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How to Select the Right Insurance After You're Married


One important thing to think about when planning your wedding besides flowers and catering is insurance. It is something that you and your future spouse should talk about prior to walking down the aisle. That way it will be taken care of and you won't have to worry about it after the wedding.

Medical, auto, home or renters, life and disability insurance are all things that need to be openly discussed and thought about. Who will go on whose policy? How much life or disability insurance do you need to take out? How much home/renters insurance is necessary and what is excessive?

Medical and auto insurance is something that both of you would have independently, and chances are it won't be with the same agent. For medical insurance it would be best to speak with a benefits representative at your job. They will be able to break down the costs for you and tell you the additional cost of adding another person onto your policy. In some instances it is more beneficial if each person keeps their original insurance plan because it is simply a better deal than going onto their spouses.

When you figure out who has the better plan inform your human resources or benefits department that you will be adding your spouse onto your insurance effective your wedding date. Then the other can drop their health insurance. You might not want to use your wedding date for this one, use a date two weeks later just to make sure you don’t have a lapse in insurance coverage.

Auto insurance works a little different than medical insurance for a few reasons; Your premium has a lot of factors such as tickets and accidents. If one of you has been in multiple accidents or has been pulled over and received points, then your insurance will be higher than someone without those things.

If both of you have clean driving records, talk to your agents. They will be able to tell you what your cost will be for adding someone to your insurance. Nine times out of ten they will able to work you a deal and your costs will be lower than before. However if you have a bad driving history, you might end up paying a higher premium for a while.

There are some misconceived notions about auto insurance. That you cannot cancel or change your auto insurance coverage until it is time to renew your policy. That is false. You can change your coverage or drop your policy at anytime without a problem. The problem will occur, however if you let your policy lapse. If you are not insured for even a day for whatever reason, you could end up paying a large sum of money.

Again it would be a good idea to get this taken care of using your wedding date as a starting point for the coverage to begin. Start talking to your agents a few months prior to your wedding to see what figures they can come up with. This is something that you don’t want to let go by, as it will end up costing you.

Another misconception is that you cannot keep the same level of coverage you had when you were single. That again is a false notion. Your auto insurance policy protects your finances if you’re involved in an auto accident. Your assets will increase when you combined them with your spouse’s. Increasing limits on key auto insurance coverage will better protect your assets and your peace of mind.

Homeowners and renters insurance are very important to have. If something unfortunate were to happen to your home or apartment you will be protected. This, however, is a little more complicated than simply telling your agent that you are adding someone new to your policy (that is if you already have a policy and one of you are simply moving into the other's pre-existing apartment or house.)

There are a few things to remember when filling out the paperwork or updating an already existing policy. First is the bride’s last name. Make sure that however you change it (i.e. hyphenated or remaining your maiden name), that that is how it is reflected on your policy – both in terms of the policyholder and beneficiaries.

Next, make sure you thoroughly inventory your belongings. Modern marriages are commonly the merging of two households, since most couples have lived on their own prior to marriage. Go through the entire house — even the garage, where you’ve stashed everything that doesn’t fit in the house. Open drawers, closets and crawl spaces. Make a list of all high-value items, including household appliances, electronics, jewelry, china, silverware, stemware, etc. This process will not only help you update your policy, it can also help eliminate items you don’t need or that you have multiples of – like microwaves, toasters, and other items.

It is helpful to take pictures or video of this process to have a visual inventory of what you own. Save it to disk and place it in a fire-safe box. If you do not have a fire-safe box, you can give a copy to your agent or store it in a safety deposit box at your bank. Remember to update the pictures as you get new big-ticket items. Maybe even do this once a year. Set a date near your anniversary so you don’t forget.

Don’t forget to ask your insurance agent to add high-value items like jewelry, furs, art or antiques to your policy. Otherwise, your policy may not adequately cover these items in case of loss. This process will also determine how much insurance is needed.

A good place to start to look for homeowners insurance is with your auto insurance provider. They usually take care of both auto and home/renters insurance and would be a great place to start. Most of the time, if you have multiple policies with the agent, they will cut you a break on costs as well.

As a newlywed, one of the last things on your mind is to buy life (or disability) insurance. However this is one of the most important things you need to get to protect your new family. If something horrible and unthinkable were to happen you would want to make sure that your family was taken care of. Many people use their life insurance to pay off their mortgages and hospital bills.

You might be asking what the difference between life and disability insurance are.
Here is a breakdown of each...

• Long-term disability insurance: Disability insurance protects against lost income in the event you become disabled. Most people in their working years should have at least a minimum amount of long-term disability insurance.

• Life insurance: Married couples with children, or consisting of only one working spouse, will probably need to purchase life insurance on both spouses. Married couples consisting of two working spouses with no children may not need life insurance right now. However, most financial advisors agree that it's a good idea to purchase life insurance while you're sure that you're insurable.

There are some important things to remember when looking into both life and disability insurance. Your insurance agent will be able to tell you how much life and disability insurance you need. You will want to have a nice large amount of insurance money coming in if something happened, so don’t be alarmed if they tell you a large figure. It is in your best interest.

Most newlyweds aren't in a position to be without disability and life insurance. Even if you have some coverage through an employer-sponsored plan, you might want to purchase additional coverage on your own. It is really only for your familie's own benefit in the long run. Basically, you will want enough to cover debts, funeral expenses, and have a small nest egg left over for emergencies.

The easiest way to find out how much insurance you need is to seek the advice of a financial professional. How can you find one that you and your spouse can trust? The first step is to ask your friends, family, and business colleagues the name of their financial advisor and whether they're happy with the advice they have received. If you have a relationship with a CPA or an attorney, ask them for a recommendation as well. Then, after gathering some names, you and your spouse should meet with at least three different financial advisors to get a sense of how they work.

The most important thing for all of your policies is to remember to make sure names and beneficiaries are listed correctly on the policies.

 

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