Single Moms Get Smart about Insurance: Tips That Make a Big Difference
By Sandy Praeger
For many single moms, the upcoming school year marks not only the return to a regimented schedule of school hours, play dates and carpooling, but also a time when financial and social responsibilities are at their peak. Now more than ever, single moms can benefit from a better understanding of insurance to be certain that their children will be taken care of in any situation.
As you balance these many competing responsibilities, you might find it difficult to educate yourself about such topics as health, auto, home and life insurance. That is why the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has expanded its award-winning consumer education program – Insure U – to provide helpful tips and special considerations about insurance specifically geared toward the needs of single parents. The Insure U curriculum is available at www.insureuonline.org.
So why leave your insurance decisions to chance? Get smart about insurance with tips from the NAIC that can make a significant difference in your life, as well as your children’s:
- If you and your children were dependents on your ex-spouse’s employer group coverage, you must contact the employer if you wish to continue health coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The employer will not notify you that you have been removed from the plan.
- After a divorce, coordination of health benefits for your children can become complicated. If the divorce decree names one parent responsible for providing the children’s health coverage, that parent’s coverage will be primary, meaning that benefits will be processed under that policy before they are processed under the other parent’s policy.
- If you are going through a divorce, alert your insurance company to the change and provide the necessary paperwork to show that you are the owner and insured party on your auto policy once the divorce is final. At the same time, remove your ex-spouse from the policy, if appropriate. If he were to get into an accident while you still shared the policy, you could potentially be held liable. If a claim occurs, your ex-spouse could be listed on any claim check if he is still listed as an insured. Also, if you move, be sure to change the address listed on the policy.
- You might want to increase your auto liability insurance coverage, especially if you will be carpooling children other than your own.
- Depending on who is listed as the owner of the home and whether you and/or your ex-spouse are moving following a divorce, you might need to adjust the paperwork associated with your homeowner’s insurance policy. It should only have the name of the current homeowner listed.
- If you change the locks on your house or install a new home security system following a divorce, make sure to alert your insurance company, as this type of upgrade might qualify you for a discount on your insurance premiums.
- Never leave a life insurance benefit directly to a minor child; instead make sure the policy names a contingent beneficiary or a trustee who will act as a beneficiary on behalf of the child.
- When considering the purchase of life insurance, the amount of coverage you need depends on your financial circumstances and beneficiaries. Do your homework and make sure that the company is reputable, the amount of coverage is adequate and the policy is affordable and works for you. Carefully choose your level of life insurance to provide the best safety net for your children.
For a complete list of considerations for single parents – as well as information specific to many different life situations – please visit www.insureuonline.org. The Insure U curriculum provides quick tips that a busy mom can easily implement, helping you protect your family and your finances.
SMW Resources and Tips for Single Moms