How insurance after divorce works

Separation and divorce can affect your insurance if you and your spouse share policies for your home, cars, health, life, or disability. If your cars are kept at separate residences, you need separate auto policies. If you don't already have your own health insurance, you'll need to find a provider once you divorce. Your homeowners policy should be under whomever owns the house; any changes to the belongings kept inside should be reported to your insurer. And there are ways for life and disability insurance to provide peace of mind for families going through divorce.

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How do I maintain my insurance after divorce?

Divorce can take a toll on your stress levels, particularly if you're in the middle of getting all your shared accounts in order. We're here to help you understand your options and obligations regarding any shared insurance policies. Let's look at how divorce can affect the different types of insurance, and the steps you and your ex can take to maintain coverage.

Divorce and car insurance

Most insurers require married couples to share car insurance policies if all cars are kept at the same residence. So does being divorced affect your car insurance? That usually depends on where your cars are kept overnight, which likely aligns with your living arrangements:

  • Living together: If your cars will continue to be kept at the same residence, you and your ex can stay on the same policy, just as if you were roommates sharing car insurance; or you can choose to get separate policies once you're legally separated or divorced. Staying on the same car insurance makes it easier to share cars and access potential discounts.
  • Living separately: If your cars will be parked at different residences, regardless of if or when you get divorced, you need to separate the cars onto different auto insurance policies according to where they're parked.

Pro tip:

In some instances, teen drivers of divorced parents may need to be listed as drivers on both parents' car insurance policies, if they regularly park cars overnight at both parents' residences. Check with your insurance company to determine the proper steps to take.

Homeowners insurance after divorce

With a divorce or separation, possessions are often split, and one or both spouses change their living arrangements. When there's an official change to the ownership of your home — for instance, from being in two names to being in only one name — you should make the same change to the ownership of your homeowners policy. Your insurer should be made aware of any changes to ownership, occupancy, or personal property in your home so they can make sure you have the correct policy type and coverage.

If you're renting an apartment or house during or after a divorce or separation, look into renters insurance.

When to notify home insurer of divorce

When you decide you or your spouse will move out, contact your home insurer to kick off the process of updating your personal property coverage limits and rewriting the policy under the proper homeowner's name. When the time comes, you'll likely need to provide documentation, such as the deed or a divorce decree, to remove an insured from a homeowners insurance policy. If your home will be vacant, you should notify your insurer of the vacancy date so you can obtain a vacancy policy. A change in the personal belongings on your property may result in an update to your personal property coverage (Coverage C), so notify your insurer as soon as valuables leave or are added to your home.

Health insurance and divorce

If you and your spouse are already on separate health insurance plans, you likely won't need to make any health insurance changes after your divorce, unless you want to move your children's coverage from one parent's plan to the other's. However, if you're currently on the same health plan, a divorce will necessitate some changes, particularly since it's considered a life event.

What happens to health insurance when you get divorced?

In many states, an ex-spouse can no longer be classified as a dependent and won't be able to remain on their ex's employer-sponsored health insurance after divorce. However, because insurers typically consider divorce a qualifying life event, you and your spouse (and your children) will have options for finding new health insurance once it's official:

  • Sign up for health insurance through your own employer
  • Buy a health insurance policy from a private insurer or the government health insurance marketplace
  • Elect COBRA coverage through your ex-partner's health plan

Can you keep a spouse on your health insurance after a divorce?

If you have an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, your ex-spouse can remain on it temporarily through COBRA, though this may require a significantly higher premium payment. Essentially, your ex can pay to continue accessing your employer's group health benefits for a set period while they look for a new health insurer or wait for their new coverage to begin.

Life insurance after divorce

Should I keep my ex as my life insurance beneficiary?

When you share children, it can make sense to keep your ex-spouse as your primary beneficiary. If you were to pass away unexpectedly, your death benefit could provide your family with the assistance that your alimony, child support, and college tuition payments did while you were alive. Otherwise, if you have no financial obligations to your ex, you may decide to remove them as your life insurance beneficiary and choose another family member or entity to receive your death benefit.

Getting life insurance during divorce

If you'll owe alimony or child support payments, a new life insurance policy could provide a safety net for your children and ex if something were to happen to you. Life insurance can offer peace of mind in the midst of the financial changes a divorce necessitates.

Disability insurance after divorce

Can a disability policy protect alimony or child support payments?

If alimony or child support payments are involved, it might be possible for your divorce agreement to require your ex-spouse to obtain disability coverage. This would allow you to continue receiving payments even if your ex can no longer work. Be sure to discuss this before your divorce paperwork has been finalized.

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