February is a great month – not least, because it offers a good dose of “pink” while we are all waiting for the first signs of spring.
If you or somebody you know is ready to embark on a new life together, insurance isn’t likely to be a conversation topic. That’s why we’ve assembled a short checklist of “Insurance Tips for Sweethearts.” Yes, there are some things you can (and should) do to keep both of you covered as your relationship grows!
Stage 1: First Date
As you are heading out for those first dates together, there isn’t much you need to think about when it comes to insurance. (And that’s good, because you will likely have other things on your mind.)
If you find yourself in the situation of driving your sweetie’s car, you will be covered: Car insurance generally follows the vehicle and extends to a permissive driver, even if the driver is not the owner of the car. However, this only applies if you drive his or her car on occasion. If you drive his or her car on a regular basis, you should call your insurance agent for appropriate coverage.
Keep in mind that if you are in an accident that exceeds your sweetie’s policy limits, your own car insurance may apply as secondary coverage.
Stage 2: Moving In
You have met, you have fallen in love, you know you’ve found “the One.” If you decided to take the leap and move in together, there are a few more things to keep in mind:
1. Auto Insurance:
Now that you two live together, you will have to register each other as “other drivers in the household.” Each of you should give your independent insurance agent a call to add your significant other to your respective car insurance policy. Some companies will allow you to combine car insurance policies, but some may require the cars to be co-registered before putting both of you on the same policy.
2. Renter’s or Homeowner’s Insurance
This is a little more complicated. Different insurance companies have different rules and regulations. Some might allow you to add your significant other to your renters or homeowner’s policy, even though you are not yet married. In this case, don’t forget to review your personal property limits to be sure that they adequately mirror the combined value of your personal possessions.
Make sure if you consolidate policies that BOTH of you are listed on the policy as “named insureds.”
It would be wise to call your insurance agent to help you evaluate your individual situation.
Stage 3: Getting Engaged
Ah! The big question was asked, and the big answer was given! Now the beautiful season of preparations and planning begins!
1. Jewelry Endorsement
One of the first things to do is: Cover the ring! A typical renter’s or homeowner’s policy only covers jewelry up to $1,500 per item. If the cost of your ring exceeds $1,500, or if you wish to protect it against perils such as “loss of a stone from its setting” or “mysterious disappearance,” purchase a scheduled jewelry endorsement. At a cost of approximately $12 per $1,000 coverage, this endorsement can easily be added to your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy.
2. Wedding Insurance
Wedding Insurance can be purchased up to 2 years prior to the big day and will cover attire, jewelry, venue, service provider failures, bankruptcy or no-shows, as well as provide liability protection for the event itself. Be sure to be covered during the planning process.
A McClain Insurance agent can assist you with Wedding Insurance.
Stage 4: Getting Married
Now that the two of you tied the knot, it is also time for your insurance policies to become one. Here’s what we recommend:
1. This is a great time for a Policy Review!
As you and your new spouse are combining all your insurance policies, this is a great time for a Policy Review! Consider increasing your liability limits: Now that you have combined assets, you are even more at risk of losing everything in a lawsuit.
Also, don’t forget to reap the discounts that you now qualify for! Most carriers offer discounts for married couples, multiple cars on the same policy, and for bundling multiple policies with the same insurance company. An independent insurance broker can help you with that!
2. Add an Umbrella Policy.
Protect your joint assets, savings, bank accounts, retirement plans and future earnings with an Umbrella policy. Higher liability limits never hurt, but are especially important for a growing family.
3. Life Insurance
As you both enter life together, say “I love you” with Life Insurance. Life Insurance won’t take away the tragedy of a spouse’s death, but it will help alleviate financial hardship when suddenly half of the family income is gone. It doesn’t have to be complicated — in fact, we can make “Life” really easy for you!
If you have any questions at all along the way, please give the Protection Team at McClain Insurance Services a call! We’d love to help!