For sale: Wedding Dress. Worn once by mistake,’ read an ad. But alas! Not all mistakes can be corrected if it is an expensive wedding.
The wedding season peaks from late October to early December each year. With couples and families going the whole hog when it comes marriage ceremonies, weddings are easily one of the biggest financial events in our lives. It is time for celebration, unbridled fun and hope of a beautiful future together. But, Uncertainties have a way of spoiling things. Just like for your health, car, home and accident, a wedding can also be insured. As Indians warm up to the idea of destination weddings and marriages costing a bomb abroad, discerning customers are going for wedding insurance in droves. DNA Money spoke to industry experts on wedding insurance and its nitty gritties.
Conservative estimates put the size of the wedding market in India at Rs 1 lakh crore. Weddings require serious financial muscle. A Matrimony.com survey reveals that over 20% of females plan to spend Rs 10-20 lakh and 6% respondents said they are going to spend Rs 20-40 lakh on the wedding. These numbers go up significantly if we are talking about destination weddings and overseas weddings.
Risks like the cancellation of wedding & postponement due to fire and allied perils, damage to property (venue of a wedding), a personal accident of family members, and third-party liability bodily injury/property damage at the time wedding event etc. can turn your world upside down.
Naturally, wedding insurance is finding takers today. “Yes, awareness about wedding insurance is increasing. Insurance agents are helping increase awareness. We have also observed that various wedding planner companies have started offering insurance protection as part of their wedding packages. We are seeing a rise in wedding package policy by 4-5% year on year, sum insured is in range of Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore,” says Easwara Narayanan, chief operating officer, Future Generali India Insurance.
Wedding insurance is usually taken in cases when the overall budget of the wedding goes beyond Rs 25 lakh. Overseas wedding insurance is in demand due to the high cost of wedding, sum insured often ranges between Rs 1 crore to Rs 7 crore, adds Narayanan.
“Wedding insurance currently in India is widely opted by High Net worth Individual (HNI) and celebrities as the wedding bills in such cases are high. With large people opting for destination weddings, the sum insured opted by these customers are on the rise,” remarks ICICI Lombard chief of underwriting claims and reinsurance Sanjay Datta.
With a large portion of Indian customers opting for destination weddings, there is a huge spur in abroad destinations. “Travel companies have come out with special packages to help customers plan their destination weddings. The wedding expenses in such cases are comparatively higher than compared to weddings in India. Average sum insured for weddings abroad are 30-50% higher compared to Indian destinations,” points out Datta.
It is important to understand how wedding insurance works if a claim happens. For instance, there is a cancellation or postponement of the wedding ceremony due to fire & allied perils including earthquake at the venue, or burglary & theft at the venue. Or, a wedding was cancelled due to sudden failure of the named persons (usually bride, groom) to appear for the wedding due to death, personal injury, or illness resulting in hospitalisation a few days prior to the printed declared wedding date.
During such times, wedding insurance may cover expenses like advances for marriage hall, cooks, catering, purohits/pandits, beauticians, decorators, travel/accommodation reserved for bride/ bridegroom/ guests, music parties, photos/ videography, entertainment programs transport, or flowers. Mrin Agarwal, founder at Finsafe and co-founder at Womantra, says: “The policy does not cover cancellation/ postponement if one of the parties changes their mind, or there is bandh/civil unrest.”
Kidnapping of the named person leading to wedding cancellation is also not an admissible claim.
Given the large expenditure incurred on printing cards, advances paid to the caterer, hotel, airline bookings, etc it is advisable to take a wedding cover, recommends Agarwal.
Bhupesh Kumar, head – strategic accounts & executive vice president, Global Insurance Brokers wants consumers to understand that wedding insurance usually helps to protect financial loss of proven additional costs or expenses reasonably incurred which are non-recoverable and in case wedding gets cancelled/ abandoned. “The claims can arise due to set damage, adverse weather conditions, riot/strike/civil commotion in destination city of the wedding being scheduled,” he adds.
Direct physical loss/ damage caused to property insured due to standard fire and allied perils including earthquake, burglary and theft is covered. At that time, the claim amount will depend on the sum insured basis cost of decoration and shamiana, hired sets, jewellery, precious metals and stones, appliances etc. Valuation certificates, bills may be needed for jewellery, precious metals, and stones to be covered.
Narayanan of Future Generali India Insurance says wedding insurance etc., has not received the desired level of penetration in India. “Wedding in India is considered to be an auspicious occasion and people would not like to even remotely associate it with misfortune. Such mindsets generally disappear over time when the value proposition is clearly established,” he reasoned.
ICICI Lombard’s Datta says so far claims reporting has largely been stable over a long period.
Do note that wedding insurance coverage may not include losses/cancellations due to expected seasonal rains, storms, due to disputes between bride, groom, family, friends etc., loss or theft from unattended venues or vehicles, loss of money in the insured premises where such money was stored other than in a safe or strong room etc.