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With just four weeks until she was set to walk down the aisle, Ashleigh Post learned the celebration she and her fiancé had planned at an Ontario waterfront restaurant had to be moved elsewhere after the venue’s lease was suddenly terminated.
It was peak wedding season last July when she started calling venues in and around Hamilton to find any that could accommodate 100 people and a ceremony on little notice, but many venues are often booked up more than a year in advance.
“We ended up having to pay a lot more than we expected,” said Post, who was able to shift her wedding to another restaurant in the city and keep her wedding date.
“Because we lost the venue so close to the wedding, we had to take what we could, and that cost us.”
Post estimates the debacle cost the couple an extra $ 15,000.
The last thing a couple wants to think about when planning their big day are major mishaps, but they do occur, and insurance companies are increasingly offering policies that can cover scenarios like Post’s.
Many event venues already require the betrothed to purchase liability insurance for their shindigs, but insurers have started offering packages with coverage for items that could cost couples if the wedding is cancelled or rescheduled. That could include coverage for lost deposits, reprinting invitations, retaking photos, damaged wedding attire, lost rings or even stolen gifts.
“They’re spending enough money as it is on the wedding … The coverage is there for peace of mind,” said Matt Taylor, general manager for PAL Insurance company, which offers wedding insurance packages.
However, he added, “It doesn’t cover cold feet.”
As the cost of the average Canadian wedding increases — at more than $ 30,000, including honeymoon, according to Wedding Bells magazine’s latest survey — more couples are looking to protect themselves against losses, said Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations for Ontario with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
“You’re going to insure a new car when you buy it. You’re likely going to want to insure if you’re spending a large amount of money on a wedding and all that goes along with it, from honeymoon to invitations and everything in between,” he said.
Taylor said PAL sells between 1,500 to 2,000 wedding policies each year. Costs vary between insurers and areas of coverage, but can range from $ 130 to upwards of $ 500.
The latest to enter the fray is Front Row Insurance, which launched its wedding insurance product and an online portal for sign-ups.
David Hamilton, the chief executive of the Canadian insurance broker, which predominantly offers film production insurance, said it branched out into weddings after requests from clients.
On top of venues such as hotels and banquet halls requiring liability insurance, couples opting to host their matrimonial festivities at home may not be covered by their homeowners policy, depending on the size and scale of their celebration, he said.
Taylor said PAL has seen several claims for injured guests, which can happen when alcohol is flowing, but also during ceremonies.
Unexpected accidents — such as the case Taylor recalls of an elderly woman who slipped on flower petals strewn down the aisle and hit her head — can and do happen, and these insurance policies can cover the associated medical costs.
Claims stemming from cancelled ceremonies or problems with the wedding itself are far fewer. Taylor estimates PAL processes about a dozen each year.
Post didn’t have wedding insurance, and at the time didn’t realize that kind of coverage was available.
Although her outdoor wedding at Radius restaurant in Hamilton, in the end, was lovely, she hopes others can learn from her stressful experience.
“I am the case study for if insurance is available, then just grab it,” Post said.