The big fat Indian Wedding today, is not just inviting your entire Galli-muhalla (neighbourhood) but has spread into a full out lesson in effective crisis management if you manage to pull it off successfully. From destination weddings to themed wedding parties, the numerous locations and forage of people, the things that can go wrong and that do invariably go awry at the least expected times are way too many to list out. But with such high stakes – the money and your izzat (pride) – we will try to do just that and find out solutions for you to stop your beautiful bride from turning into a bridezilla from all the worry.
Introduction to Wedding Liability Insurance
Wedding Liability Insurance has become a requirement particularly in the Indian Market where the wedding can last for a week straight instead of the customary 2 days in the other countries. Yet, we find that all the developed Insurance markets cater to these needs while the ones that need it the most have to go with substandard ones with minimalistic coverages.
Features covered under Wedding Liability Insurance
The Wedding Liability package policy that we are trying to propose will include a multitude of options from which the client can pick and choose, to customize it to their needs and protect their interest on multiple fronts.
Firstly, to start with, we can include the showstoppers; the bride, groom and their immediate family in the Personal Accident Cover and the Emergency Medical Hospitalization Cover from the date of issuing the policy up to the actual wedding is all wrapped up, which will take care of any last-minute accidents and ensure speedy recovery so that they can hopefully make it to the wedding in time. This cover can also be extended to cover any accidental, unforeseen injury that a guest might suffer at the wedding itself for an additional premium. This can then act as a Public Liability Cover.
Secondly, the Property Damage Liability can be attached to this in case the decorators or your guest's vehicle damage the property and you, in turn, are held responsible by the Owners. This policy can compensate them on your behalf saving you from your already surmounting expenses. This can also be provided on a floater basis to cover the multiple locations chosen right from your haldi to your reception.
Thirdly, Wedding Cancellation Cover is another one that can be added in case you have to call off the wedding or re-schedule it due to any unfortunate circumstances outside of your control. There are always those non-refundable charges that you would have to bare and the additional ones where these cancellations have to be conveyed to everybody adding to further unwanted losses. This cover could potentially indemnify you for all of these damages.
Fourthly, the days of only Punjabi weddings serving up the liquor with an open bar are long gone. This necessitates the need for Host Liquor Liability Insurance. This cover can provide for any accidental fire spread due to alcohol to the random fights leading to injury because of the inebriated state of the guests. You should not have to pay for other's mistakes and this policy will ensure that you don’t have to.
The fifth Cover will be the Bridal Garment Cover which will include all the outfits of the Bride and the Groom as listed. In case it is stained by mistake or it accidentally rips and is found beyond repair, one would have to essentially replace it which can rack up a hefty bill for which this policy can protect you against.
The sixth cover can be one to protect the Gifts, the Dahej and anything else that you receive on your wedding on the non-monetary basis which can get damaged in the hustle bustle or be stolen or burgled by someone. This will usually require a FIR but shall be covered nonetheless.
Other Risks and Add on Covers
In today’s time and age, if you don’t upload your best memories onto your Instagram and Facebook handles, did those events really happen at all? This necessitates those precious moments captured and stored for memories and your followers. That is why; an add-on cover will be the Photographer and Videographer cover where it will cover the costs of replacing the artist in case of last minute cancellation on their side. In the case of loss, theft or damages due to listed perils of the negatives or the originals themselves, the cost of re-staging and re-taking these pictures will also be covered.
Another extension to the above cover will be Vendor Cancellation Cover where any cancellation made within 15 days from the Vendor’s end shall be covered. In case of such cancellation, replacing the vendor can be difficult and cost more due to such a short notice period. The excess loss will be paid out under this policy.
For destination Weddings, the complications can increase by multifoils from lost or misplaced baggage and passports to cancelled flights missed connections, bounced bookings and so many more. An insurance cover for each of these events can be provided up to a certain predetermined sum insured per person for all the beneficiaries under the policy. A Mediclaim or health cover for international destinations can be cross-sold at this point.
The same policy can also be extended to cover Honeymoon plans of the wedded couple which shall include all the benefits of travel insurance but at a lower rate due to it being clubbed with the base policy
All of these covers can come with multiple endorsements such as Firework endorsements which will cover any accidents, injury or fire damaged property and lives due to their misfiring or mishandling.
The Act Of God and weather perils can also be covered so that in case your wedding gets disrupted due to earthquakes, floods, storms or any such unforeseen events, all the other covers remain valid and you are reimbursed for the same. Something as simple as unpredicted rains ruining your arrangements and beautiful open-air ceremony should not ruin your day. This add-on will reimburse you for any last minute change in location and alternative arrangements that you may have to make to keep the show going.
An extremely important rider will be the Insurance of Change in Material Risk Rider. We all are aware of how we can overshoot our budget at these momentous occasions. This results in not just hefty spending but also, insurmountable change in the risk that the insurer was willing to underwrite. It’s important that at the time of claim, the loss does not becomes unpayable due to underinsurance. This Add-on will allow you to Insure that additional risk by simply informing us of the same change instead of having to cancel and retake another policy which will waste time and money on all sides.
An Engagement Ceremony Rider can also be added. In case the wedding would take place within a specific time period of the engagement itself, the engagement party too would be included in this cover.
A Key Man Insurance rider can also be added where in case any of the Insured under the Policy are kidnapped and are subsequently held for ransom, the insurer will cover your family for the same post thorough investigation from the police and authorities. This will also cover any cancellation and postponement of the event due to the same reason.
The case of a ‘Rancho’ with his other 2 idiots at your wedding may seem hilarious on the silver screen; however, nobody wants to deal with that at their own weddings. This Gate Crasher Rider can be another extension offered in case such unwanted parties force their way in and cause any unnecessary damage or incident which is beyond your control.
A Fitness Benefit Cover can be added to enhance the offerings to the potential Clientele. This will allow the couple to consult nutritionists, yoga and other fitness trainers and get a health club membership at a subsidized rate to get in shape and lose weight. These covers will only be arranged by the company and the procurement cost of such should be added to the cover itself. The actual cost of these must be borne by the Insured themselves.
Despite these benefits, there are some events which most insurers will be unwilling to cover. Any kind of consequential losses involved in any event and any claims arising due to suicide or self-inflicted/imposed injury will not be covered. Any marriage held under duress, between unwilling participants, any child marriages or such illegal cases will also be void ab initio.
A ‘Change of Heart’ will be another incident which will be excluded under this cover. While Julia Roberts may be an expert at pulling of The Runaway Bride, the Insurers will not appreciate the same stunts being pulled by either of the bride or the groom.
So while there are some insurance policies that do cover your weddings in India, they provide very primitive and minimalistic covers. These while necessary, do not cover all your basis as such, which calls for these additional contingency covers to be offered in a customized manner for as risk-free a wedding as possible. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry!
Insurance & ACCA Professional
Jaswanth Singh G
Insurance Domain Consultant (InsureTech) and Faculty for Insurance, Financial Services & Pension Studies
Article Published in November 2018 Edition of The Insurance Times