Saying “I Do” to the Right Public Liability Policy

Peak wedding season is well under way, who would have thought it by looking at the weather? You have just sent all the wedding invitations to your friends and family; the designer wedding dress has been ordered and you have booked you caterers. You are all set for your ‘Big Day’.

But what if the marquee burns down? Or the caterer doesn’t deliver your Fiona Cairns wedding cake? Or the photographer’s equipment fails? Or the best man loses the rings?

Liability Protection On Your Big Day

Liability Insurance for Weddings

Well, there are many companies you can go to make sure you are covered if something goes wrong, from department stores like John Lewis, and Debenhams to Ecclesiastical and specialist insurers Hiscox.

Some wedding venues will not allow you to hire them unless you take out a public liability insurance policy for the day. These policies can range from an astonishing £2m to £5m worth of insurance and are likely to be more relevant if you hire a National Trust venue to hold your wedding.

One such National Trust wedding venue is The Dairy at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire – a stunning Renaissance-style château designed by French architect Destailleur in 1874 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.

Kathryn Hobbs, Marketing Assistant at Waddesdon Manor highlights the difference between hiring out a National Trust wedding venue compared to a modern one:

I would say the cost of repairing any damage to the property is likely to be higher than at for example a modern building, and many of the properties contain irreplaceable works of art, again the cost of repair to any of these if damaged is likely to be high.

If you want to hire The Dairy the minimum public liability cover you have to take out is £2m. However, according to Hobbs they are in the process of reviewing this and the level of cover required could jump to £5m.

Hobbs adds:

Public liability cover insures you against claims made by third parties during your wedding, for which you may be liable, such as: injury during your wedding (e.g. someone slips on the venue floor), damage to property (e.g. a guest damages a painting at the venue), some sort of negligence by you or one of your guests (e.g. a guest spills hot coffee over another guest).  Public liability claims can be for very large amounts of money, particularly for personal injuries.

Mike Powell, Insight Analyst for General Insurance for independent financial research company, Defaqto, said:

Weddings are very expensive and there are often many costs that have to be paid way in advance, such as placing a deposit on a venue.

Therefore it is really worthwhile to get appropriate insurance as soon as money is committed. Everyone’s situations and plans are different so consumers need to ensure that the features, benefits and levels of cover they need are provided by the wedding insurance policy that they choose.

Although price is important, it should not be the main decision making factor – the key is for people to look for the right level of product for their particular circumstances. Our Star Ratings for wedding insurance aim to help people understand where a product sits in the market, based on the features and benefits it offers.

There is huge variation in the features and cover offered by the 101 different wedding insurance products available, according to recent research from Defaqto.

  • The limit for wedding cancellation varies from only £2,500 to £70,000 with 37 per cent of policies providing cover of £25,000 or more
  • Only 9 per cent of policies will pay the full costs of rearranging the wedding; most will only pay 50 per cent or 75 per cent of the cost
  • Only 14 per cent of policies provide cover for the failure of wedding suppliers, such as caterers, to provide what has been paid for. A further 80 per cent of the policies provide cover in the event of financial failure of the supplier, such as bankruptcy or liquidation.

So what do you and your fiancé need to consider before taking out a public liability insurance policy? Well you need to be covered for every eventuality, for instance:

  • What level of cancellation and rearrangement costs do they cover?
  • What level of cover does the insurer provide if the wedding is cancelled, because of say redundancy?
  • What If the wedding venue goes into administration, what cover is provided?
  • Finally, what protection is offered by the policy if one of the suppliers, eg the caterer goes out of business, or the chauffeur or the DJ?

Nick Starling, Director of General Insurance and Health at the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says: “While wedding insurance can’t guarantee that everything will go without a hitch, it can give you the peace of mind that any unforeseen events will be covered and go a long way to easing those pre-wedding jitters. It won’t cover your other half getting cold feet, but it can reassure you that an already expensive day doesn’t become even more costly.”

“Whatever your budget is, be it the lavish spend of a celebrity bash or those on a much tighter budget, it is important to shop around and make sure you get the right policy to cover your costs and specific requirements.”

A range of competitive wedding insurance plans are available in the UK. Costs vary with provider and are dependent upon the level of cover required. The price of wedding insurance cover very much depends upon the insurance package or plan taken out. Competitive wedding insurance cover starts from less than £50. Higher levels of cover are available, and include comprehensive health and illness cover for bride and groom.”

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