When dealing their finances during a divorce, couples often spend a great deal of time thinking about how to split their saving accounts and credit card debt, but very little time considering their insurance policies. While health insurance, life insurance and homeowner’s insurance are all affected by a divorce, today we would like to talk about car insurance and divorce.
There are a number of factors that are specific to auto insurance that do not apply to any other form of insurance. Additionally, there are several things that a divorcing couple will need to take into account when making decisions about their car insurance. For that reason, we have created a basic list of some facts you need to know about car insurance and divorce.
It Takes Two…
Car insurance companies require that any time one person is removed from a policy, they must have the permission of both parties. This is to ensure that someone cannot be removed from a policy without their knowledge. If nothing else, this will require that a divorcing couple come to an agreement about the policy before they make any drastic moves.
In The Know…
Although this isn’t the case for every single car insurance company, many of them require that a married couple inform them within 30 days of the divorce being finalized. This varies from company to company, and even from state to state, but it is always better to call and let them know than neglect to pass on that change in marital status and hope there’s no backlash.
Divide and Conquer…
One of the first steps for many couples is getting separate living addresses. Incidentally, this is also the first step towards separating liability. For a couple who are still legally married and living at the same address, liability is shared. So as soon as you move out, it makes sense to consider having separate addresss listed with your insurance company.
Each To His Own…
The majority of insurance companies require that the person who is insuring the vehicle to be listed on the title. In this case, a vehicle co-owner would need to be listed as “additional insured” if they were not living at the same address as the policyholder. For divorcing couples to keep things simple when they legally part ways, we recommend each having their own car, where they are listed as the legal owner on the title. That way, when the divorce is final they can each get their own insurance policy for their vehicle.
Old versus New…
Once the divorce is final, one party is going to have to get a new policy. They can stay with the same company or move to a new insurance provider. In cases where the homeowner’s and auto insurance policies are bundled, it makes sense that the spouse who keeps the home also keeps the car insurance policy.
One Step at a Time…
We recommend that divorcing couples not make any significant or permanent changes to their auto insurance policies until after their divorce is final. Sometimes divorce agreements can change in the last weeks before the divorce is finalized. This could complicate things if the couple has already made a change to their policy that would now need to be undone, or perhaps redone with a different arrangement.
We hope this basic breakdown has been helpful for you. Remember, divorce is a busy and stressful time, and there is a lot to remember. If you have questions, or would like advice on how to handle an aspect of your divorce, the experienced family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm are always here to help.