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.