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Getting married will cause a ripple effect across all your insurance policies. Once you decide to get married, discussing your insurance policies with your agent prior to tying the knot can help you avoid many potential problems. Let’s review the insurance coverages your marriage will impact, including your homeowners coverage.
Do you and your intended have separate auto policies? Consider combining them; by combining your auto insurance, you not only save money, but you help reduce the risks of coverage gaps. Combining auto coverage ensures both spouses are listed on the auto policy as “named insured,” this is crucial in order to receive the broadest insurance protection.
Considering moving to a new home? If this is the case, your vehicles’ “garaging” location may change significantly. This change can either raise or lower your rates, depending on the area where you will eventually reside.
Are you blending your families together? Will pre-teens or teenagers be part of the household, now? If so, your insurance carrier will want to know and charge for any additional driving risk from teenagers.
If one of you has lower liability limits under your auto policy, choose the higher limits. In today’s legal climate, what seems like a small accident with a minor injury or two can easily morph into major litigation. The good news is that even if you choose the higher liability limits, many auto insurance companies provide discount auto rates for married drivers or for a second vehicle on the same policy. The money you save may help offset any additional premium for those higher liability limits. If you and your spouse will be driving each other’s cars before you marry and combine coverage, make sure there’s the broadest coverage for each of you as a permissive operator on the other’s auto policy.
Since, you’ll be combining two lives (or more if you have children) into one, make reviewing your homeowners policies a priority.
First, be sure to add your spouse’s name to the chosen residence homeowners policy and any rental property policies. In addition, did either of you own separate homes prior to the marriage? If so, one home may no longer be owner-occupied after the marriage. If this is the case you may need a different type of policy to provide coverage for the unoccupied home or rental property, if you decide to rent. If one house is on the market, a vacant home changes your insurance needs, as well. Talk to your agent immediately if you’re moving out of one house while it’s on the market.
Next, you must now insure all personal property you both own. You may need to increase your personal property coverage to ensure enough coverage for your combined belongings. Don’t forget wedding gifts, furniture, and your wedding rings. Insurance companies typically provide a set limit of $1000 coverage for jewelry, and set other sub-limits on fine arts and some personal items like antiques. So if the values of these kinds of items exceed the set limits in your policy, you’ll need an endorsement or a separate scheduled personal property policy to broaden the coverage limit. Special wedding gifts, too, may mean you need more personal property coverage.
Don’t get caught with inadequate personal property coverage in the event of a burglary or other loss. Review your homeowner coverage to ensure you have replacement cost coverage on your policy. What is replacement cost coverage? It replaces items stolen or damaged without depreciation for age or condition. Replacement cost coverage can be a money saver if you have a major loss like a fire or burglary.
Remember, once you say, “I do,” you not only join your lives, you join your assets. Your joint assets may be greater than your assets individually. Before you marry, consider purchasing an umbrella policy or increasing the limits on your excess policy. This provides liability limits over and above your auto and homeowners insurance policies.
Your marriage will impact each policy in your insurance portfolio a little differently, but here’s the top rule of thumb for marriage. Add your spouse to each policy, because those whose names actually appear on the policy have the broadest protection.
To request a no-obligation quote for your homeowners policy in Alabama, Florida, or North or South Carolina, visit this link.