It’s a difficult time for everyone. The coronavirus has changed the world, perhaps irrevocably, but certainly in a hurry. Many of us are fearing for our lives and our loved ones. We may be facing financial uncertainty and a higher level of anxiety than we’ve ever coped with before.
But if you had a wedding scheduled this season, you’re likely experiencing a different sense of loss. The day you’ve been planning for months or even years—a unique and powerful statement of love you were poised to make while surrounded by family and friends—has been postponed indefinitely. Celebrating with distant cousins? Poof. Your sister who’s serving in the military abroad? You’ll have to wait for her tour of duty to end before seeing her again. You had your heart set on a spring wedding—with flowers and bridesmaids’ dresses to match—and now you may be looking at fall or winter. We just don’t know when all this will end.
Then there are the financial losses. Deposits paid to wedding venues, caterers, photographers, and others. We hate to say so, but good luck getting those back from wedding industry vendors who are facing devastating losses themselves in the wake of the global pandemic. Couples who hired wedding planners may be in a better position than most. They, at least, may have help doing the tedious work of contacting wedding service providers and trying to recoup the deposits they have paid. But the wedding industry has already been hard-hit. Smaller, boutique vendors, in particular, see their businesses’ survival on the line. In their hearts, they may want very much to be accommodating. But the money you’ve paid them might be long gone and unrecoverable.
American couples spent some $54 billion dollars last year on their weddings. With the average cost of a US wedding topping $34,000 in 2019, it’s no wonder some cautious brides and grooms purchase wedding insurance to protect their wedding investments. The best wedding insurance policies cover everything from hurricanes to honeymoons. They protect you in the event that a member of your wedding party or close family members falls ill. Indeed, they’re designed to protect you against a wide range of unexpected circumstances. But even couples who thought they were prepared for everything weren’t prepared for this.
The response of the wedding insurance industry to the crush of cancellation claims they are receiving has been to deny them. They are characterizing the coronavirus not as a run-of-the-mill unforeseen circumstance, but rather as an unforeseeable one, akin to an act of war or terrorist attack. Some are allowing couples to hold on to their policies and advising them to reschedule their weddings for the “same time next year.” But gun-shy couples may be hesitant to do so. Needless to say, wedding insurers are not issuing any new policies at this time.
The global pandemic is uncharted territory for everyone, not just wedding insurance companies. Some legal experts are advising couples who carried wedding insurance and were forced to cancel their weddings to hold on to their receipts. Litigation and legal decisions surrounding wedding insurers’ liability for losses incurred during and due to the coronavirus is undoubtedly around the corner. That is, when courts open for normal business again.
Article written by Susan Doktor