venue and paid for the outfits, flowers and honeymoon, it isn't unromantic to ensure that no part of the big day is left to chance.

With the average wedding costing £11,000 by the time you've hired the reception venue and paid for the outfits, flowers and honeymoon, it isn't unromantic to ensure that no part of the big day is left to chance.

With costs rising, the take-up of wedding insurance is becoming more wide- spread as couples consider the possibility of a sudden illness forcing them to call off the ceremony, or a double-booking at their reception venue, or caterers letting them down at the last minute. In the event of such disasters, they should at least be able to recoup some of the costs.

Research from Churchill Insurance confirms that planning a wedding is second only to buying a house in the stress stakes. Mike Ramsay, Churchill's wedding specialist, says the most common claims on insurance policies are for the loss of rings before the service, for stained and torn wedding dresses, and for double-booked venues.

Many insurers don't offer this type of cover. The best way to find those that do is via the internet or the adverts at the back of wedding magazines.

Andrew Hale runs wedding-service. co.uk, which offers an insurance package in association with the Manchester broker Hine. Premiums are payable as a one-off fee of between £48 and £125. The standard plan offers cover of up to £5,000 for cancellation of the ceremony; up to £2,000 for damage to outfits; up to £1,500 for damage to, or loss of, the wedding video or photographs; and up to £1,000 for loss of wedding rings.

Although marriage is on the decline, 286,100 couples took the plunge in 2001, and insurers are beginning to realise that there are plenty of rich pickings to be had in this market. "[Wedding insurance] is not a price-sensitive product because people just want to make sure their big day goes well," says Stephen Bradley, director at broker UKinsurancenet, which processes between 50 and 75 applications each month.

Marks & Spencer Financial Services (M&SFS) set up its own wedding insurance service in February 2002 and allows customers to buy policies instore or online. (It also offers the services of a stress counsellor via a telephone hotline.) There are four levels of cover, with premiums costing from £54 to £185.

"The average claim is for about £2,000 but claims range from as little as £15 to £20,000," says Liz Neild, spokeswoman for M&SFS. "Our most frequent claim is for damage to outfits - red wine stains and hats being crushed. Contract disputes are common, too, where the photographer might fail to turn up."

M&SFS is one of five recommended wedding insurance brokers on the website wedding-insurance-options.co.uk, which also lists Ecclesiastical, E&L Insurance, RK Shipman and Alder Broker Group. The website allows you to compare policies and find the deal that suits you best.

Another factor behind the rising popularity of marriage insurance is the trend towards unusual wedding locations. UKinsurancenet's Mr Bradley believes that couples who do something different are more likely to insure their big day.

While you can insure against nearly all eventualities, there is one that cannot be covered. Mr Hale of wedding-service.co.uk warns: "Getting cold feet is not insured for, and neither is one of the couple running off with somebody else. Essentially, the only thing you cannot insure for is a change of mind."

The top 10 claims

* Wedding attire damaged.

* Retaking of wedding photos.

* Cancellation due to an illness or bereavement in the immediate family.

* Caterers failing to turn up at reception.

* Wedding rings lost.

* Wedding transport failing to turn up.

* Cancellation due to venue being double-booked.

* Public liability and property damage.

* Wedding presents lost or stolen.

* Food/car suppliers going out of business.

Source: E&L Insurance

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

    £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

    Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

    £23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links