Are you getting married?

Marriage and insurance

So you're engaged! Congratulations and best wishes. How does this upcoming change affect insurance?

The rings

Getting engaged usually means that there is an engagement ring. There is a limitation on home insurance policies for jewelery so it is a good idea to talk to your insurance broker or agent. Find out how much would be covered in the case of mysterious disappearance, break-in or theft. This ring has great sentimental value. It would be helpful to be able to duplicate it or replace a major stone if something happened to it. What is the cost? What is the coverage? With that information in hand you can choose to either "float" it above your regular policy or just leave things as they are.

The household contents/gifts

Will you be moving contents to the other's home? Your home policies will have temporary extensions of coverage for while contents are off site but what if the time is extended beyond that limit? Again, another good question to ask your insurance adviser. For a very small premium you can have a contents and liability extension to each other's home.

You might consider starting an inventory as well. Consider a fire claim where there is little left to jog your memory. Even a video or pictures would be helpful.

Of course, when one of you moves then the other will be able to cancel their insurance policy. Whether it is a homeowners, tenants or condominium unit policy the spouse will gain rights for contents and liability coverage once you are married.

The vehicles

If you haven't already advised your insurance brokers then now is the time to add to each other as drivers. Even if you do not use the vehicles on a regular basis you will share the driving on trips. One or the other is quite likely to grab and keys and make a quick trip to the store for a loaf of bread or a jug of milk. Most accidents happen close to home. Again, you are always best to be pro-active with insurance. Let them know what you are doing. When a claim does happen then you are not giving out unexpected information for a circumstance not considered. Will you share use of the sled, the bike, the ATV?

Many couples will keep their own auto policies separate from each other. Some insurance companies will give multi-vehicle discounts even if vehicles are on separate policies. You may choose to amend your registration and insurance to husband and wife. If so then contact your agent or broker to complete these transactions. One company may be better then another for pricing. One broker may be more experienced then another.

Check to see if your changed martial status will affect your premiums. Often a male under 25 years-old will save money on his insurance once he is married.

The big day

Yes, you can buy wedding event insurance. Some of the coverages could include cancellation due to a big storm for an outdoor wedding, the photographer being unable to take the pictures or a principal member of the wedding party being unable to attend due to accident or injury.

What if the gifts were stolen? Again, that temporarily removed from the home policy extension would come into play. You would need to get a list of the gifts stolen. There is always a limit on a policy for cash claims and it is usually quite low, $500 or so. So if you are doing an "envelopes with cash" such as a decorative wishing well display then think about where it will be located.

Liquor liability coverage is something you need to consider purchasing. It is relatively inexpensive and if there is going to be liquor served at the reception then you need to protect yourself from the financial consequences of someone injuring themselves or someone or something else. The owners of the hall you rent will likely require that you provide proof of insurance. They don't want to be involved in a lawsuit either!

Group health

If one of you has group health insurance and the other does not then let the group administrator know the date of the wedding. You can amend your plan from single to family and your spouse gains some valuable benefits. If you both have group health plans then you might want to keep both to gain the additional coverage to both plans. This should be discussed with your group administrator. Is there a benefit for you to keep both? If you will only keep one then which one?

It might be a little soon but you will need to think about life insurance for each other. The minimum you would want is a death benefit coverage. Another important thing to do is to have your wills drawn up once you are married. Ideally that is marriage, until death do you part!

The honeymoon

Don't forget to buy travel insurance for your unexpected, excess medical needs. You can price out trip cancellation, trip interruption and baggage insurance at the same time. It is often cheaper then purchasing from the travel agent.

Do remember to have someone check your home while you are away. During the heating season this is expected by the insurance companies. Perhaps you can leave a calendar on the kitchen table and have it initialed by the person checking the property that day. It is also a good idea to have the home appear occupied so that person can be helping to reduce the risk of break-in by taking in the newspaper, flyers and opening and closing the curtains.

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