According to the popular wedding planning site The Knot, couples spend an average of 15 hours per week planning their weddings, but it’s unlikely that much of that time is spent planning for life after the big day.
But now that you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, make sure you protect each other by considering the bigger financial picture.
“Getting married is the perfect time to take a fresh look at your entire financial picture, including your insurance needs,” says Doug Smith, executive vice president, Sales and Products, at Erie Insurance. “It’s much better to plan before the wedding so there are no surprises later.”
Here are five key insurance* questions to discuss with your spouse-to-be before taking a walk down the aisle:
- How can I protect my bling?
Chances are you spent a lot of time and money picking out rings you’ll love and wear every day. But according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, roughly 1.5 million burglaries occur annually in the United States—that’s more than 4,100 per day. It’s important to make sure you have the right insurance to cover your rings if they’re lost or stolen.
Your strategy: Have your rings appraised to establish their value. Keep your store receipts and take a picture of the rings. Having pictures and documentation helps speed up the claims process if you ever have to file a claim. Also, keep your rings in a safety deposit box when you’re not wearing them.
- Baby, can you drive my car?
Once you’re married, your spouse generally will be covered on your auto insurance policy and vice versa. This could mean opportunities for savings.
Your strategy: Once you become a two-car home, you may be eligible for a multi-car discount. You should also consider bundling your car insurance with your homeowners and/or life insurance which can result in even more savings. Additionally, some insurance companies offer a lower rate for married couples, so talk to a local Erie Insurance agent.
- Have you protected the things that make your house (or apartment) a home?
Are you planning to move into a new place after the honeymoon? Whether or not your living situation changes, make sure your home and belongings are protected.
Your strategy: Consider what new pieces will be added to your abode. If you purchase —or receive as a gift—new furniture, art pieces or any other new belongings, it’s a good idea to make sure those items are covered in case of theft, fire or natural disaster.
You’ll also want to make sure your homeowners insurance covers 100 percent of the cost to rebuild your home if needed. “Do your research,” says Smith. “Some insurance companies cap their coverage at a certain amount. That means you could find yourself substantially underinsured, even if you thought you were paying for so-called ‘replacement cost’ insurance.”
If you are combining your belongings into one apartment, update your renters insurance policy to protect you should there be a theft or fire.
- What do you need to do before plunging into a remodeling project?
Two or more people in a house means you need more space, so you may be adding on to your existing home. This can mean workers doing potentially dangerous jobs in the home.
Your strategy: When you hire a contractor, request a certificate of insurance to confirm their liability and workers’ compensation coverages. Review the certificate and your homeowners policy.
- Have you thought about life after you say “I do?”
When you get married, you may become part of a dual-income household. When this happens, you plan your future based on a new budget created by two incomes, which brings increased financial responsibility. Should something happen, surviving family members could struggle without the right level of protection.
Your strategy: Make sure your spouse is protected if one income is lost. Universal life insurance** provides insurance for your entire life and builds a cash value. Term life insurance provides affordable coverage for a set number of years. Some websites, including erieinsurance.com, offer an online life insurance calculator to help you determine how much insurance you may need. Also, as you begin to build a nest egg, you have more assets to protect. A personal umbrella policy provides extra protection for you and your family against lawsuits arising from personal injury or property damage claims.
While it's important to plan for rain on your wedding day and to make sure everyone has a place card, it's even more important to plan for what comes after you say, "I do." Luckily, there is a trusted ERIE advisor ready to help you after the big day and beyond.
*Insurance policies are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this article. For coverage questions, consult your individual policy or talk to an Erie Insurance agent.
**Erie Family Life insurance policies are not available in New York.