Wedding bells signal a new start to your life together. But once the champagne is popped and the cake is cut, what’s next? As you settle into life as a newly married couple, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance agent for a policy checkup. Even if you merged finances and homes prior to the wedding, recent changes - like receiving an expensive wedding gift or family heirloom - could impact your coverage needs. Additionally, if a name change occurred following the wedding, you will want to update your insurance policies and other legal documents accordingly.
Keep the following in mind when you speak with your agent.
1. Combining households: updating homeowners and rental insurance.
When you merge homes, both you and your spouse should be listed on your homeowners insurance or rental policy. The addition of new items into your household, such as your spouse’s expensive electronics or a family heirloom, may impact your coverage needs. Rental and homeowner's insurance policies typically provide personal property coverage at a percentage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Set aside time to review your insurance coverage limits and determine whether you need to add scheduled personal property insurance to your existing policy.
2. Adding scheduled personal property insurance: understand your options.
Scheduled personal property insurance provides additional coverage for certain high-cost items, like jewelry, antiques or electronics. This policy may also cover additional risks, like the accidental loss of an engagement ring, which many not be covered under a standard homeowners or rental insurance policy. In order to obtain scheduled personal property insurance for certain items, you may first need to obtain an appraisal. For jewelry like an engagement ring or wedding band, keep in mind that an appraisal is different from a diamond grading report. The appraisal will assign a value to the entire piece of jewelry, including the diamond, other stones and metal. This value is then listed on your policy.
Prior to speaking with your agent about scheduled personal property insurance, it’s also helpful to understand the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost coverage. When personal property listed on your homeowners insurance policy needs to be replaced, these items are typically replaced at fair market value. An actual cash value will pay out equal to the replacement value of damaged property minus depreciation. For items like electronics, which can be expensive investments and depreciate quickly, actual cash value might result in a much smaller payout. Talk to your insurance agent about which type of coverage is right for you.
3. Auto insurance: adding additional drivers or combining policies.
Even if you only occasionally drive your spouse’s car, it’s still a good idea to be added to the insurance policy, and vice versa. Adding a second driver to your auto insurance policy won’t adversely impact your rates, as long as the new driver has a good driving record, according to the Insurance Information Institute. If both you and your spouse own separate cars, consider insuring both vehicles through a single provider. Be sure to ask your agent whether you qualify for a multi-vehicle discount.
Getting married is an exciting life milestone. Set aside time to speak with Lakeside Insurance about your new coverage needs and ensure your family is prepared for the future.