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Marriage and Insurance

You might have already answered all of the pre-wedding questions about who’s paying for what, if you’re going to share joint accounts, and how to tackle debt either of you bring to the marriage—but have you thought about how your insurance will change once you tie the knot?

If you have the time and brain space for it, review the upcoming insurance changes before the big day so you have all of your ducks in a row. The checklist here can help.

Car insurance

If you and your partner have car insurance policies through different companies, get quotes from both to see which offers the best deal. A new insurer might even have a cheaper price for you, so don’t discount shopping around. Ask about discounts for a multicar policy, for bundling with your renters or homeowners insurance, and for the simple act of getting married. Married couples are sometimes seen as less risky, and so get lower rates. For example, young couples in their 20s could pay 20–26% less, and those in their 30s 2–5% less.

Whoever cancels coverage needs to ensure the new insurance is effective on the day the old insurance expires. Any lapse could lead to higher rates next time you shop for coverage.

Homeowners or renters insurance

This will probably only change for those who have been living apart and are now moving in together. Whoever’s policy you choose to keep will automatically cover both of you, but you’ll still want to list your spouse on the policy. Like with auto insurance, you may receive a small discount for getting married.

You will want to increase your limit on personal property coverage, which pays to replace or repair items that are stolen or damaged, as you now have more to lose. High-value items—like those wedding and engagement rings—will most likely need special coverage.

Life insurance

You may not have had a life insurance policy when you were single, but it’s a good idea now, especially if your death would leave your spouse in a financial tight spot. For example, if they depend on your income to help pay bills, if you share a mortgage or other loans, if you have debts your spouse would be responsible for, and/or if you have young children.

As with auto and homeowners/renters insurance, look for a multipolicy discount.

Health insurance

This is the big one, partly because there is a ticking clock, once you’re married, to make changes to your health insurance plan. Marriage is considered a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) and triggers a special enrollment period no matter the time of year, giving you (typically) 60 days from walking down the aisle to enroll in a new individual health plan, or 30 days for one of you to join the other’s employer-based health insurance. If you miss this window, you must retain your individual plans and wait until open enrollment to make changes.

Generally, going with an employer-based plan is the cheapest. Weigh each of your plan’s deductibles, coinsurance, copayments, coverage limits, prescription coverage, and choice of care providers. Being on the same policy could allow you to reach your annual deductible quicker. Marriage can penalize newly married couples who used to receive subsidies through the Affordable Care Act when single because your combined income will be higher.

Ready to make these next-level life decisions with your partner? It might not be as exciting as picking dance music for your reception, but having an insurance plan will go a long way in establishing a secure financial future together.

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