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Just got engaged? Be sure to talk about insurance E-mail
Opinion
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 12:42

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GUEST COLUMN, Ken Selzer, Kansas Insurance Commissioner



Nearly 40 percent of engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. Then, the planning begins, not only for the wedding but for married life in general. 

One not-so-exciting – but just as important – factor that engaged couples should discuss is what to do about insurance needs. That may not be as fun as sampling cakes, but getting married can certainly have an impact on insurance coverage.

Our Kansas Insurance Department (KID) staff and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) have some insurance tips for couples who are about to say “I do.”



Wedding insurance

Insurance to protect against weather, illness or even “cold feet” is increasing, according to insurance companies. Since the average cost of a wedding in the United States is reportedly at $26,000, and an estimated 2 million-plus weddings occur annually in the U.S., couples might want to check with an insurance agent to see if this could be useful for their situation.   



Homeowners and Renter’s Insurance

There are several things to consider when deciding where you and your spouse will live. Location, size of the dwelling and construction type are all factors that determine your insurance premium.

Combining households also means combining your belongings. Make a home inventory of all your belongings to determine how much coverage you will need. It will also make filing a claim easier in the event of a loss or disaster. The NAIC offers a free smartphone home inventory app that makes your information and photos available at your fingertips. You can also print off the KID Personal Home Inventory by going to www.ksinsurance.org. 



Auto Insurance

Married couples have the option of combining their auto insurance policies, but most newlyweds do not discuss their spouse’s driving record before getting married. A poor driving record could increase the cost of your premiums, so you might want to have that conversation.

As a newlywed, you may be eligible for discounts. Some insurance companies consider married couples a lower risk, which could result in lower rates. Also, if you combine your auto policies or buy auto coverage from the same company that carries your homeowners or renters policy, you may be eligible for additional discounts.



Health Insurance

When deciding about your health insurance needs as a couple, evaluate your current and future health care. Review the provisions of your policies with those needs and coverages in mind. You will also want to compare the cost of adding your spouse to your policy against keeping your own health insurance.

For individual plans, contact your insurance agent for specific enrollment requirements for spouses. You will need your spouse’s Social Security Number and income information to add him/her to your plan.



Life Insurance

It is not easy to talk about something such as life insurance during a happy time, but life insurance may help secure your family’s financial future. Unfortunately, current reports indicate that many marrying-age millennials see life insurance as unneeded.

But for future family planning, it can be a must. To calculate your needs, consider future income, the cost of raising children and any large outstanding debts such as school loans or mortgage payments.

If either or both of you have life insurance, check with your insurance agent about updating your beneficiary information. Remember to check with your employer about any life insurance benefits offered through work.



Not Sure Where to Start?

To help couples get smart about insurance, the NAIC created a special section in its www.insureuonline.org website under “Weddings” in “Life Events.”  This guide encourages couples to ask the tough questions early.

As always, you can always call the Kansas Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance Hotline at 800-432-2484. 

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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