Honey, don’t forget to show up for your wedding

Royal weddings, such as that of Britain's Prince William and bride Kate, are widely credited with influencing couples to have more lavish, costly weddings

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – How many people get cold feet before they marry? According to an insurance broker interviewed by Bloomberg‘s Carolyn Bandel in Zurich, “the percentage of claims for change of heart is ‘very high.'”

Bandel has written an intriguing article about the relatively new niche insurance business, insurance for couples about to marry, which has grown up because people are spending more on their weddings than they used to. The average cost of a wedding in Switzerland has doubled in 10 years, to about CHF30,000, according to a Zurich Insurance company official interviewed by Bandel. If you think you might get off more cheaply in the US, given the low dollar, that’s one option, given that the average cost rose in 2010 to just over $24,000.

So what kind of coverage do brides- and grooms-to-be get? Power outages, caterers being shut down by health inspectors, illness and flooding are specifically mentioned in the general conditions at Zurich, which has been offering wedding insurance since January 2011.

A quick look at Zurich’s offer (you can buy the insurance online for CHF69) shows that it even includes the possibility of fire. I recall a niece’s lively wedding where the barbecue set the rest of the wedding area on fire; maybe there is something to this. You’re covered in case of rock slides and avalanches, but not for earthquakes and volcanoes.

Zurich’s policy covers only post-ceremony events and the limit is CH20,000, so there’s no coverage for bachelor parties the night before – and no coverage for cold feet, which is sometimes on offer by US insurers according to Bloomberg.

So how many brides or grooms don’t show up? A US writer says she believes the figure commonly mentioned of half of one percent is low, possibly 10,000 a year. Could they have saved money by getting “change of mind” insurance? No, but their parents might have: you can only take out the insurance if you are not one of the people getting married, so with parents of the bride footing bills that run into thousands of dollars, Dad might be able to get a little peace of mind ahead of the big day.


  1. The market for wedding insurance in the UK has grown significantly over the last few years, however despite this fact only 1 in 4 couples take out wedding insurance.

    Obviously all policies differ in what the cover, but the majority cover cancellation (in accordance to the covered eventualities), financial failure of wedding suppliers and public liability cover among other things.

    Currently no wedding insurance in the UK covers ‘cold feet’ or disinclination to marry, so it will be interesting to see if Zurich go this route in Switzerland.

  2. Adam Leyton says:

    I’m not sure the wedding insurance market has grown just as a result of the rising cost of weddings. In fact, we’re seeing a decline in average wedding spend here in the UK – http://www.compareweddinginsurance.org.uk/articles/average-cost-uk-wedding .

    People are slowly beginning to understand what the product covers (many sadly still think it only covers cold feet though) and the benefits and financial peace of mind that a policy offers.

    I think many couples are also clearly aware of the current economic climate and the increased risk that one of their wedding suppliers may go out of business in the run up to their big day. In fact, four of the current top ten wedding insurance claims relate to bankruptcy or liquidation of a supplier.