As every couple that’s going to be married knows, finding “the one” is hard enough. What many don’t know—though they quickly find out—is that planning a wedding can be almost as difficult.
Especially when they choose a destination wedding.
The allure is easy to see: Who can resist holding the ceremony in a quaint European town so an elderly relative can attend, or in the Instagram-perfect setting of a Caribbean paradise? But tossing in the necessary arrangements—from flights and accommodations to the exigencies of foreign or domestic travel—requires more than the usual wedding-planning care. And trip insurance, or some type of group travel insurance, should be considered before the first tickets, accommodations and services are purchased. Here are just a few reasons destination-wedding protection should be at the top of the wedding-planning “to-do” list:
1. A big part of a destination wedding is…the destination
Travel to a destination wedding is subject to all the potential inconveniences and catastrophes as any other type of trip, from travel delays and lost luggage to natural disasters and the need for emergency medical evacuation. Savvy travelers get travel insurance to ensure that there’s a financial buffer between them and these possibilities. For destination weddings, group travel insurance makes sense because everyone on the policy is covered. Given all the other “moving parts” involved in wedding planning, it provides a peace of mind invaluable to both the wedding couple and the attendees in the group.
2. Group travel insurance can mean lower prices for everyone
You’ve heard of group travel insurance plans for church groups, school trips and corporate retreats. It’s also ideal for families and friends—from clan reunions to girlfriend getaways—and especially destination weddings.
Depending on the company and the policy you choose, group travel insurance can also mean lower prices for all concerned—from lower pricing on the actual policy to discounts and other perks for flights, accommodation and activities.
3. It may cover items general wedding/event insurance does not
Wedding and other special event insurance can be key in many situations, from covering the bride’s dress and the vendor no-shows to rehearsal dinner disasters and property damage at the reception. But they may not specialize in the “trip” part of the event, and some that do may limit their coverage to the U.S. and popular places outside the States, such as the U.K., Mexico and the Caribbean.
Group travel insurance FAQs
When should you start thinking about destination wedding protection?
The best time, according to Nerdwallet’s insurance expert Amy Danise, “would be as soon as you start writing checks, making deposits, and booking places.”
Who, what, and where?
Group travel insurance varies from company to company, but here are a few basics. Policies can include as little as five to 20 and more travelers; some require the travelers to be related (or not related). They cover much the same ground as individual plans, such as missed connections, trip cancellation and interruption, medical and evacuation coverage, and lost baggage. Travelers don’t need to be leaving from the same place, as long as the dates and destination are the same. Though it tends to be more expensive, it might be worth your while to look into a “cancel for any reason” plan.
As with individual travel insurance, you’ll want to make sure the coverage you select doesn’t replicate coverage you already have; on the other side of the equation, make sure what you do choose will be adequate to pay actual bills you might encounter. A policy that offers up to $20,000 for medical evacuation, for example, doesn’t nearly cover the usual cost of medevac, which is between $50,000 and $100,000.
Figure out what you need and do your research—again, as early as possible—in the wedding planning stages. Though it’s definitely a slog, be sure to read the policies you’re considering carefully. The worst time to find out about your coverage is when you’re filing a claim. When in doubt, ask, says Christopher Elliott, travel insurance expert and author of How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle: “If anything is unclear, call the insurer and ask for explanations in writing.”
Wonderful as they are, destination weddings have a lot of “moving parts.” Trip insurance that protects you financially from unexpected events—from lost baggage and unreliable tour vendors to extreme weather and more serious calamities—can help ease some, if not quite all, of the anxiety about your upcoming nuptials.
Did having group travel insurance save the day on your big day? If you have any insights—or cautionary tales about not having it—please share your stories in the comments section below.