Insurance is fact of modern life. As everyone knows, though, it can be a very expensive fact of life. When you have just gone through a divorce and money is tight, it’s natural to look for ways to cut corners. While insurance may seem like a luxury you can’t afford, it is often really a necessity you can’t live without. Here are the five types of insurance that every divorced mom needs, plus two that would be great to have if you can afford it.
1. Life insurance on a spouse who is still paying child support or alimony. If you are receiving child support or alimony from your ex, you need to secure those payments. If your ex dies, he will obviously no longer be earning money or paying support! Getting a life insurance policy on his life, naming you and/or your kids as the beneficiaries, is an easy, and usually affordable, way to make sure that you have enough money to survive if something should happen to your ex.
Not only should you make sure that your divorce judgment requires your ex to maintain life insurance with you and the kids as beneficiaries, but, you also need to make sure that, after your divorce is over, your ex actually gets and keeps that insurance in force! You have no idea how many women find out the hard way that the life insurance their ex was supposed to carry doesn’t exist. Of course, by the time they make that discovery, it’s too late. While you might feel like harping about life insurance drags you into a battle with your ex that you would rather not have, if life takes a turn and something happens to your ex, it will be a battle you will be grateful that you fought.
2. Health insurance for you. Medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States. But, given the high cost of health insurance, this still may be an expense you are tempted to skip, especially if you are relatively healthy and are willing to play the odds that you will be ok. Doing that, though, can immensely risky.
Not only can an accident or critical illness happen to anyone, anytime, without warning, but if it happens to you, what is going to happen to your kids? How are you going to care for and support them if you are seriously ill and unable to get the health care you need because you don’t have insurance?
Gambling with your health is never a good idea. As women, we tend to put ourselves last. But, if you care about yourself at all, and if you care about your kids, this is one time when you have to put yourself first. If you are still in the divorce process, make sure to negotiate enough money so that you can pay for health insurance. If you are already divorced, and living on a shoestring, then make getting health insurance as soon as possible a top priority.
3. Health insurance for your kids. If you are like most parents, if something happens to your children, you will go to the ends of the earth to get them the medical care that they need to be healthy. If you want to be able to afford that care, you must have health insurance.
These days, most courts will require parents to have some sort of health insurance for their kids before the judge will grant the divorce. Even if the “insurance” is a state program providing medical care for kids, that’s ok. No matter how you do it, you must have some way to get and pay for the medical care that your kids need.
4. Car insurance. This is a no-brainer. If you have a car, and you ever plan on driving it, you need car insurance. Period.
5. Homeowners insurance. Just like car insurance, if you own your own home, you absolutely must have homeowner’s insurance. Your home is the most expensive item you own. It also holds all of the personal property you own. (i.e. your furniture, furnishings, clothing and personal items.) While you might not think you own anything that important or expensive, if you lost everything you own in a fire or other disaster, the cost of replacing it would likely be a whole lot more than what you could afford.
Another reason why you absolutely must pay your homeowner’s insurance is that your mortgage company requires it. You don’t have a choice. If you stop paying your insurance, your mortgage company has the right to get homeowner’s insurance for you, and then bill you for the cost. (And believe me, they do NOT bargain shop on premiums! This will cost you a fortune.) The bottom line? If you own a home, you have to have homeowner’s insurance.
6. Disability insurance on you, and on your ex, if he is still paying child support or alimony. Unlike life insurance, which most courts are willing to order payor spouses to get to secure child support and maintenance payments, disability insurance is often overlooked, or not included in your divorce judgment because it is deemed too expensive and unnecessary. Sadly, if you or your ex gets seriously ill and can no longer work, having disability insurance can make the difference between being able to pay your bills and focus on your health, and struggling to survive.
Here is the hard truth: if your ex gets sick and can’t work, he is not going to be able to pay you child support. While you could, of course, take him back to court to force him to pay, you can’t get blood from a turnip. What’s more, if you go back to court, a judge is likely to reduce his child support obligation until he is able to work again. The bottom line is that if he becomes disabled and can’t work, everyone will suffer.
7. Life insurance on your own life. You might think that if you were to die, your ex could support the kids perfectly well without you. Maybe he could. But, don’t devalue yourself, or the support you provide for your kids.
If your children are small, your ex would likely have to pay a nanny to take your place. As they get older, they might not need a nanny anymore, but their activities will increase, and so will their expenses. Even if your ex is loaded and clearly doesn’t need you to help support the kids, your life insurance proceeds could fund your kids’ college education accounts, or give them a small nest egg to start their lives. All in all, while getting insurance on your own life may not be your first priority, it also shouldn’t be your last.
To get more information about divorce, money, insurance, and more, go to www.karencovy.com.