If anyone knows the value of a good insurance policy, it's Romeo Lavarias. As the director of emergency-management operations for Miramar...
DENVER — If anyone knows the value of a good insurance policy, it’s Romeo Lavarias.
As the director of emergency-management operations for Miramar, Fla., Lavarias has seen his share of disasters. So it was a no-brainer when his fiancée, Stephanie Goldstein, suggested buying insurance for their July wedding, set during the upcoming hurricane season.
“My job is to prepare our city in the event of a disaster, so naturally, this is right up my alley,” said Lavarias, whose city was hit by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
With weddings becoming ever more elaborate and expensive, more couples are opting to buy wedding coverage. Natural disasters aside, many reception facilities now require liability coverage for out-of-control celebrations. Wedding planners often require insurance, too, in case of cancellations.
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Increasingly, policies cover all sorts of contingencies.
Lost the bridal dress? No problem. Guests stranded by a hurricane or a snowstorm? Covered. Photographer ruins pictures? Piece of cake to restage. There is even a policy that offers reimbursement in case the bride or groom gets cold feet.
Fewer than 1 percent of the betrothed purchase policies in the United States, said Kyle Brown, executive director of the Bridal Association of America in Bakersfield, Calif. But given that the average cost for a wedding is $27,000, according to insurance-industry estimates, Brown thinks it’s a good buy.
“For 1 percent or 2 percent of the cost of your entire wedding, you can insure it,” Brown said.
Depending on the company and the type of coverage, a policy can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to more than $1,000.
Typical coverage can include reimbursement of nonrefundable deposits in the event of a death in the family or a military deployment. Some policies cover repairs for a damaged dress or replacement of lost wedding attire, theft of wedding gifts, and the cost of gathering wedding-party members to retake photographs and videotape.
Policies also can pay for some counseling if canceled or postponed nuptials cause emotional stress, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York.
Even a “change of heart” can be insured in a special option that Fireman’s Fund Insurance began offering this month that costs about $25 on top of the policy. It’s for those who pay for a wedding only to see the groom or bride back out, said insurance broker Rob Nuccio of RV Nuccio and Associates, who wrote the option.
“Oftentimes, there is an innocent person involved in that. There is the poor father who lays out 50 grand and he’s just left dumbfounded,” Nuccio said.