Posted : 06/25/2009
Of all the things to worry about before and after the birth of a new baby, insurance may not be at the top of the list. So, before you are too sleep-deprived, it makes sense to update your family's coverage. This tiny little person will change everything: health, life, auto and homeowners insurance.
Tell your health insurer there's someone new. Most parents may not realize that health insurance plans require notification of the birth of your child, usually within 31 days. After all, if you've been receiving maternity care and are having the baby at a hospital, the health insurance company will realize you're having a baby that needs to be added to your insurance. Right? Ideally, health insurance would work that way, but in the real world, it doesn't.
The best way to make sure your delivery and hospital stay are covered is to fill out pre-admission paperwork so that the hospital and your insurance company can begin coordinating care. It also saves time, since you won't have to register and deal with insurance issues when you're ready to deliver. You don't have to wait to notify your insurance company of the baby, either. Talk to your insurance company - or your employer if you have insurance through work - and tell them you'll need to add the baby. They may have specific instructions, such as waiting until you have a birth certificate or other proof of birth. Be sure to follow their guidelines.
Within days of returning home from the hospital, those big bills will start arriving in the mail. It's easier to finalize your insurance changes before that happens. Otherwise, you'll have to make a lot of calls to make sure the bills get paid. And, if you're shopping for new health care coverage, be sure to look for a carrier that provides Well-Child coverage, because regular check-ups and immunizations are so important - and costly.
If you are one of the millions of Americans without insurance, look for a local Well-Child clinic that offers free healthcare and immunizations for children. Many counties offer check-ups and routine shots on a free or pay-what-you-can-afford basis. While some immunizations are optional, most health care providers recommend this protection.
While some parents or grandparents buy a small life insurance policy for a newborn, it's not essential that you do so. Life insurance is usually easy to buy for young people or young adults. However, you should strongly consider buying coverage for yourself or your spouse - or increasing your coverage if you already have a policy. Financial planning professionals suggest buying enough coverage to maintain your home and lifestyle if your income suddenly disappears. Even if you can't do that immediately, budgeting for a small amount of insurance is often a good safety net for young families. On the other hand, if you and your spouse already have life insurance, adding coverage for your child usually doesn't cost very much, and it can ensure that they will have a life insurance policy even if they become uninsurable later due to severe health conditions.
Are you driving more slowly now that you have a baby in the backseat? Wonderful. It's safer for all of you - and you'll save money on gas (as well as avoid tickets) if you're not speeding. Hopefully, you're driving with adequate car insurance coverage, but consider whether you have enough coverage if you cause or get injured in an accident. If you or the other party were injured, would your car insurance cover medical payments and lost wages? Remember, your resources are now your child's resources as well, so protecting them becomes even more important. Also, make sure you buy uninsured motorists coverage to protect your family against injuries that might be caused by an uninsured motorist.
Lastly, make sure your baby always rides in a car seat - in the back seat. If you need help buying a car seat or checking whether you've installed your seat properly, www.usa.safekids.org can help.
Finally, check your home insurance policy at the same time you're baby-proofing the kitchen. This policy not only covers repair or replacement of your home if it is damaged or destroyed, but it also covers people who visit your home. Think of all of the family and friends who will visit after the baby is born. What if one of them gets injured at your home? Your home insurance policy can cover their medical expenses. Home insurance can save you money as well as time - time spent in court due to injuries your house caused but which you could not pay for.
You may have some sleepless nights ahead, but there's no reason to lose sleep over your insurance coverage if you spend a little time reviewing today.
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