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OFF BEAT: Couples say 'I do' to wedding insurance

Posted On: Jan. 21, 2014 12:00 AM CST

Worried about something spoiling the wedding? There's insurance for that.

With the cost of the average U.S. wedding topping $25,000, more and more couples are saying, “I do,” to purchasing specialized event cancellation coverage to protect against every possible mishap — ranging from not getting to the church on time to extreme weather conditions.

One anxious mother of the bride, Cheryl Winter, paid $500 to Hartford, Conn.-based Travelers Cos. Inc. to cover her daughter's $50,000 wedding last October in New Orleans, where her biggest concern was a potential hurricane.

Fortunately, the weather cooperated, but the limousine reportedly never showed up, so her daughter ended up taking a taxi to the church. Ms. Winter tapped the insurance to recoup the deposit she had paid for the limo.

Wedding insurance recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. The first policy was issued in 1993 by Novato, Calif.-based Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., when the average wedding cost $16,000. Travelers introduced its Wedding Protector Plan in 2007. Several other insurers also offer the coverage.

Travelers reports that issues with providers account for about one-quarter of the claims filed under its wedding policy. In 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, 58% of Travelers' claims had to do with problems with the photographer or videographer, and 21% of claims involved a caterer. Some 11% of the claims involved the disc jockey, while 5% involved the wedding planner, according to Travelers.