The median age for a first marriage in the United States in 1950 was 22.8 for a man and 20.3 for a woman. Statistics show by the time I got married in the early 1980’s, the median age was up 2 years for both sexes. According to the 2010 U.S. census, those statistics have increased steadily to the current median age of 27 for a man and 26 for a woman. What I found most interesting about that same census report, however, was the statistic indicating 7.5 million people reported to be living together.
There was a time when the social norm was for couples to begin living together only after marriage – a time when the dating process would typically progress from courtship to engagement to marriage. Most insurance coverage for couples was founded on the married couple. Based upon the most recent census statistics, more and more couples are living together prior to marriage or just living together and foregoing marriage altogether. I had to wonder how this trend might affect insurance coverage – if at all.
A handful of specific questions came to mind. I posed these questions to one of Yutz Merkle’s Personal Lines Agents, Camille Capriglione. Camille has been with YMI for 8 years and has earned the Certified Insurance Service Representative Designation (CISR). She explained her answers to the following questions are ‘general’ because guidelines can, in fact, vary carrier to carrier.
1. If a couple is living together, can they combine their auto insurance policies?
“Most carriers now recognize ‘Domestic Partner’ unions and will allow unmarried couples to be policyholders together on an auto policy, therefore allowing them to receive the rights and privileges of ‘policyholder’ which just a ‘driver’ may not have.”
2. If an unmarried couple buys a house, can they get homeowner’s insurance?
“An unmarried couple can get homeowner’s insurance if they buy a house together. Typically, whoever is listed on the deed to the home would be a policyholder (or, in some cases, an ‘Additional Interest’).”
3. If someone is the sole owner of a house, are their partner’s belongings covered?
“The homeowner’s policy provides contents coverage only to the insured named and resident relatives on the policy. Many insurance companies offer a “domestic partner” endorsement that extends the contents coverage to the home owner’s partner. This endorsement will usually extend liability coverage too.”
4. Can an unmarried couple obtain renter’s insurance?
“Unmarried couples should obtain their own separate renter’s policies until such time that they are married.”
So check with your agent because it would seem unmarried couples who choose to live together do have some additional insurance coverage considerations to take into account as compared to those of us who took a more traditional route “back in the day”…you know, as my friend Pat would say, “when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.”