As the coronavirus continues to rattle Americans, many people have been forced to cancel big events like weddings. Founder and CEO of eWed Insurance, David Berke, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the benefits of wedding insurance and if it will cover the coronavirus.
JEN ROGERS: According to Wedding Wire, the average couple books about 15 vendors for their big day, from the photographer to the florist to the band. So what happens if you need to cancel? David Berke, founder and CEO of eWed Insurance joins us now. And David, you're also a former wedding planner, so we're going to talk about trends you're seeing. But I just want to start with insurance right off here because a lot of people are looking at this pandemic and thinking, oh gosh, what's going to happen with my wedding? Is it too late to go get wedding insurance at this point?
DAVID BERKE: Hi, thank you for having me. And unfortunately, it is too late for wedding insurance, or at least for COVID these days. There are a few companies that are still selling wedding insurance. A number of them have pulled out of the business. eWed is still offering insurance, but for-- to get COVID coverage, it's too late. People who bought last year, before anyone knew about COVID, were covered for this year. And people are buying insurance this year for what they don't know about next year or for later on. There's still, you know, lots of benefits to cancellation insurance, from illness, injuries, severe weather, vendor bankruptcies, just anything related to COVID is excluded.
JEN ROGERS: So if somebody did take out insurance before though, are you seeing payments go out for people that have had to cancel because of the pandemic?
DAVID BERKE: Absolutely. And you know, we've gladly made a number of those payments. We're in the business of selling insurance and paying people when, you know, something unfortunate does happen to them. That is the reason they bought insurance in the first place, and we're more than happy to cover those claims.
What we're seeing more than anything, though, is we do get the claims for people moving their weddings. A lot of people are moving their weddings and things like, you know, printed materials or party favors that have a date on them are no longer valid. So they're making a claim for those types of things. But the vendors have been very accommodating of moving to a new date, and then we'll change the date of the policy to accommodate our brides for no charge.
MELODY HAHM: And David, of course, especially given your experience as a wedding planner, I've actually had a couple friends over the last few months get engaged during quarantine. And they're already putting dates on the calendar for next year, which in my mind, I'm thinking, OK, that seems a little bit risky, just because we don't know the pace of what our world will look like next year. Would you advise folks who are getting engaged now to kind of move forward with planning a normal wedding for next year?
DAVID BERKE: I would advise that because sooner or later, we're going to see a return to normalcy. And what I think you're seeing more than anything is with all the weddings being postponed-- you know, February, March, April, May, June, July-- there's a crunch for weddings in the fall, and there's a big crunch for weddings next year. You know, people are realizing, there's only 52 Saturdays in a year, and there's 365 days. I'm seen Sunday weddings. I'm seeing Wednesday weddings.
But I would say, if you're newly engaged, lock in that date as soon as possible. But have a discussion and a negotiation with your venue or your vendors, what happens if I need to move that wedding due to COVID? Will you work with me? And then wedding insurance is there as a backstop for things other than COVID.
SEANA SMITH: And David, if someone wanted to go out and get wedding insurance, I guess can you go over what exactly it covers and how much people could expect to pay for it?
DAVID BERKE: Certainly, happy to. There's two types of wedding insurance, liability and cancellation. Liability insurance is typically required by a venue to cover any damage to the venue caused by the bride or the groom or any of their guests. It could also protect you if someone leaves the wedding drunk and you get sued. Then there's cancellation insurance, which is the one that's the top of everyone's mind right now, and that pays you for lost deposits, if you pay a deposit to a vendor or a venue and severe weather, accident, illness, injury, a vendor bankruptcy, a fire or flood at the caterer or the venue prevent them from performing and they keep your deposit, it reimburses you for that deposit.
JEN ROGERS: David Berke, great to talk with you, founder and CEO of eWed. It sounds like you're still in business, even as everyone's kind of changing and looking at some smaller weddings. Have a great weekend.
DAVID BERKE: Great, thank you very much for having me.