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Changing Insurance after Divorce

Divorce is a challenging period of emotional highs and lows. It’s a significant change that presents both freedom and rejection, not to mention the physical assets and property division that are a key part of the process.

Sorting through real estate, child custody, retirement plans and savings accounts is difficult but, with the physical property in front of your eyes, some things are easier to remember as you rebuild your independent, post-divorce life.

What’s often overlooked in a divorce settlement are the more abstract, but equally important, matters like insurance.

A new life and new policies

Divorce is a “life event” when it comes to insurance arrangements, which means that the door is usually open to changing policies within a set timeframe. As your living arrangements, child custody and income have changed, you’ll want to make sure you’re looking out for your best interests going forward. Your old policies may not provide adequate protection for you as an independent adult or for your children.

Policies that may need to be changed or purchased:

  • Health insurance – Once the divorce is complete, you cannot be a dependent on your ex-spouse’s coverage, and vice versa. Children can remain under an ex’s policy but you will need to enroll in individual coverage through your employer or through a state marketplace.
  • Life insurance – It is likely that your ex-spouse is your beneficiary on existing forms. You’ll need to consider updating the agreement and, depending on child custody, you may want to create a separate policy for your spouse to ensure that your children are protected if something happens.
  • Disability insurance – As a sole income earner, you have less financial security after a divorce. Studies show that workers are more likely to become disabled than to die before retirement age. The insurance can supplement lost income if something does happen.
  • Home or renters insurance – When the divorce is complete, your title will change to just one owner. Insurance needs to be amended to reflect the new status. Related, if you’ve moved to a rental unit, you should seek coverage for your new home.
  • Auto insurance – Much like home ownership, any time a title changes hands, the corresponding insurance needs to be changed. Your rates can change after a divorce. Also, children who drive need to be covered under any policy where they might drive the car.

Security for Tomorrow

Divorce is truly a new start, and it means that existing documents and policies need an update or new approach. When changing beneficiaries and plans, remember that you’re looking for your own security but also for policies that bridge to your ex as appropriate so your kids are properly taken care of.

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