What Newlyweds Need to Know About Insurance

Auto Insurance, Insurance
What Newlyweds Need to Know About Insurance

Newlyweds face some big decisions as they merge their lives, and not just whose tacky furniture is headed for the nearest dumpster. Now that you and your spouse are an official family, it’s a good time to review your insurance options.

Here are some key moves to consider.

Car insurance

Combining policies: Get quotes from each of your insurers to see which one offers the cheapest price. Also, compare car insurance rates from other companies to find out whether a new insurer would cost less.

Make sure whoever cancels coverage — you, your spouse or both — has the new insurance effective on the day the old insurance expires. Any lapse could lead to higher rates next time you shop for coverage.

Ask about discounts: Remember to ask for a review of possible discounts, like a multicar discount for insuring more than one vehicle and a bundling discount if you’re also buying homeowners or renters insurance.

Simply letting your insurer know you’re married is enough to reduce your rates in some cases. Married people often get lower rates because they are seen as less risky.

Homeowners and renters insurance

Choosing a policy: If you’ve been living apart and paying for separate home or renters insurance, one person will need to cancel coverage when you move in together. The policy you keep automatically covers both of you, but also alert your insurer so it can officially list your spouse on the policy.

Not sure which policy to go with? Consider factors such as price, coverage options and customer service scores to find the best homeowners insurance or renters insurance.

Increasing coverage limits: You might have more to lose now that you and your spouse have combined belongings, such as furniture and electronics. Ask your insurer about increasing your limits on personal property coverage, which pays to replace or repair items that are stolen or damaged. High-value items such as wedding rings might need special coverage, called scheduled personal property.

Bundle of joy? Er, not that kind. Bundling your auto and homeowners insurance, or auto and renters, by buying them from the same company means easy savings from most insurers.

Life insurance

Insuring for two: You probably didn’t need life insurance when you were single. But that could change now if your death would leave your spouse in financial trouble, or vice versa. For example:

  • One of you depends, or you both depend, on the other’s income to pay the bills
  • You share a mortgage that neither could afford alone
  • One of you has, or you both have, debts the other would be stuck with

A life insurance payout can keep situations like these from causing financial ruin for the surviving spouse.

» COMPARE: Life insurance quotes

Look for a multipolicy discount: You could score a car insurance discount by buying your life insurance from the same company as your auto insurance. But look at the end price compared with other quotes. A discount doesn’t always lead to the best deal.

Health insurance

Special enrollment period: Most people must enroll in health insurance during a set time period at the end of each year, called open enrollment. But getting married usually allows you to buy health insurance any time of year, for a certain window of time.

You typically have up to 60 days after getting married in which to enroll in a new individual health plan, or 30 days in which one of you can join the other’s employer-based health insurance, according to HealthCare.gov.

Choosing a health plan: You can keep separate health plans if you’re both satisfied with the service and price. But you might find it’s cheaper to get on the same plan, especially if you’re using an employer plan. Being on the same policy could also help you reach your annual deductible faster.

Compare health insurance quotes for plans on the health insurance marketplace against the cost of your employer-sponsored plans. (Going through work will generally be cheapest.) Also weigh each plan’s deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, coverage limits, prescription coverage and choice of health care providers. It’s nice to have a low rate, but not if you can’t see the doctors you want or have an extremely high deductible.

» MORE: Life insurance for married couples

Alex Glenn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aglenn@nerdwallet.com.