Through sickness and health, we don’t intend to ever split from the person we said “I do” with. But it happens. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), between 40 and 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. What are some of the top reasons why a couple will it call it quits? Infidelity, financial instability and lack of autonomy. It’s hard to bounce back after a relationship has suffered a complete communication breakdown. Sadly, many of us can’t.
After much contemplation and a serious heart to heart, you and your partner have decided to end the marriage. As if that wasn’t burden enough, next comes divvying up your shared assets, homeowners insurance included.
The Amicable Divorce
According to The American Institute of Stress (AIS), divorce is the second-most stressful event in a person’s life. You’re not only losing a partner; the life you knew has made a complete 180.
During your divorce process, it’s necessary to take the proper steps in reorganizing your accounts and insurance policies. As homeowners, you and your former partner probably had (and still have) a homeowners insurance policy. When the two of you decided to separate, your companion moved out of the house, and took with them not just their personal effects (clothing, books, jewelry, etc.) but also the spare bed from the guest room and a couple of chairs. You agreed that taking all of the above was fair, as you get to live in the house during the divorce proceedings. But now that only one of you lives in the house and some furnishings are gone, your homeowners insurance policy no longer provides accurate coverage.
So, What Do You Do?
During a divorce, who has the legal authority to change the homeowners insurance coverage? If both of your names are on the original signed policy, you must both agree to the new insurance terms before they can take effect. In many cases however, if a couple has already filed for divorce and either party tries to change any of their insurance policies, the presiding judge on the case will order that no changes be made to any of their joint legal standings, including the homeowners insurance policy.
When Proceedings Turn Ugly
In the middle of a divorce, feelings of resentment, frustration and white-hot anger can boil up and spill over into our usually temperate personalities. In times like these, some of us are so blinded by our fury that we’re willing to take our partner for everything they have. Even our homeowners insurance policy isn’t safe.
Imagine that the homeowners insurance policy is in your name only, and your ex-spouse is very unhappy about it. Now a couple of years back, you had a small kitchen fire. You filed a claim, and your insurance company took care of the rest.
While you’re at work, your bitter ex makes a visit to your home. Using the spare key, and because you haven’t changed the locks, they’re able to enter the house without issue. They go to the kitchen and pop a few aluminum foil wrapped leftovers in the microwave. Smoke begins to emit from the appliance and there’s suddenly a giant POP—your microwave has burst into flames. As this is happening your ex is headed out the door, but not before making an anonymous call to the fire department. After all, the house still technically belongs to the both of you.
After you’re contacted about the fire and see the extent of the damage, you file another claim with your insurance agency. Not only will they not cover the damages, but they’ve revoked your policy. Now you’re left to pay out of pocket for the repairs. And because the house still belongs to the both of you, the judge doesn’t view you living in the house as a good thing, and orders you to leave until divorce proceedings are over. Not only are you out thousands of dollars, you’re also uninsured. The chances of getting another fair-priced homeowners insurance policy are slim to none, because once you’ve been kicked off of a policy, it follows you around. So when you do go to court, lay out all your cards on the table, the judge will recognize the deserving party.
Here at CoverHound, we match customers with insurance companies that specialize in your specific needs. When you need a new homeowners insurance policy, we’re here to help. Check us out today.