Two people coming together in marriage to form a new family is a significant milestone that impacts your entire life. A change in marital status also brings a surprising number of considerations and decisions. Combining two lives involves careful planning to ensure it's smooth sailing for the two of you, which is why the brokers at Morison Insurance have prepared a few good-to-know insurance tips for married couples.
Moving from insurance coverage for a single person to a joint policy for a married couple isn't the most challenging part of beginning to build a life as a duo—with the help of an experienced broker, it should be a reasonably smooth process. But it is good to start with a basic knowledge of what to expect and what's expected of you. These insurance tips for married couples will help you get your insurance coverage where it needs to be so you can focus on enjoying married life.
One of the most crucial insurance tips for married couples is to speak with your broker at Morison Insurance and get advice specifically tailored to your unique lifestyle and insurance policy. There's also some pertinent information that your broker will need to make sure your information is up-to-date, and you are fully covered. If one or both spouses legally changed their surname as part of the marriage union, for example, make sure your broker is aware so they can update your surname and driver's license number for your auto insurance.
Marriage is about more than just joining your lives together—it's also about combining two peoples' furniture, artwork, décor and other belongings into a single dwelling, which can be a challenge at the best of times. A sometimes missed insurance tip for married couples is once you've moved in together and the proverbial dust has settled, it's a good idea to take the time to do a thorough inventory of your shared belongings, which is a big chore but can benefit a married couple for two reasons. One, in the event of a disastrous loss caused by fire or flooding, you will know exactly what you had and what was damaged, which is not always easy to determine following a catastrophic incident. Two, you will have a much clearer sense of the combined value of your high-value items. You can talk with your Morison Insurance broker to ensure your contents insurance coverage limits are sufficient to protect you against devastating financial loss should your belongings be damaged, stolen or destroyed.
Bonus Insurance Tip for Married Couples: While inventorying belongings for insurance coverage, don't forget the items right in front of your face—or, instead, on your hands. Your engagement ring and wedding bands should be appraised for value and included on your contents insurance policy or as a jewellery insurance floater. Your Morison Insurance broker can help you with this.
Right up there among the most significant insurance tips for married couples is to get over the hurdle of combining your separate individual policies into a single joint policy. When it comes to homeowners insurance, this makes sense. If you're living together in a single house or condo, you only need one home insurance or condo insurance policy that will cover the property, building and contents. Moving from two houses down to one means one less policy to pay premiums on. Still, it could also financially benefit married couples because some insurance companies are willing to offer married people a lower premium. Statistically, couples are at a lower risk of some types of incidents or events that could cause damage.
When it comes to auto insurance, combining also makes a lot of sense. You may both have your own vehicles, but if you're living together, you need to be included on each other's policies as a listed driver. It would be more economical to have multiple vehicles on a single policy, which could amount to a multi-car discount. Or, maybe only one spouse has a vehicle, but both have driver's licenses. In that case, the other spouse must be listed on the policy even if they don't intend to drive the vehicle.
Bonus Insurance Tip for Married Couples: There are a couple of scenarios in which separate policies for auto may be the better course of action for married drivers. Suppose one spouse has a good driving record and the other does not. In that case, it will raise premiums for the former and lower them for the latter, which isn't necessarily a negative result. But there is also the possibility that the spouse with a good record could be declined to continue coverage with their current company if the insurance carrier refuses to accept adding a licensed driver with a bad record. Before deciding on a scenario like this, consult with your broker so they can give you an educated recommendation on the choice that will get you the best overall results as married drivers.
Along with the previous insurance tip for married couples that you should look for ways to combine your and your spouse's coverage, a really good insurance tip for married couples is to chat with your insurance broker about bundled home and auto insurance with a single insurance provider. This type of policy allows you to roll your auto and home insurance coverage into a bundle. This can net you a multi-policy discount, and maintaining that insurance bundle over time can potentially reduce your premiums for being a loyal client. Since you're already combining your home and auto insurance coverage, bundling everything together is a logical move that can result in some savings.
If you're moving in together and combining separate policies, you will probably need to cancel at least one insurance policy. In some cases, you may cancel multiple policies to get a new one that works for both of your insurance needs and offers you the proper financial protection against loss. A critical insurance tip for married couples is to wait for the renewal date of at least one of the policies before cancelling. That way, you can save what may be a significant amount of money by avoiding the cancellation fee. Suppose you (a couple) must cancel more than one policy. In that case, it may not be possible to hold off until both renewal dates pass, but even waiting until one policy is ready for renewal will save you more than just cancelling both outright and paying cancellation fees on several policies. However, in some cases, the savings you receive when combining your policies could outweigh a cancellation fee. Speak to your Morison Insurance broker to help determine the best time to cancel or combine your policies.
Sometimes marriage isn't just about combining two lives. According to each spouse's family situation, they may bring other people with them into the household, such as children or other care dependents like family members who are elderly or have disability challenges. This insurance tip for married couples is important as dependants living in a household are included under that property's home insurance. Still, it would be best if you spoke with your Morison Insurance broker to ensure they are added, and you have adequate coverage limits for the new size of your household. Since everyone has belongings, your new family members may also cause you to require higher contents insurance to make sure their high-value items are covered. Teenagers who have just gotten their driver's license should be included on auto insurance as a listed drivers, even if they don't have their own vehicles. In addition to the necessary insurance coverage, they will benefit by getting a head start on building their insurance history by being included on your policy.
Bonus Insurance Tip for Married Couples: If you live with your parents, are on their auto insurance policy, and continue to live with them after you get married, you cannot remain on your parent's current plan. Insurance companies will require you to have your auto insurance policy with your spouse, separate from your parents.
We've talked quite a bit about homeowners insurance in these insurance tips for married couples, but not everyone is a homeowner. If you have both been renting houses or apartments and one spouse is moving into the existing home of the other, they will be included under the current tenant insurance. However, the spouse moving in will naturally be bringing their belongings along with them, which means that your contents limits will probably need to increase. Or, if you are leaving the places you've been renting separately to find a new home that will work for both of you, you'll need to establish a new tenant insurance policy at your recent rental or switch one of your policies over to the new property.
Some people, married couples and singles alike, don't see the need for renters insurance if they think they don't have many valuable possessions. You may not have a collection of original art pieces or a safe full of expensive jewelry. But, you have items such as furniture, electronics and even clothing that are essential to your daily lives. While those items aren't as flashy as fur coats and luxury cars, they are significant to you, and it would be difficult to replace them all at once should they be destroyed or stolen. Renters insurance gives you the peace of mind of knowing you can get financial assistance to recover from a disaster and replace the items you need for work, recreation and your daily routine.
Some couples choose to live together without getting married, which is an excellent way to cohabitate with the one you love. Most, if not all, of the insurance tips for married couples listed above, are also sound advice for those in common-law relationships—but what qualifies as a common-law marriage when it comes to insurance?
A crucial insurance tip for married couples is what the definition of "spouse" is. A "spouse" is defined by the Insurance Act (concerning auto insurance) as one of two persons who are married to each other, have, in good faith, entered into a void or voidable marriage, or have lived together in an unmarried conjugal relationship for no less than three years continuously. While that time frame may be less in the case of a couple who has a child together, in essence, that means you must live together continuously for at least three years in a conjugal relationship to be considered common-law and eligible to receive the spousal advantages of insurance coverage.
In Ontario, an auto insurance policy holder's spouse is covered by their insurance, for example. So to benefit from that coverage, it's not necessary to be legally married as long as you have cohabitated conjugally for a minimum of three years. It's also worth noting that while it could be difficult for unmarried couples to get home insurance in the past, that's typically no longer the case nowadays. Most insurance carriers are willing to offer a common-law couple home insurance rates similar to what a married couple would pay.
When you embark on a new chapter of your life, such as marriage, it's a beautiful, exciting time that can also be a stressful transition. At Morison Insurance, our experienced brokers are there to provide advise and any other insurance tips for married couples you may need. You can rest assured that you have the right affordable option of insurance coverage that suits your household situation and entire family.
Morison Insurance is a family-owned business that strives to make every one of our clients feel like they're getting the best service and the right insurance coverage with a wide range of options. To speak with our brokers about insurance tips for married couples and much more, call us today at 1-800-463-8074 or fill out our online contact form for a quote.
This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.