The moving ins - and outs - of insurance for co-habiting couples

Personal Lines

The moving ins - and outs - of insurance for co-habiting couples

Published: 17 October 2018

Rumour has it fiancés Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra have moved in together. Supposedly, Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande have as well. With life-changing decisions seeming like a theme for celebs this season, perhaps now’s the time to consider the implications if you’re planning the ‘big move in’ with your ‘boo’. Aside from the obvious emotional and financial aspects, there are lots of insurance matters to consider as well. Marius Steyn, Manager Personal Underwriting (Technical) at Santam and Marius Neethling, Manager Personal Lines Underwriting (Systems and Administration) at Santam, caution that there are a few considerations every couple needs to think about when merging households, “When you move in together, depending on the nature and seriousness of your relationship, an insurer will usually consider you to be the equivalent of a common-law husband and wife. That means you can take out a policy together. There are also lots of logistics to tick off – like making sure the household contents are covered and adding another driver to your vehicle insurance.”

Here, Steyn and Neethling chat through the check-list they advise every co-habiting couple ticks off:

Make sure you’ve adequately covered the combined contents of your home:

Moving in together often results in a staggering amount of ‘stuff.’ Which means you and your partner will probably need to update your household contents insurance. If your relationship is seen as sufficiently serious (insurers look for things like how long you’ve been together, if you’ve co-purchased furniture, etc.), then an insurer will treat you the same as they would a married couple. This means you can take out a policy between you, with one person being the main policyholder and the other, the additional insured.

Some considerations:

  • Remember, the main policyholder will be paid out in the event of a claim. It’ll then be up to him/ her to pay the additional insured. Insurers don’t get involved in these politics and are in no way responsible if the policyholder does not pay his/her partner. So you need to trust your partner to pay you!
  • If you both have separate household contents policies with different insurers and are wondering which insurer to go with, don’t just pick the lowest premium price: consider the benefits and excesses – what you pay and what you receive in return.
  • Get your household contents evaluated (or do this yourselves using an online calculator) so you’re certain you’re adequately covered for the replacement value of all your combined items.
  • When your household contents are on the move between properties, there’s no need to stress – your cover won’t be cut off. You should however notify your insurer of the new address prior to the day you move. If you have an engagement ring, for example, or other things of value you frequently take outside the house, you’ll need to separately insure these items on the all-risk section of your policy.
  • It’s in your interest to tell your insurer about all the security features in your new home. Generally there will be specific security requirements in order to qualify for burglary and theft cover.

If you happen to have a fight and temporarily move out…

It’s not commonly known, but, if you happen to argue and temporarily move out, taking some of your household contents with you, these items will still be covered in your temporary abode, providing this is a private building – not a tent or caravan, for example. This only applies to a temporary situation though – if it’s a permanent split, then you’ll need your own new policy.

Vehicle insurance is also important:

Remember to add your partner as a regular driver on your policy, especially if he or she uses your vehicle more frequently than you do.
If it really doesn’t work out:

If, sadly, the relationship comes to an end, then it’s best to get your own policy as soon as possible, especially if you have one policy between you, but you’re not the main policyholder. Remember, if you’re the additional insured, it’s up to your partner to pay you in the event of a claim, which could get difficult if you’re not together any more.