WITH the Royal Wedding only a week away, brides and grooms in the South West are being warned about the risk of huge financial losses if they don’t protect their own upcoming nuptials.

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get set to tie the knot on May 19, specialist insurance expert Simon Hay, of Lycetts, is urging others planning their big day to be aware of a hidden risk – or face thousands of pounds of loss.

The specialist said that many couples are unaware that they may need additional insurance cover if things go wrong in the run-up to, during or after the wedding – from rings being lost to wedding gifts being stolen.

He said: “A lot of planning goes into weddings, as does a lot of hard-earned cash, but despite this, ensuring sufficient protection is in place is often overlooked or not on the couple’s radar at all.

“This is somewhat understandable, as there is much to consider, but we have seen first-hand the upset and heartache caused when unsuspecting, underinsured couples take a hit, especially at an already financially stressful time.

“We have found that many couples assume their contents insurance protects the high-value items associated with weddings, such as the wedding dress, gifts and rings. But this may not be the case. Having these high value items in the home may exceed the policy limit, leaving couples vulnerable if they wish to make a claim.

“For example, if 100 guests each gave a present worth £50 to the happy couple, all of a sudden an additional £5,000 worth of goods are under their roof.

“Burglars are known to target unoccupied homes, and the gift-laden house of a couple on their wedding day or honeymooning is particularly attractive prey.

“Many insurers will increase contents cover for a period around the wedding but couples need to speak to their insurer to check if this can be done, what it protects and for how long.”

Simon said couples may wish to consider buying wedding insurance, which covers a range of problems that can hit the big day – from supplier failure to venue cancellation.

The Royal Wedding is mooted to cost anywhere between £1.5million and £32million, and although the average couple’s budget is a fraction of that – around £20,000 – newlyweds could be entering married life significantly out of pocket if an issue arises.

Despite the growing trend to purchase dedicated wedding insurance, Simon said many couples are unaware that it exists.

Simon said: “When you consider how much money is at stake, wedding insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

“But couples need to be aware that policies differ significantly, so read the small print and be aware of any limits and exceptions.

“For example, cancellation cover can vary significantly, from as low as £3,000 to as high as £60,000. Couples should have a clear idea of how much their wedding will cost, so that they are not left in a situation where they are underinsured.

“It is also worth bearing in mind that some eventualities won’t be able to be claimed for, such as cancellation due to a spouse’s change of heart, and in some circumstances additional or specialist protection may be needed, such as for marquee use, an extravagant dress breaching policy limits, or overseas ceremonies.

“It may take some time and planning but it will help couples get hitched without a hitch.”