How does my insurance change in a divorce or separation?

insurance divorce separation

Getting Divorced or Separated

Divorce can be stressful and laden with emotion. We feel for you.

Whether you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are on speaking terms or not, it helps to have a checklist that guides you through the rough of settlements and paperwork.

Take things step by step, and be gentle with yourself. But be sure to revise your insurance plan to your reflect your changing needs and ensure you have the correct coverage when you need it.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, the McClain Insurance team is here to help make your transition from joint insurance coverage to individual protection plan as smooth as possible.


Woman Moving BoxesHe moved out, took some of his stuff, but hasn’t filed for divorce yet. You haven’t filed for divorce either, but you know this has got to end.

Yet, you’re not quite sure how to tackle it all… it seems an awful lot to take care of. For one, separating the bills seems like a good idea…

Unfortunately, a separation makes insurance matters more complicated. As long as both of you are listed as “named insureds” on an insurance policy, we cannot delete one of you from the insurance plan, and we cannot change your insurance without consent from your ex-partner.

Can you remove your spouse from your care insurance?

No, as the insurer we cannot make changes to your joint insurance plan when only one of you requests the change.

That said, there are certain steps you can and should take when it comes to your insurance plan:

1. Once you or your partner move out, you should update your existing auto insurance policy to show the new garaging address of each vehicle, as well as how far each car is being driven to work. This is usually the first step before splitting the joint auto policy.

2. Whoever moves out should get Renter’s or Homeowner’s Insurance for their new place. The existing homeowner’s policy will only extend limited coverage to a new residence.

Give us a call. We can help you find the coverage that keeps you adequately protected in this phase of transition. We are here to help! We are here for you.

Auto Insurance

Your divorce is almost final when you receive your car insurance renewal letter in the mail.

Figuring out insurance between you and your ex-spouse is the least of your concerns. Who will list your 15-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son on their auto policy? Insurance for teen drivers doesn’t come cheap. And you agreed that they’ll live for a week with their father, then for a week with you. Now, that doesn’t seem to make things easier…

Car Insurance During Separation

Once your ex moves out, you should update the garaging addresses and commuting distance of all vehicles. This is the first step before splitting the joint auto policy.

Then, once the divorce is final, you should get separate car insurance policies. Give us a call. We represent a variety of insurance companies and can find the protection plan that best fits your new needs and budget. That said, if you choose to stay with your current insurance company, you’ll be allowed to keep your credits and discounts for being a “Safe Driver” or a “Continuous Customer” even if you have to apply for a new policy.

Unfortunately, once you split the policy, you may no longer be eligible for discounts such as the “multiple car discount” or the “homeowner discount” (if you are now renting an apartment.)

But you may be eligible for an account credit if you buy your renter’s insurance from the same company that handles your auto insurance.

If you have young drivers in your family, you should ensure that your children are covered on at least one, if not both parents’ auto policies, especially if your kids have access to both parents’ cars. If they have their “own” car, a car that they drive most frequently, then this car is generally registered and insured in the name of the parent in whose home the child resides most frequently.

These issues are not always clear-cut, so it is best to review the circumstances with your agent so that your insurance company can be consulted to make sure that the coverage is structured properly based on that specific company’s rules. Usually, if a child lives more frequently with one parent, then the child should be covered by the insurance policy of that parent.

Homeowners or Renters Insurance

mom and daughter readingSo. This is it. The divorce is final, and you are the one who stays in the home you once shared.

The house is going to feel awfully big and awfully empty. But at least you don’t have to move. Not right away, at least. Maybe you can re-decorate… 

Before you head out to the furniture store, please think of one small thing: Give us a call so we can adjust your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to your name only, and make it work for your new needs. (That may even save you money.)

If you are the spouse who is moving out, please give us a call to set up renter’s or homeowner’s insurance for your new place.

The last thing you need right now is unnecessary hassle. Allow yourself the peace of mind that you deserve, and get your protection plan in place. We’re here to help. And we make it easy for you: We shop multiple companies for you, and find you the plan that best fits your new situation and your new budget.

Life Insurance

There is a whole new set of questions that comes with a divorce. Are you paying alimony? Are you receiving alimony? Do you purchase life insurance? Do you change your life insurance beneficiary? All these – and more! – are part of a divorce settlement. Dealing with finances in a divorce is not easy, and emotions often make things even foggier.

Changing A Life Insurance Beneficiary During A Divorce

If you have life insurance in place, you may want to consider keeping it in place – with your ex-spouse as the beneficiary – even after the divorce. If you are paying alimony, your ex-spouse might rely on your payments for cost of living and child support.

dad with young toddlerIf you delete him or her as beneficiary, you might leave them, and your children, in serious financial turmoil in case of your death. If you have no financial obligations to your former spouse, you may want to continue your life insurance but name a new beneficiary.

You have the option to declare your children to be the beneficiaries of your life insurance, but be aware that minors under the age of 18 cannot directly receive life insurance benefits. In case of your death, the money would either be managed by a court-ordered trustee, or the insurance company would hold the benefit until the child turns 18.

Our best advice to avoid these options would be to contact a family attorney who can establish a trust which can be named as the beneficiary. You can then indicate in the trust which friend or family member will be entrusted to handle the financial issues for your children, and who will serve as guardians. (This can be the same or different people.)

If you are the spouse who receives alimony, you might consider adding a clause to the divorce settlement that the life insurance beneficiary cannot be changed or allowed to lapse without your consent.

Another factor to consider: Keeping your current life insurance in place allows you to lock in your rates and insurability, regardless of possible future health issues. (This is also the reason why you should consider getting life insurance if you don’t already have it.)


What next?

A divorce is not easy. Allow us to help you by letting us assist with your new insurance protection plan. We provide you with choices, solutions, and absolute confidentiality when it comes to setting up your new protection plan

Please note: insurance policies vary from company to company and state to state. This is a broad overview of how divorce or separation can change your insurance. McClain Insurance Services is licensed in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona, and the above information may not be applicable in every state. Be sure to read your insurance policy contracts and consult with your independent insurance agent for personalized information.

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McClain Insurance Services
10410 19th Ave SE
Everett, WA 98208
(425) 379-9200
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