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Couple who bought ‘Covid-proof’ wedding insurance policy had to fight to get their money back

A couple who bought what they thought was watertight wedding insurance – which covered venue cancellation due to the Covid pandemic – have revealed how they were told the policy was worthless when they tried to claim. 

Lidia Szmid, 30, and Adam Burton, 32, from Portsmouth, were due to tie the knot on April 4th in Chichester, and made sure they bought insurance that included protection against their wedding venue closing a month in advance. 

However, appearing on This Morning today, the couple, both teachers, detailed how they were greeted with silence from their insurance company, WeddingPlan, when their big day was cancelled and they tried to claim on the policy. 

Some wedding venues are reluctant to refund couples who were unable to get married because of coronavirus outbreak or are charging hefty fees to rebook. 

   

Those who took out wedding insurance before firms pulled their policies in March should be able to claim back extra costs but some insurers are managing to wriggle out of paying. 

Last week Which? reported one insurer to the financial regulator for failing to disclose ambiguous clauses that meant claims would be rejected if related to ‘government regulations or acts’ or ‘prohibitive regulations’. 

The consumer group said it had heard from seven couples who have had their claims unfairly turned down by UK General Insurance, which underwrites policies for Debenhams and Dreamsavers and trades as WeddingPlan. 

When Lidia tried to make the claim in mid-April following the closure of the venue she had booked, she got no response from the company who’d provided the insurance. 

Tenacious in her determination to get the couple’s policy honoured, Lidia refused to give up, requesting in writing the reasons why the insurance money wasn’t being proffered. 

The couple explained: ‘We were recommended WeddingPlan because they were selling policies that referenced coronavirus.’

‘The rejection [to their claim for compensation] came in mid-April on the grounds that we had bought the insurance in the knowledge that the pandemic might impact the wedding and because any claims arising from a claim about a government act would be redacted.’

Lidia described the rejection as ‘really disappointing’ because the only reason they’d bought the policy was because they’d had written confirmation they would be covered if the government forced the venue to close. 

She said the company wouldn’t give specific reasons on the phone, and eventually they got the news on email. After asking for clarification on why they wouldn’t be able to claim, the company didn’t reply. 

Lidia and Adam issued an SAR (subject access request) which enabled them to access the data the company had on the couple.  

The SAR revealed copies of internal emails referring to their claim. 

In them, staff admitted their messaging to customers was ‘contradictory to say the least’ which would ‘undoubtedly’ lead to complaints to the Financial Ombudsman. 

UK General, backed by insurer Great Lakes, said it regretted the lack of clarity and it has now reviewed coverage in respect of claims for wedding cancellations.

‘It was just under £10,000 and we’ve been repaid it in full, minus the excess’, the couple told the daytime television show.  

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