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Don’t Let Your Divorce Leave You Uninsured or Underinsured

When you’re going through a divorce, insurance policies are probably not at the top of your list of priorities. However, an experienced family law attorney will help ensure that you don’t lose important coverage for yourself and your children in the settlement.

There are different types of insurance you need to think about during your divorce.

Health insurance for both yourself and your kids should be addressed in the divorce decree. If you are covered under your spouse’s employer-sponsored plan, that coverage will likely end with the divorce. You may be able to continue to receive coverage under that plan through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, popularly known as COBRA, for up to 36 months. However, that can be expensive.

With the future of the Affordable Care Act facing great uncertainty, your options for getting your own coverage, particularly if you have a pre-existing condition, may be limited. Discuss your insurance options with your attorney so that you can get coverage, or at least the money you need to cover your COBRA payments. Of course, you also want to ensure that your children remain covered, either through your plan or your spouse’s.

You’ll also need to make changes to your auto insurance policy. You’ll want to ensure that your name is taken off the policy for any vehicle you are no longer driving or have an ownership interest. The same is true with removing your spouse from policies for vehicles that no longer are in his or her name.

If you’re a woman now living alone, you may want to consider coverage for roadside assistance, towing, rental car and related expenses in case your car breaks down or you have to be without it for a time.

Life insurance policies are generally addressed in the divorce decree. If you are the sole supporter of your children, you may want to increase coverage should anything happen to you. You may be tempted to remove your spouse as the beneficiary immediately, but check with your attorney before doing that, as there may be legal ramifications.

Other types of insurance policies that you should review (or consider getting if you don’t have them) include:

  • Homeowner’s/renter’s insurance
  • Long-term insurance
  • Disability insurance

Find out what’s available through your employer, if anything, and talk with your insurance agent about changes or additions to your current policies. Your attorney can also provide guidance.

Source: Association of Divorce Financial Planners, “Divorce and Insurance,” Sandy Voit, CDFA, LMHC, accessed Feb. 10, 2017

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