Same sex marriage and insurance

Confused about same sex marriage and insurance?

Prince Edward Island has just recently amended their legislation on same sex marriage to get rid of their old wordings and match the current standard. Insurance has long-recognized that a marriage can be more then the standard man/woman combination.

For your home insurance whether it be your condominium unit, rental home or homeowner's coverage the coverage extends for the spouse. How does the insurance company define a spouse? Here is a common example of the wording used for spouse:

  • Either of a man and a woman who are married to each other or who have together entered into a marriage that is voidable or void; or
  • Either of two persons who are living together in a conjugal relationship outside marriage and have so lived together continuously for a period of two years or, if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child, for a period of one year.

In Canada effective July 20, 2005 the Canadian Parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act which defined marriage nationwide as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others". So it does not matter if you are opposite sex or same sex, spouse is a spouse.

What is important to remember is that the insurance document should reflect the named insured exactly as the title of the property. Who owns the policy? It should only be the person on title when you are looking at a condominium unit owner or homeowner policy. The spouse of the named insured will gain coverage through the wordings of the policy for contents and liability.

If the coverage is for a rental home or condominium-unit then it can be one or both of the couple named as the spouse will once again pick up coverage through the wordings.

Automobile insurance is the same. The registered owner of the vehicle should be listed as the policy owner. All drivers should be listed on the policy. This is to be sure that the policy is correctly rated for all drivers who have access to the vehicle. It also provides a driving record for all the drivers listed. If your spouse has his/her own vehicle and insurance then this should be noted when application is made. If you are using the SEF 27 coverage for the rental of a non-owned vehicle then only the insured and drivers listed on the policy will have coverage.

Travel insurance policies are often less expensive when there is a travelling companion listed and the family rating often gives a discount. Be sure to declare your beneficiary if there is any death benefit included and declare the relationship.

Life insurance has always had a beneficiary that is to be named. Be sure that you have discussed if it is an irrevocable beneficiary designation. Who owns the policy?

For your insurance to be correctly written you need to talk to your agent or broker. Ask questions to be sure that you understand your options. The risk you choose to insure is in your control.