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Divorcing Texans need to look at their insurance policies

When you're going through a divorce, insurance may not be uppermost in your mind. However, it's important to ensure that you are still protected after you and your spouse go your separate ways.

You need to review and possibly change your life insurance policy. Determine if you want your spouse to continue to be the beneficiary. If you will be financially responsible for your children, you may want to increase your coverage. If your ex-spouse will be paying child support, purchasing additional coverage for that spouse, with yourself as the beneficiary, may be wise. Don't make changes without consulting your attorney. Life insurance should be addressed in the divorce agreement.

So should health insurance. If you and your children are covered under your spouse's plan, you may be able to continue that coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, commonly known as COBRA, until you can get your own. You and your spouse also need to work out who will pay deductibles, co-pays and unreimbursed expenses.

Contact your insurance agent regarding your homeowner's or renter's insurance as well as auto insurance. When one spouse moves out of the home, your policy needs to be adjusted accordingly. If you are keeping the car and living on your own, you should consider additional coverage for things like rental cars and roadside assistance.

As you become a single person again, this is a good time to look at insurance you hadn't considered before. For example, disability insurance, which can often be purchased through your employer, can cover a majority of your salary if you are unable to work for a period of time due to illness or injury. Long-term care insurance can help pay for nursing home or assisted living facility care as well as in-home care. The younger and healthier you are when you purchase it, the lower the premiums generally are.

Many people don't give much thought to their insurance policies -- particularly if their spouse is the one handling the bills. However, they provide important safeguards. Discuss your policies with your Texas family law attorney to help ensure that they are provided for as much as possible in your divorce decree and talk with your insurance agent to help ensure that you and your children have the necessary protection as you enter this new stage of your lives.

Source: Association of Divorce Financial Planners, "Divorce and Insurance" accessed Feb. 11, 2015

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