Have you ever read your entire home insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy, front to back?
Of course you haven’t. Though you really should, because…
There are some interesting little blurbs in there—exclusions, in particular, that are easy to gloss over until something goes wrong.
For homeowners and renters, one key exclusion is related to other household members. This could include your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your girlfriend’s kids, your roommate, your buddy, or anyone else who lives with you and is not related by blood or law.
Insurance companies classify these people as “other members” of your household. And believe it or not, unless you specifically adjust your policy, these other members are probably NOT covered for property damage or liability claims.
So is there any special insurance for unmarried couples and other folks who live together? Let’s break it down with a simple FAQ:
Who is covered by my home insurance?
You and any household members related by blood, marriage, or adoption are covered by your home insurance policy. Additionally, any minors who live under your full-time care (e.g. foster children). These folks would automatically receive coverage for their personal belongings in the event of a fire, a burst pipe, a burglary, etc. They would also be covered by the personal liability portion of your policy.
We’re an unmarried couple, but both of our names are on the deed. Are we covered?
We are noticing that carriers now tend to write the policy to mirror the house deed. So if you are both on the deed, you are probably both named insureds and are both covered. No need to purchase an “other members” endorsement in this case. (But best to check in with your agent!)
Is my boyfriend/girlfriend covered by my home insurance?
No. Not unless you are both listed on the deed, or unless you purchase an endorsement for Other Members coverage (see below). Otherwise, this person would not have property coverage or personal liability coverage.
Is my roommate/friend covered?
No. Not unless you purchase an endorsement for Other Members coverage (see below). This person would not have property coverage or personal liability coverage.
Who needs liability coverage? What is it for?
Personal liability coverage is a part of your home insurance policy. If you accidentally cause property damage or bodily injury to another person, personal liability is designed to protect you. (Not including car accidents!)
Say, for example, you hit a golf ball that breaks someone’s window. Or say, for example, you’re burning fall leaves in the backyard, and the fire spreads to your neighbor’s garage. Personal liability is there to help you pay the damages.
But if your boyfriend/girlfriend/girlfriend’s kid were at fault in a case like this, your home insurance would not respond for their actions, unless you purchased Other Members coverage.
Is my senior parent covered by my home insurance?
Yes. If you have a senior parent living with you, he or she would be covered by your policy because he/she is a blood relation.
Is my adult child covered by my home insurance?
Yes. If you have an adult child living with you, he or she would be covered by your policy because he/she is a blood relation.
We need insurance for unmarried couples. How can I adjust my policy so that my girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other is insured?
If you own a home, or if you’re planning for insurance when buying a house, an “Other Members” endorsement would help you bridge this gap, protecting not just your loved one’s property, but their financial security in the event of liability lawsuit. Call us at 508.339.2951–we’ll help you get it done!
If you are renting, it’s also possible to add a person to your MA renter’s insurance, but there are some cons to this approach–especially if the other person is not your spouse or a serious, long-term partner. Depending on the nature of your relationship and other variables, it might make sense for each of you to purchase your own policy. Your best bet is to contact a local agent for personalized advice.
Wait, does my car insurance cover everyone in my household?
Great question! MA car insurance works in a similar way, regarding other household members. If the other person in your house isn’t explicitly named on your policy (AND he/she doesn’t have his own insurance policy) he/she WOULD NOT be covered when driving your car. It’s a frustrating little gap because other friends and neighbors—people who don’t live with you and who might borrow your car on occasion—would be covered. But a regular driver living in the household would need to be added.
Hope this helps! Please don’t hesitate to contact our amazing and brilliant team with any additional questions!