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Auto Insurance Considerations for Single Parents
- Carefully review your auto insurance needs with your insurance agent to ensure that you are obtaining the coverage you need in the most cost-effective way.
- If you are going through a divorce, alert your insurance company to the change and provide the necessary paperwork to show that you are the owner and insured party on your auto policy when the divorce is final. At the same time, remove your ex-spouse from the policy, if appropriate. Should he/she get into an accident, you could potentially be liable if you still share the policy. If a claim occurs, your ex-spouse may be listed on any check if they are still listed as an insured. Also, if you move, be sure to change the address listed on the policy.
- As a parent, you may want to increase liability insurance coverage, especially if you will be carpooling children other than your own.
Home Insurance Considerations for Single Parents
- Depending on who is listed as the owner of the home and whether you and/or your ex-spouse are moving following a divorce, you may need to adjust the paperwork associated with your homeowners insurance policy. It should only have the name of the current homeowner listed.
- If you have a mortgage on your home, your insurance policy must list the name and address of the financial institution that currently holds your mortgage account. Be sure to update the information on the deed, mortgage and homeowners policy if ownership changes in the divorce.
- If you change the locks on your house or install a new security system to your home following a divorce, make sure to alert the insurance company, as you may be eligible for a discount on your premiums for the upgrade.
- Should you or your ex-spouse move to a rental property following the divorce, consider purchasing renter’s insurance to protect your personal items as well as to provide you with liability coverage.
- If you and your children are dependents on your spouse's employer group coverage, and you get divorced or legally separated, you must contact the employer if you wish to continue your health coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The employer will not notify you that you have been removed from the plan.
- After a divorce, coordination of benefits for your children can become quite complicated. If the divorce decree names one parent responsible for the children's health coverage, that parent's coverage will be primary, meaning that benefits will be processed under that policy prior to the other parent’s policy.
- If you have an individual policy, check with your insurer to add your children to your policy.
- Be sure to check with your agent to make sure your coverage is not duplicated by a former spouse, if applicable.
Life Insurance Considerations for Single Parents
- If you and your ex-spouse have life insurance policies, make sure to adjust the beneficiaries on the policies to reflect the changes you both want after the divorce is final.
- If you become a single parent, review your life insurance policy, will and retirement accounts to make sure they all indicate the correct beneficiaries.
- If your spouse will be paying for child support, consider requiring that he/she purchase a life insurance policy covering the term of the payments. You should be named as the owner and beneficiary of such a policy to prohibit your ex-spouse from changing the beneficiary name without your agreement.
- Never leave a life insurance benefit directly to a minor child; instead make sure the policy names a contingent beneficiary or a trustee who will act as a beneficiary on behalf of the child. The best way to avoid having the life insurance benefit taxed is for you to own the policy on your ex-spouse and vice versa.
- When considering purchasing life insurance, the amount of coverage you need depends on your financial circumstances and beneficiaries. Do your homework and make sure that the company is reputable, the amount of coverage is adequate, and the policy is affordable and works for you. Children of single or divorced parents may be more financially vulnerable in the event of the death of a parent. The main guardian should carefully choose the level of life insurance to provide the best safety net for the children.