Vow to cover your costs

Weddings can set us back by pounds 9,000. Tom Tickell looks at the case for insurance One wedding and an insurance policy

THE morning-after pill provides wedding insurance of a kind - against the need for a shotgun marriage. Demand rose by 50 per cent in Dublin after Valentine's Day was immediately followed by the Ireland-England rugby match, and one or two clinics ran out of supplies.

Spring marks the start of the wedding season - Valentine's Day is still a highly popular time for popping the question - but anyone considering real wedding insurance should be similarly aware of its limitations.

It does not cover you against getting married - just against some of the costs if things go wrong.

The old tax advantages to marrying before the end of the fiscal year have long since gone but the cost of weddings continues to horrify. The average figure is close on pounds 9,000, according to statistics carried in Wedding and Home magazine last year, and it has certainly gone up since then. The sky can be the limit with a white wedding and smart reception in the South- east.

If all goes well, the cost of a wedding may seem money well spent. But any number of things can go wrong. If they do, it can cause financial as well as personal heartache.

Fewer than 20 per cent of couples take out wedding insurance, according to a survey conducted earlier this year. Researchers found that people assumed it would cost between pounds 80 and pounds 100, whereas policies from two of the leading insurers - Ecclesiastical and Cornhill - cost pounds 36 and pounds 46 respectively.

All policies cover cancellation, if illness or death in the family forces people to postpone the wedding, or the bride or bridegroom loses their job in the run-up to the marriage.

Insurers will also pay out if the hotel for the reception is damaged or double-booked, or the priest or photographer fails to appear, and policies even cover the risk of claims for food poisoning. People can also claim for loss or damage to the wedding clothes - brides' dresses in particular.

"One couple had to postpone their wedding after the bride's five-year- old brother tried out his poster paints on her wedding dress," says Mark Bishop, of Cornhill. "Another potential husband and wife failed to become a couple because both were in the forces and posted overseas a few weeks before they were due to tie the knot."

The insurers cherish disaster stories. One bride had to arrive at her wedding on a tractor because the car-hire company whose Rolls-Royce was supposed to take her had gone bust. The odds against your photographer failing to turn up because terrorists have hijacked his car are very long. But it has happened.

All the main policies are cheap, but the potential payouts are distinctly limited. Most will not pay out more than pounds 2,500 for cancellation. You can raise the limits, but costs rise sharply if you do. Doubling the normal limit to pounds 5,000 just on cancellation or postponement will lift the cost of the Cornhill policy from pounds 46 to pounds 117, for instance.

What is more, the benefits can be much less attractive than they look. Insurers will usually pay up to pounds 1,000 if wedding presents are lost or stolen - worth

having even if the figure is low. But Cornhill and Ecclesiastical will only pay out if thieves take the gifts in the 24 hours before the marriage, or they are stolen at the reception. Most policies will pay up to pounds 500 for a ring, but compensation will only be triggered if it is stolen within seven days of the wedding. It makes sense to keep presents and wedding rings with one set of parents, who can then get an extension of their contents policy.

There is one risk no one will take on; if the bride or bridegroom gets cold feet before the wedding and calls it off, parents will just have to write off the bills. Ingenious fraudsters could probably find a way of beating the system if they didn't - or so the companies claim.

Some events are so bizarre that even insurers do not allow for them in the endless detail of their policies. When Rodney Earnshaw and Shirley Wilson heard a young priest proclaiming them man and wife at St John's in Huddersfield earlier this year, they assumed they were married. Alas, the vicar who was meant to marry them was late - and an 18-year-old on work experience had decided to fill in for him by conducting the service. That ensured the marriage was invalid - and the couple are suing the Church of England.

Would wedding insurance have covered them? Technically not, but insurers claim they would probably have paid out - if only in the interests of good public relations.

With all the potential hazards, it seems extraordinary that the vast majority of weddings go through without a hitch. Basic wedding insurance is certainly cheap, but potential payouts are relatively low and conditions can be extremely restrictive. That said, for all the caveats, it might make a decent engagement present.

q Contacts: Cornhill Insurance, 01483 68161; Ecclesiastical Insurance, 01452 528533; Jackson Emms, 01734 575491; Insurex Expo-Sure, 01892 511500; DJ Hine, 01204 385411.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Sell it with flowers: competition is 'intense' for homes with outside spaces

Gardens add a tenth to the value of your home

A London estate agent yesterday put a price on having a garden. David Pollock of Greene & Co reckons it can increase a property's value by a tenth.

Spectators at the Isle of Wight music festival watch the World Cup on the big screen. Betting promotions were a feature of the tournament
Lenders have been accused of persuading vulnerable people to borrow expensive credit

Payday loan firms accused of bombarding vulnerable people with nuisance phone calls

Payday loan firms have been accused of bombarding financially vulnerable people with nuisance phone calls, after a debt charity reported that a third of its clients were plagued by the messages.

The foundation proposed that the Government sets up a scheme to help people avoid losing their homes

Mortgages: 'Homeowners could trade down to shared ownership to defuse rate rise timebomb'

A plan to defuse a “mortgage debt timebomb” when interest rates rise is published today amid warnings that 2.3m households could struggle with their repayments.

Current accounts are too costly and confusing, says CMA as it announces investigation into Britain's biggest banks

Competition regulator to investigate market where it's hard for customers to make comparisons and the big banks' charges can be set too high
All the signs have been pointing up for buy-to-let, but there are clouds on the horizon

Buy-to-let: is it a boom or a bubble fit to burst?

People borrowing to be landlords could face the same restrictions as homebuyers, with MPs voicing fears that property speculation may be overheating the market

Moment of truth for payday lenders: Watchdog plans to curb cost of short-term loans

The chief of the City watchdog, Martin Wheatley, spoke exclusively to The Independent's Simon Read about its attempts to control the worst excesses of unscrupulous high-cost credit companies

Consumers given power to choose a green deal

How would you like to be able to choose how your electricity is made and even where it come from? It may sound futuristic and fanciful but the independent supplier Co-operative Energy has made it a reality this week.

'Scrap the trap': calls for change grow as banks are told to play fair with loyal savers

City regulator says existing customers suffer worst rates

Motor insurers divided on proposals for whiplash ban

MPs want medical evidence for claims. Will this bring higher premiums?

British Gas repays £1m for mis-sold deals

British Gas was yesterday forced to pay back £1m to its customers after mis-selling them energy deals.

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

    Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

    £600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

    The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

    Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

    £280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little