A new trend in insurance has arisen which seems to have its roots in Hurricane Katrina -- wedding insurance.
That's right. In many parts of the country, soon-to-be wedded couples can now insure their cake, gowns, flowers, photographs and missing bride or groom.
Although it appears this insurance is not yet available locally, it may only be a matter of time. While western Indiana doesn't get hit with hurricanes, there are a number of other natural disasters which do occur including tornadoes, floods and fires.
With weddings becoming more elaborate and expensive, it stands to reason that couples are looking into buying wedding coverage.
To an about-to be-wed emergency management director in Florida it was a no brainer. Romeo Lavarias and his fiance had a wedding set for July in 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.
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.
Bill Robbins, sales director at the Walden Inn, reports that he hasn't had anyone ask about the insurance, nor do they require it.
"It is a very clever idea on the part of the insurance companies," Robbins said. "I can also see the value of insuring an expensive wedding. The general cost of a wedding at our facility isn't as costly as those in a big city. We don't have an abundance of weddings that cost $25,000. We also work with our customers whenever a problem arises."
According to insurance industry estimates, the average cost of a wedding is around $27,000. And, the cost to insure a wedding can be anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to more than $1,000.
Typical coverage includes reimbursement for nonrefundable deposits for problems such as a death in the family or a military deployment. Some policies even cover counseling for canceled or postponed nuptials causing emotional stress.
Fireman's Fund Insurance even offers a "change of heart" clause for an additional $25 on top of the policy.
Increasingly, policies cover all sorts of contingencies. Guests get stranded by a snowstorm? No problem. Lose the wedding gown? Covered. Photographer ruins the photographs? Let's recreate them. There are even policies offering reimbursement if the bride or groom gets cold feet.
According to Fireman's Fund Marketing Representative Pamela Borden, "You can tailor your policy a la carte to fit the occasion. We offer nine coverage plans and the customer can pick the limit for each one."
The available coverage includes liability insurance, Cancellation, Weather, Photography, Gifts, Change of Heart, Loss of Deposits, International Destinations and Professional Counseling.
Other companies offering wedding insurance are We Safe Wedding Insurance, offered through Affinity Insurance Services Inc., and Traveler's Insurance, which added the coverage in February.
Lavarias, the emergency management director in Miramar, Fla., who spent $565 to insure his $75,000 wedding in July, said, "All bets are off during hurricane season. It only takes one hit."