Wedding Insurance: Protection From 'I Do' Mishaps




By Katie Little, Special to CNBC

NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- Irene Rios-Knauf and her husband spent a year planning their August nuptials, but they didn't expect one raucous wedding crasher -- Hurricane Irene.

Purchasing wedding insurance was also absent from the West Haven, Conn., couple's checklist.

"At no point did we even think about getting insurance," David Knauf said. "We figured, 'We have a building. We're going to have a wedding.' When in fact we had to cancel, we were thinking, 'Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?' We did a lot of scrambling."

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Wedding insurance has become an increasingly popular option after several high-profile instances of severe weather disrupted bridal plans last year. A shaky economic climate has also fueled interest in the policies.

The average price of a wedding climbed last year to hit $27,021, according to the Real Weddings Survey, and in some regions, it can cost more than double that price. The escalating costs are prompting many couples to turn to wedding insurance to protect these hefty investments.

Travelers ( TRV) is one of several companies that offer policies to help couples recoup lost expenses when bridal plans go awry. Premiums vary depending on the level and type of coverage that couples-to-be choose to buy. Policies typically cover lost expenses related to severe weather, sickness, vendor or venue problems, attire damage and military deployments.

"When you think of the $25,000 investment, buying a car for $25,000, you'd never think of not insuring it," said Chantal Cyr, vice president of Travelers Wedding Insurance. "I think people are just much more aware of needing to protect their financial investments."

Since the economic downturn, wedding insurance has attracted more attention from brides and grooms who are walking on financial tiptoes.

"Cancellations are coming through venues literally taking your money a year before the wedding, and they may have already filed for bankruptcy, and they're not going to tell you," said Rob Nuccio, president of R.V. Nuccio & Associates, the program administrator for Fireman's Fund wedding insurance.