Getting married is more than a union of lives and souls. It's also a union of financial responsibilities! Insurance needs are going to change when you get married, so make sure that you review your policies and get the most of out of your insurance—after all, it's an important part of protecting your new life together.
Make sure to inform your auto insurance company or agent that you are married, because many auto insurance companies offer discounted rates for married couples. You may want to get quotes from both of your companies—and maybe some new ones when you're ready to merge your coverage. A multi-car policy could start saving you money right away—and check for other discounts like a low-mileage discount, if you carpool. Lastly, if you and your spouse will be driving each other's cars before you combine your coverage onto one policy, makes sure there's coverage for each of you as a permissive operator. You agent can help with that one.
Life insurance might be the next thing to consider as you start your life together. Life insurance helps your spouse financially in the event of your death by covering debts you may have incurred, and is equally important to have if you are considering having children or even buying a new home. Discuss how much life insurance you need as a couple today, and make sure to regularly review your needs. Even if buying a life policy isn't in this year's budget, you can learn about the different types of life insurance for the future.
Evaluate your health insurance plans, and decide if it's going to be better to keep individual plans, or make a change. For example, if you have a good employer-sponsored health insurance plan, it may be more cost effective to move your spouse over to your plan (or vice versa). You'll need to consider long-term plans as well as your immediate needs, if you're planning on starting a family. If you're a student, there are often health plans available on campus. And, if you have no coverage at all, you may want to consider a high deductible plan—just to have coverage for a major event.
Additional Homeowners Coverage
If you've just moved in together, or bought a new house, you'll quickly discover that you have a lot more stuff than before—and that doesn't even include wedding gifts, new furniture or wedding rings. Make sure that all your belongings are covered under your homeowners policy, and if you need to get additional coverage, don't delay too long.
It's important to note that homeowners insurance and renter's insurance, though they do protect the physical structure of your home and its possessions, they don't always cover jewelry or other expensive "one-off" items. Your homeowners insurance agent or insurance company, will be able to determine what kind of insurance coverage is best for your valuables, and may determine if a rider is needed on your homeowners policy to cover your valuables, such as jewelry.
Another factor you should discuss with your homeowners insurance agent when applying for your rider policy is whether the extension provides "actual cash value" or "replacement cost coverage." Though replacement cost coverage is more expensive than actual cash value, it provides more coverage because actual cash value factors in depreciation for the item. This means you will only be paid back what the item was worth at the time it was stolen or damaged, not the price you initially paid for it.
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Originally posted September 20, 2004.
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