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Got married or divorced? 5 insurance changes to make now

What to do with your insurance when you say "I do" ... or "I don't anymore."

Getting married, divorced or experiencing the death of a spouse are significant life events that can shake up your emotional and financial wellness. An often-overlooked aspect of coupling, uncoupling or buying expensive jewelry for your sweetheart is how they affect your insurance.

Use these five tips to review and update your insurance to maintain a strong financial safety net through big life changes.

1. Auto insurance

If you recently got hitched or moved in with a partner, let your auto insurer know. In most cases, getting married or having a domestic partner puts you in a different risk profile with lower rates. Statistics show that married drivers are less likely to get into accidents than single ones.

Additionally, you may qualify for a car insurance discount for covering multiple vehicles on the same policy. So, if you and your spouse or partner have good driving records with no recent gaps in coverage, going from two policies to one can save money.

Review both your policies and contact each insurer for a new multi-car quote. Also, shop several new providers for the same coverage and carefully compare quotes.

Or, you may be going from being a couple to single. Remember to inform your auto insurer about any address and vehicle changes once you no longer live with your ex. Even though your rate may increase, removing them and protecting your liability if they get into an accident or lawsuit is better.

2. Homeowners and renters insurance

If you and your sweetheart have separate renters policies, you can drop one before moving in together. And if you’re renting but don’t have insurance, it’s an excellent time to shop and compare renters insurance. It’s affordable coverage, costing an average of just $173 a year.

Like homeowners insurance, a renters policy insures your personal belongings from damage and theft, plus it covers your liability, up to policy limits. But it covers your dwelling and outbuildings, so it’s more expensive than renters insurance. When you rent, your landlord is responsible for insuring the physical structures where you live.

Whether you have renters or homeowners insurance, once you and your spouse or partner combine households, you are both automatically covered on the same policy. But there are important points to review.

One is whether you have enough personal property coverage. For example, if your homeowners policy gives you $50,000, but your belongings total $100,000, you’d come up $50,000 short if your possessions got destroyed in a fire or storm.

Also, be aware of coverage caps on certain belongings, such as jewelry, collectibles and electronics. For instance, If your jewelry limit is $5,000, and you have items stolen worth $20,000, you’ll only receive a payout for $5,000 less your deductible. You can increase coverage limits using a rider on your homeowners or renters insurance without significantly raising your rate.

According to Finder’s Valentine’s Day statistics, 22% of Americans plan to buy jewelry. Creating or updating your home inventory with estimated values is wise if you’re one of them. If what you own exceeds your personal property coverage, speak with your insurance company about increasing your limit or caps on specific categories, like jewelry.

And if you’re splitting up, you’ll need a new homeowners or renters policy for your next place. Or, if your ex vacates and you stay, remove them from the policy and make any needed adjustments to your personal property and liability coverages.

Finally, no matter your situation, bundling your auto and home or renters coverage with the same insurer is an easy way to save. Most carriers offer a multi-line discount when you give them more insurance business.

3. Umbrella liability insurance

As a new couple, consider increasing your liability coverage now that you likely have more to protect. You can increase the liability portion of your homeowners or renters insurance or purchase a separate umbrella liability policy, which is typically a better bargain.

An umbrella policy is an affordable policy that adds an extra layer of protection in addition to the liability limits on your other policies, such as auto, motorcycle, home and renters. For instance, getting $1 million of coverage may cost as little as $300 annually.

4. Health insurance

Many group health plans offered by employers include the option to add a spouse or partner. If you both already have coverage, review the services and premiums to see if dropping one plan and doubling up on the other makes sense.

Getting married, divorced or having a death in your family are qualifying events that allow you to change your health plan any time during the year instead of waiting for an open enrollment period with your company or the federal or state health insurance marketplace.

Once a divorce is final, if you’re a dependent on your ex’s health policy, it will drop you right away. You and any dependents can continue coverage through COBRA on your ex’s plan for up to 36 months. But enrolling in an employer’s health plan, if available, will be more affordable.

If you don’t have health benefits through work or are self-employed, you can get quotes for individual health insurance from a carrier, insurance broker or the federal or your state’s health insurance marketplace.

5. Life insurance

Life insurance is a gloomy but essential topic for couples and families. It pays one or more beneficiaries if the policyholder dies.

There are two main types of life insurance: term and permanent. Term life offers payment if you die during a specific period, such as 10 or 20 years. And permanent life covers you for your entire life.

If your death would cause financial hardship for your spouse, partner, dependents or any loved ones, you should have life insurance to protect them. They can use the payout for any purpose, such as living expenses, education and funeral costs.

If you already had life insurance when you married, review the beneficiaries to ensure payment will go to those you want. Also, consider if you should increase your life coverage by purchasing an additional policy.

Likewise, when divorcing, it’s critical to change any unwanted beneficiaries. If you have minor children, consider who will take care of them after your death. If your ex-spouse would be the primary caretaker, it may be wise to keep them as the beneficiary to protect the welfare of your children.

If you have questions about these or other types of insurance, speak with a licensed agent. A broker or company representative can review your situation to ensure you have enough insurance to protect you and your family.

Laura Adams is a money expert and spokesperson for Finder. She’s one of the nation’s leading personal finance and business authorities. As an award-winning author and host of the top-rated Money Girl podcast since 2008, millions of readers, listeners and loyal fans benefit from her practical advice. Laura is a trusted source for media and has been featured on most major news outlets, including ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, Consumer Reports, Forbes, Fortune, FOX, Money, MSN, NBC, NPR, NY Times, USA Today, US News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and more. She received an MBA from the University of Florida and lives in Vero Beach, Florida. Her mission is to empower consumers to live healthy and rich lives by making the most of what they have, planning for the future and making smart money decisions every day.

This article originally appeared on Finder.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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