With the global impact of the Coronavirus affecting all aspects of everyone’s lives. From business owners through to employees there has been a seismic readjustment in how we are living our lives with social distancing and restrictions in leaving our homes.
There are so many individual aspects of life that are having to be readjusted. One such happy occasion are those planning their wedding, both for this year and possibly for the next two or three years. What should be a happy time where couples and their families are looking forward to their future lives together has now been thrown into turmoil with no end in sight.
The financial consequences can be enormous as plans certainly for this year are called into question if not already cancelled after monies have been paid by way of a deposit or in full.
How will the Coronavirus affect my wedding plans?
There are no aspects of any wedding plans that are left untouched by the scale and impact of Coronavirus. Following the government banning weddings from taking place as of 24 March 2020 the whole industry has ground to a halt. Not only this all of the businesses which survive on weddings taking place from reception through to food, cars, clothing and honeymoons.
With no end in sight it is difficult to see how these plans can be rebooked. In addition to the effect that the Coronavirus is having on all of the elements that are involved in planning a wedding any new plans will depend on so much.
- When can you start re-planning your wedding?
- How will your financial situation have changed?
- How will the economy be after the coronavirus?
- Will the wedding businesses you are employing still be in business?
- How will the future wedding bookings impact on cancelled bookings now trying to rebook?
Again with the coronavirus there are still so many questions that cannot be answered. It is important at this stage to take stock of the situation and be realistic. Contact all of those businesses that you have booked and employed and ask them about their stance. Once you have this information you can then look at progressing forward. Albeit you will probably still have to wait to see what and when the exit strategy allows
Are you thinking of cancelling your wedding?
In the first instance if you are thinking of cancelling your wedding or making a claim on insurance you should find out the facts.
- Obtain a copy of your wedding insurance cover terms and conditions.
- Make a list of all of those businesses you have booked, what you have paid them, by what method and when.
- Contact the businesses to ascertain their position regarding the cessation of weddings on the government’s instruction.
Once you have all of this information you can then plan how you wish to approach the cancellation of your wedding and recover the monies that you have paid. Either by making a claim against your wedding insurance or a refund in monies against any credit card payments or debit card payments.
If the government restrictions in response to Coronavirus means that the wedding venue cannot hold your wedding, would this be covered?
Your wedding insurance should pay if the government has declared weddings are cancelled in relation to the coronavirus. If your wedding is abroad there may be other elements to factor into the equation. These can depend on whether a package was presented to you in relation to the organisation of the wedding or whether the wedding consisted of a variety of elements such as air travel, venue booking and transportation of guests.
The important aspect in relation to anything concerning the wedding and its cancellation or potential cancellation, if you are concerned with your wedding plans after the lockdown period. Namely whether businesses employed to provide goods and services for your wedding are still around, is to contact all of these firms to ascertain their current position. You must be mindful that these situations may well change over time as the impact of the lockdown we are seeing starts to bite economically.
If your venue offers an acceptable alternative date but other suppliers are unable to change can you claim?
If you’re venue offers an alternative date this is something to consider as your wedding insurance may not cover the loss of monies paid if you do not take up this offer. Wedding insurance should cover additional losses if other elements of your organised wedding package are unable to meet with that alternative date due to advanced bookings already being in place.
We are all in unknown territory as this is affecting every business around all aspects of wedding planning. Firms are desperate to keep your business and insurance companies that provide the cover for your wedding. Credit card and bank account providers will be keen not to pay out on claims if they can avoid doing so by alternatives being offered to you by for instance the wedding venue.
If you are getting married abroad would you be covered if you chose to cancel the wedding?
Weddings abroad offer further complications as you need to be mindful as to that particular locations governments response controlling the coronavirus. Many people no doubt will be affected where regions abroad will open for business but the UK may be still in some form of lockdown. Even airlines may not be able to fly you to the chosen destination regardless of whether it is open or not.
These are going to be the incredibly challenging grey areas that need to be looked at and addressed by insurers or payment providers. They will no doubt be reliant on the terms and conditions attached to any policy or payment method and will no doubt challenge any claims for refunds vigorously.
It is essential to keep on top of every aspect of your wedding and make a list and methodically go through this list to ascertain the facts of each element of the wedding package that you have.
If important people are unable to attend due to being ill with Coronavirus, would there be cover for cancellation?
So many people could be affected by any movement concerning a wedding either cancelled or still in place. Some may have an illness and are required to self-isolate. Some may not be able to attend as their employment would not allow it despite having holidays already booked. It is extremely difficult to establish exactly what and can happen because something new seems to be popping up every day. You could even find relatives are due to converge from different areas of the world, all where their own local restrictions will have an effect.
If it is your wedding the most important thing is to make a list:
- Individually covering all of the different aspects of your own wedding organisation. From reception through to catering, transport and honeymoon.
- Then make a list of all of those also affected in your wedding party. Suggesting to them that they in turn make a list of everything that they have committed to, how they have committed to that payment and what and how that payment has been made.
- With these lists you can then work through how best to take the wedding forward to avoid as much financial loss as possible.
If the Government advises not to travel due to the Coronavirus are you covered?
Some insurers will be looking at this particular area regarding travel if your wedding is scheduled to take place abroad to save money by declining claims. Much will depend on the location of the wedding and there coronavirus lockdown policy both now and in the future. This will become complicated as nations relax lockdown rules.
Furthermore, if a venue is abroad offers future dates then maybe difficulties with all of your party will arise. From employment reasons, other commitments and the financial consequences of coronavirus being able to be part of your wedding day.
If you are getting married abroad. What if your flight is cancelled by the airline?
Your flight being cancelled may not and is probably unlikely to enable you to claim on wedding insurance, if the venue that is operating your wedding is open for business.
If the flight was paid for by either a credit card or debit card this will be the avenue you most likely need to take in looking at recovering monies for any financial loss as a result of the cancellation of flights. There is a huge void in understanding on how if the venue abroad is open but you cannot get there if the UK government has banned non-commercial flights. No doubt insurers will deal with growing numbers of claims where terms and conditions are in place to protect those insured.
Obtaining refunds on monies paid by a credit card or a debit card on your bank account
If you have made a payment for any goods and services via a credit card and the item of goods or services is cancelled, rendered void or was not available you can make a claim under the consumer credit act (CCA) section 75 to obtain a full refund for any items purchased between £100 and £30,000. The credit card company is jointly liable for any breach of contract such as cancellation, where you can claim the money back from them.
It is not so clear cut regarding payments made by debit card. The debit card providers AMEX, MasterCard and Visa all offer a similar process. However it is not a right or law like section 75. The chargeback process was set up as a way of the banks helping clients and to avoid the confusion as to the difference between debit cards and credit cards. However, if there is going to be a spike claims as no doubt there will be it will be interesting to see how much goodwill in relation to these claims there will be.
Under chargeback for payments on debit cards these can also help when transactions are less than £100 and also if the payment is made when you are in overdrawn position. Although there is always a question mark on whether someone is overdrawn or going into credit when a transaction takes place with regard to a transaction. If you are overdrawn on your current account where the debit card is in place the consumer credit act section 75 comes into play with all of the protections that that provides.