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Modern Households: Domestic Partners & Same-Sex Couples

Marriage equality can raise new financial questions for same-sex couples and domestic partners.

 

The proportion of U.S. same-sex cohabiting couples getting married increased from 38 to 49 percent since the Supreme Court ruling legalized such unions nationwide, according to Gallup research. However, new research from the NAIC suggests many couples may be sidestepping some important insurance questions on the way to the altar. Not getting smart about insurance before tying the knot could be costly. The new ruling also may require domestic partners not contemplating marriage to revisit current coverage.

 

In an online survey, the NAIC asked recently or soon-to-be married LGBTQ individuals to share their views about financial factors they consider important to address before marriage.

  • Eighty two percent said they discussed or planned to discuss health insurance before walking down the aisle. Life insurance and taxes tied for the second most likely pre-marriage financial topics at 70 percent.

  • Women in same-sex relationships are significantly more likely than men to discuss life insurance pre-marriage (74 vs. 61 percent).

  • By contrast, less than one-quarter of respondents inquired or planned to inquire about their partner’s driving record before saying “I do.”

  • When asked to prioritize, nearly one-third identified health insurance as the “single greatest financial consideration” when getting married.

  • Twenty-five percent view the impact of commingling assets as their single greatest pre-marriage financial consideration.

  • Married respondents who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 per year are more likely to cite taxes as the single greatest financial consideration before marriage (34 percent) than married respondents who make less than $25,000 (16 percent) or those making more than $75,000 (18 percent).

The NAIC encourages LGBTQ individuals in a committed relationship, newly married same-sex couples and domestic partners to educate themselves about the impact of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling on all insurance types: health, life, auto and home.

 

Note that while marriage equality ensures legally-married same-sex couples have access to insurance options equivalent to heterosexual married couples, state and local laws continue to govern most issues regarding the recognition, rights, benefits and privileges associated with domestic partnerships. Contact your state insurance commissioner for more tips to help same-sex couples and domestic partners make the right insurance decisions, including information specific to where you live. And find out more about how life events such as getting married or becoming a new parent can affect insurance needs.

Auto Insurance Considerations for Domestic Partners and Same-Sex Couples

 

  • Most insurance companies offer multi-car/multi-driver discounts to married couples and domestic partners in long-term, committed relationships. Combining policies might make sense unless your partner has a less than stellar driving record. Check with your auto insurer to see if you’re eligible for such offerings, but take the time to ask your partner the tough questions before making any changes.

  • If you choose not to marry, and you and your partner either share a car or drive one another’s cars, consider listing each other as secondary drivers on both auto insurance policies. Such disclosure will eliminate uncertainty and may prevent a claim being denied in the event of an accident.

  • While most insurance companies require nothing more than notification that both legally married spouses plan to drive a rented car, domestic partners may need to pay extra to share driving responsibilities. Check with the car rental company to make sure you understand additional driver rules.