Insurance 101: What Happens If My Wedding Is Cancelled Due To Coronavirus?

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You’ve been planning your wedding for months, maybe even years, and now, if your nuptials are in the next few weeks or even months, you might find that your big day is suddenly in jeopardy thanks to the spread of the Coronavirus.

Yesterday, in the Republic of Ireland, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that gatherings of more than 100 people should be cancelled until March 29th. In the UK, there have been no such guidelines issued, but there’s still an underlying feeling of panic, fear and confusion, that’s left many people uncomfortable attending large gatherings. 

All of this has of course had a knock-on effect on the wedding industry and many soon-to-be bride and grooms are now faced with the possibility of their big day being cancelled as a result. 

We spoke to one bride who was due to get married next Friday (March 20th) and now faces a tricky decision. “Our venue basically told us we could either postpone the wedding without losing our money or cut our guest list in half, cutting it to 100 guests,” explains Jessica, 29. “We’re absolutely devastated and feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. We could postpone, but where does that leave us with all of our vendors and suppliers? We’ve already put down deposits and in some cases made payment in full, and it’s unlikely that should we postpone we would get a date to suit everyone. The other option, of course, is to cut the guest list, but I don’t know where we’d even begin to cut over 100 people out. How could you choose? We’ve worked so hard to bring together a day with all our loved ones – to think that so many of them would no longer be able to go is absolutely devastating. We’re still trying to decide what to do but have been warned by the hotel that this is a developing situation and that everything could be up in the air again after the weekend.”

If you find yourself in a similar predicament to Jessica, what should you do? We got some answers.

What about my wedding insurance?

If you already have an insurance policy covering your wedding, then great, but you’ll need to go back and read the fine print. The majority of existing policies should cover couples if the worst happens and coronavirus throws a spanner in the works of their big day. However, some have a clause that makes them exempt from paying out, should there be a law or a change in regulation. In this case, that would refer to the current ban on large groups assembling. To get clarity, the very best thing to do is to call up your provider or visit their website – by this stage most should have a specific note on their wedding pages outlining what’s covered and what’s not. Fortunately, most existing policies should be unaffected.

Is it too late to take out a policy now?

Several providers, including John Lewis, Debenhams, Emerald Life and Wedding Plan Insurance have already released statements saying that due to the Coronavirus outbreak they are unable to accept any new applications for wedding insurance. At the time of publishing, WedInsure (wedinsur.co.uk) were still offering cover (starting from £29), but on a limited basis. A statement on their website explains that “cancellation or rearrangement due to any claim relating to travel bans, flight cancellations or government acts such as a ban on social gatherings” would not be covered. 

So where does all this leave couples who are hoping to soon tie the knot?

As difficult as it may be, it’s important not to panic or to rush into a decision you may not be happy with down the line, such as cutting your guest list or moving to another date. Coronavirus is a developing situation, and is liable to change over the coming weeks, so the best thing you can do is, keep the lines of communication with your venue and suppliers open, and get crystal clear on what your insurance policy (if you have one) covers.  

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