Partnered but not Married? How does Renters’ Insurance Coverage Work?
If you’ve established a life with your long-term partner, you may have decided that you are comfortable as you are, and that there’s no need to get married. This is perfectly reasonable for thousands of couples who are able to build lives that provide both autonomy and legal security. However, it’s that contrast between autonomy and security that might bring up a few questions when it comes to joint insurance policies. If you and your partner need to buy renters insurance, is it better to have separate policies, or combine coverage?
In many cases, partnered couples have the option of choosing between either a joint policy or separate. Each has its respective perks and drawbacks, so talk to your insurance agent about the right solution for your household.
Getting the Same Policy
You and your long-term partner may not be married in the legal sense of the word. In some cases, this legality is important, such as when it comes to things like powers of attorney or joint health benefits. However, when it comes to property insurance, couples have a degree of flexibility to consider.
On one hand, most long-term couples share ownership of, and responsibility for, different possessions, pets and yes, children. They also might share homes, and eventually it might seem very much like there is no difference between one partner’s belongings and another’s.
In this case, then the two partners might decide to jointly invest in a renters insurance policy. Because there is such a close connection between the two parties, and they share numerous assets, then this might be the right solution.
Suppose that a fire occurs in your apartment one night, and while you both get out safely, there is significant property damage to your belongings. Since both parties are insured under the renters insurance policy, then coverage can help you both pay for the costs of recovering lost belongings. It might also pay for hotel bills or dining costs because you won’t be able to live in the home until it gets repaired. Coverage can furthermore cover liability costs if one of you is at-fault for the fire’s damage to others, like your neighbors’.
However, there comes one thing that you have to remember about having the same renters insurance policy as your partner. Under this coverage, you are insured jointly. Therefore, you must share the benefits provided. In some partnerships, this might become a problem.
Why You Might Need Separate Coverage
If you and your partner decide to get a joint renters insurance policy, you have to realize that you are both equally party to the coverage provided. The policy won’t provide separate coverage limits for each person. Instead, it will cover all of your assets, cumulatively, under a single set of limits.
In some cases, this joint coverage may seem fine, particularly when both people have a well-established relationship and jointly-owned or shared belongings. However, if the relationship is more autonomous, it might be better for each party to get separate renters policies.
For example, you might be in a relationship now, but there’s no guarantee it won’t end. If it does, then each party might have to divide up their assets before going their separate ways. This will mean that one party will have to get their own renters’ insurance coverage.
Furthermore, for as long as you two are insured jointly, then any liabilities caused by one party will continue to reflect on the other party’s insurance history. This remains true even if the relationship ends, and no one wants to be stuck paying higher insurance costs just because of an accident that their ex caused.
Talk to your partner and to your El Paso insurance agent to determine if you are better off buying a joint or separate renters insurance policy. One option might be better than the other, depending on your unique living situation.