Married or unmarried: Insurance issues to consider

Moving in with that special someone can be an exciting and overwhelming time. The commitment that you’ve made to each other shows how much this relationship means to you. Regardless of whether marriage is part of your move-in plan, you’ll still have to sort out some details – like insurance.

Figuring out what insurance is right for you and your partner isn’t the most exciting task, but you still need to do it. Get that out of the way, and you can move on to something more fun, like picking out a new sofa.

Married couples

If you and your partner have already faced the wedding bells, it’s time to look at your insurance policies. Options to explore include:

  • Health insurance. If one of you works full-time and has access to company-sponsored health insurance, you may be able to add your spouse or partner for an additional cost. This might save you money; however, if you both had health insurance before your marriage, it may make more sense for you to hold onto the policies you already have. Read each policy carefully to make sure your coverage matches your needs.
  • Auto insurance. There are often multiple policy discounts if you bundle insurance together, such as auto, home and life. Also, marriage can lower auto insurance rates by as much as 25 percent for men under 25. Look for ways to save money by exploring your options in premiums, deductibles and coverage.
  • Life insurance. You may not have considered life insurance when you were single, but if you were to die prematurely, you wouldn’t want your spouse to struggle financially. Be sure to list your new spouse as your beneficiary on your life insurance policy to ensure he or she will receive benefits.

Unmarried couples

Marriage isn’t for everyone. While there are many financial benefits to being married, there are some insurance issues that are just a big an issue for the married and unmarried alike:

  • Homeowners insurance. Your homeowners insurance covers your home and property. Policies are available for unmarried couples, but if you are the sole owner of your home, your partner’s possessions may not be covered by your policy. Check with your insurance agent to determine whether your policy should be updated.
  • Health insurance. Some providers have begun allowing unmarried people to add their partner to their health insurance policies. You may need to ask your employer if that’s a possibility. Even if you pay full premiums for your partner, that might still be cheaper than paying for an extended hospital stay.
  • Workers’ compensation. The broad definition of a legal “dependent” has allowed some unmarried partners to draw benefits if their spouse is injured on the job. However, this varies greatly from state to state and should be researched ahead of time.

Moving in together is a big step in your life. Whether you have chosen to demonstrate your love with a ring and a ceremony or some other kind of commitment, explore what issues you need to consider when it comes to insurance. Just as there are benefits to being married, there are advantages to living together. Decide what suits your lifestyle and keep these issues in mind when deciding who gets the garage parking.

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