I’m getting divorced. Do I need to update my insurance?
Life comes at you fast: one minute you’re jumping on Oprah’s couch announcing that you’ve found true love, the next you’re haggling over $400,000 a year in child support. If you do find yourself duking it out over retirement accounts (or a royal title), we’re so sorry. While it might not be at the forefront of your thoughts, if you choose to annul your marriage, file for divorce, or legally separate from your spouse, we’re here to tell you that you’ll also want to consider how your insurance will be impacted.
With health insurance, for example, changes will vary depending upon who the main policyholder is. Say you get your health coverage through your spouse’s job: If you then divorce, you’ll need to find a new provider. While enrollment periods are fixed, divorce is what’s known as a qualifying event, meaning you’ll be able to register for a new policy at any point during the year. (Other qualifying events include things like marriage, gaining a dependent, or becoming a US citizen.)
But reader, take note: You will only have a certain number of days after the triggering event (i.e. the divorce) during which you can obtain new insurance. As to when changes to your health insurance go into effect: well, it depends upon the plan, so you’ll want to speak directly with your provider. If you and your spouse are consciously uncoupling or amicably separating, on the other hand, you can of course remain on your shared plan.
Unlike healthcare, cars are something that a divorce lawyer can easily divvy up. Once you figure out which car (or motorcycle or RV) you’re keeping, you’ll need to inform your insurer about your divorce so that your ex-spouse can be removed from the policy. If you buy a new car, you’ll need to shop around for a policy that best fits your needs. And if you have teenagers who were previously included in a joint plan, they will now need to be listed on both your and your ex’s new policies.
While what to do about homeowners or renters insurance is fairly straightforward, life insurance can be trickier. In fact, some divorce settlements not only require that you obtain life insurance, but they also make you name your ex-spouse as a beneficiary. This is to cover any existing alimony or child support payments in the unfortunate case that your ex dies. If your divorce settlement is one without ongoing financial responsibilities, then you can ditch your ex-spouse as a beneficiary and feel free to name someone new.
Divorce is pretty much always messy, and that’s without Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin’s $3 million in legal fees. But whether you’re a celebrity or a mere mortal, it’s important to know what to change on your insurance after you’ve gone through the process of dividing up your life’s possessions. And when you’re ready, you can easily organize your updated policy information in your Marble wallet, where you can also shop for new coverage and start earning rewards on your insurance.