Consumer: Should you say ‘I do’?

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Getting hitched soon? Sophie Hazan looks at the pros and cons of taking out insurance to cover your big day.

it is a fact that weddings cost as much as a new car.

No matter how many people you invite, or where you exchange vows, just mention the ‘W’ word and the costs soon add up.

Even frugal Yorkshire couples – the region spent less on their Big Day than anywhere else in England – managed to splash an average of £14,239 last year, according to a study.

It is forecast that figure will slightly fall in 2012, said Adam Leyton, pictured below, of Leeds-based, but only slightly.

And yet three in four people do not take out wedding insurance, he added.

Consumerwatch looks at whether you should say ‘I do’ to wedding insurance?

Nick Smith, 33, and fiancee Sarah Houseman, 28, from Menston, do not think so.

Despite splashing out on a lavish wedding reception to be held at the Devonshire Arms in North Yorkshire next month they have not taken out any extra cover.

But they did make sure all ‘pricey’ purchases were put on a credit card.

Nick, a district commander for West Yorkshire Fire District Commander, said: “The reason we didn’t get wedding insurance is because we didn’t see any major risk to our wedding plans.

“If anything happened that caused us to have to cancel [such as] serious illness, the financial side would be the least of our worries, since we’ve already saved up for it. Having to pay it is just more expense.

“Anything we thought may be risky we put on a credit card.

“We do have travel insurance for the honeymoon though.”

He added: “In reality it is a bit risky, but I am a tight Yorkshireman!”

Insurance seller Adam, 35, who works from home in Horsforth, Leeds, would of course argue the opposite, but claims this is not just because he makes a living from it.

He said: “I am a big advocate of wedding insurance, not just because we sell it, but because it’s so cheap you can’t afford not to.

“You have only got to look at the top 10 wedding insurance claims made last year, and you’ll find the top three all came down to bankruptcy whether it was the florist, cake maker, dress maker or venue.”

There are of course other reasons too.

Adam pointed out that venues are occasionally double-booked; weather can be so bad that the majority of the guests can’t get there; or the bride, groom or immediate family are seriously injured.

Wedding insurance generally covers the unexpected, such as illness, cancellation or failure of suppliers.

Premiums start from less than £20, which makes it worth considering, added Adam.

Becci Elvin, 23, and fiance Macs Dickinson, 23, from East Ardsley, Leeds, certainly thought so.

They are due to tie-the-knot in Spring in south Yorkshire.

So far it has cost them £17,500, a figure that could still rise as they have not set a budget.

Becci said: “We did take out insurance because we felt that with the large amounts we were spending on things like venue and catering that we should have some kind of back-up in case something went wrong.

“Our venue recommended it to us as a ‘just in case’ – in case the caterer went bust, or we had a family emergency and had to postpone the wedding.”

Not that insurance cover protects you in every eventuality.

UK policies do not cover ‘cold feet’; deciding not to get married is not deemed a valid reason for an insurer to pay out.

And some will not insure deposits, or other items paid for before the policy began.

Adam said: “In many cases you can take out insurance right up to the day before you are due to exchange vows.

“But be careful and read the small print, as some policies will not cover deposits and payments made before the day it starts.

“My advise is to work out your budget, and take out insurance before you start spending.”

The average wedding insurance premium costs £51.55. UK weddings cost £15,500 in 2011, a figure that is predicted to drop to £14,500 in 2012.

Put anything that costs more than £100 and up to £30,000 on credit card. You can claim under section 75 if there is a breach of contract.

Check you have cover for wedding attire, rings, wedding cars and photography. You can add on extras.

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