Wedding Insurance - What is it and do you need it?
You might have heard on the news yesterday that one of Melbourne's most popular wedding venues (The Willows) has closed its doors and gone into liquidation. Couples have lost thousands and thousands of dollars, including one of my own couples for a wedding later this year. It's unlikely that any of those couples will get any of their money back, and that breaks my heart. Dan and I saved, and saved, and saved (and then took out a loan) to pay for our wedding, and I would have been devestated beyond belief if this had happened to us.
The worst has happened - now what?
For those of you who have been affected, or in case it happens to you in future - what does this mean for you? Will you really get nothing back?
When a company goes into liquidation (which is what happened with The Willows) they are essentially saying they can't meet their debt obligations, and are flat out broke. This means that a liquidator will be appointed, to help the company finish up and pay the people it owes money to in an orderly and fair way.
Couples have lost thousands and thousands of dollars, including one of my couples for a wedding later this year. It's unlikely that any of those couples will see those funds again - any money that the company has will go firstly to pay off any secured debts the company has (mortgages, loans etc), and in the order they are registered. Any money that is left over will then be used to pay off unsecured creditors (including couples) either in full, or if there are insufficient funds to repay everyone the full amount then amounts will be paid on a pro rata basis (you'll get a percentage back) and worst case scenario - nothing.
If you have paid money to The Willows in the last six months, you may be more likely than others to get your money back, and you should seek legal advice (I can recommend Lanham Lawyers).
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
When I got married, it honestly didn't even occur to me that one or more of my vendors could close up shop between now and then, but in the aftermath of The Willows closing down I'm kind of realising how silly that was.
Weddings are an expensive beast, and my heart breaks for all those couples who now have to save (or get loans) and find new venues and basically plan a whole new wedding.
So - what can you do??
One useful thing to come out of The Willows closing down, is that I've learned wedding insurance is a thing; and it's a thing you should definitely consider.
Can you even imagine being $17,000 out of pocket, with slim hopes of ever getting that money back???
If you are like me, and had no idea this was an option, I've put a few tips together (as well as listed a few insurance providers) to get you started.
WEDDING INSURANCE - What is it, and do you need it?
If the closure of The Willows has taught me anything, is that yes - yes you do.
Depending on your insurer, you can get wedding insurance to cover you for a range of things, like:
- a venue/vendor going out of business (including photographers, florists, wedding transport);
- you, or a family member, getting sick/injured, resulting in you needing to cancel/reschedule your wedding
- damage to your venue/vendor equipment (including marquees);
- wedding documents going missing;
- personal laibility (someone getting injured at your wedding and suing you for the costs/damages);
- wedding rings and attire being stolen/damaged;
- wedding gifts being stolen/damaged.
When can you get insurance? You can get it up to twelve to eighteen months in advance, and 30 days prior to your wedding - and most importantly, any deposits you paid prior to getting insurance are also covered, as long as any event you want to claim on your insurance happens 30 days after you take out insurance.
Who Supplies Wedding Insurance?
There are a few Australian companies offering this type of insurance - the two main ones are Our Dream Wedding and Our Perfect Wedding. Both companies offer a range of policies that start from around $300 and go up to $1300 depending on the level of cover you want.
Seeing the devestation happening across Melbourne in the wake of The Willows closing down, I think it's something you should absolutely be considering to protect your wedding day (jsut like you would for any other huge investment).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR INSURER?
As with any type of insurance, make sure you read the policy in full so you understand what is and isn't covered, and how much you may or may not get back (for example, some policies only repay non-refundable deposits; what type of bad weather is and isn't included etc). Some policies will also cover immediate family members for certain things.
If you have been directly affected by the closure of The Willows and need to find another venue stat, there are several online wedding directories that you can use to help you find another amazing venue:
Did you find this post helpful / know that wedding insurance existed? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below (and please share this post with your friends and family who are engaged/getting married to help spread the word!