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Consumer Alert - Modern Households

When choosing to cohabitate with a significant other, insurance concerns might not be the first thing that comes to mind. No matter the makeup of your household, it’s important to revisit your insurance coverage when moving in together or getting married to avoid potentially costly misunderstandings of what is covered.

Same-sex couples and domestic partners have lots of things to consider before tying the knot. In a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), one third of participants identified health insurance as the “single greatest financial consideration” when getting married. Under the law, all insurance companies must offer the same individual or group health plans to legally-married gay and lesbian couples as those offered to married heterosexual couples.

When obtaining health insurance benefits, some employers or insurance providers may require formal documentation for domestic partners and any dependent children. This may include a copy of a lease, domestic partnership affidavit, birth certificates, homeowners’ insurance policy, etc. In the event that your marriage or domestic partnership ends while you receive benefits through your partner’s employer-sponsored health plan, you may be eligible to continue your coverage for up to eighteen months through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

If you and your partner are buying a home together, make sure that both names are listed on all applicable documentation, including but not limited to the deed, mortgage, and homeowners’ insurance policy. If a couple is living in a home owned by one partner, it may be less expensive to have the homeowners’ insurance policy endorse the other partner’s belongings rather than purchase a separate renters’ insurance policy.

When purchasing life insurance, it’s also important to make sure that your partner is listed as a beneficiary on all individual and company-sponsored life insurance policies. If you are not married, failing to do so could cause delays in the absence of a will.

For auto insurance, most married driver rates are typically less than single driver rates. Be aware that your partner’s driving history can affect your premium when combining policies.

More information on insurance coverage is available on our website.

Happy Valentine’s Day!