After four years of dating, my boyfriend Cal and I finally bit the bullet and…moved in together.
Our new living arrangement raised lots of questions. For starters, how does a neat freak share a space with someone who doesn’t even own a mop? And how does a night owl live with someone who nods off at nine?
Luckily, patience and compromise are paving the way. I’m learning other things, too, like how nice it is to have someone there when you hear a strange noise at night. Or to know you have a lift when your car lands in the shop for a week or a dog bite sends you to the ER. (Both happened during our first week together.)
Today, Cal’s stuff is scattered all over our shared household. (Among the pile: homemade wine with a goofy picture of his aunt on it, original wood from an early 19th century war ship and 22 orphaned socks). In addition to triggering my Martha Stewart tendencies, his mess made me wonder what would happen if it was stolen or destroyed. Would my insurance cover that? And what about everything else insurance protects me against—would Cal be covered, too?
An Erie Insurance Agent weighs in
To get some answers, I called Erie Insurance Agent John Rushe of Werle & Rushe Agency in Erie, Pa. He explained that when it comes to insurance, unmarried couples typically aren’t viewed the same way as people who’ve already exchanged vows.
“There are a lot of coverage extensions for spouses and other ‘resident relatives’ that aren’t there for nonmarried partners,” he says. “This can cause big problems.”
Here’s a breakdown of the home and auto coverage extensions spouses automatically get:
- Both spouses’ possessions are covered under the same policy. This includes contents both at and away from the home.
- Both spouses have liability coverage for harm their actions cause. This could be anything from accidently causing a fire that burns down an apartment building to hitting a golf ball through someone’s car windshield.
- Spouses automatically have coverage when they use each other’s cars. In contrast, I would probably have to add Cal as a driver to my policy if he regularly uses my car. This usually costs extra.
- Spouses automatically get rental coverage when they rent a car.
- Spouses also benefit from a multi-car discount for listing more than one car on a policy.
Coverage for my “domestic partner”
Fortunately, John explained that ERIE offers insurance for live in partners. “The Domestic Partner Endorsement is for long-term couples who live together,” he explained. “It basically treats partners like they are married. Depending upon the line of coverage, it may even list them both as named insureds on the policy.”
I knew this was something we needed. But first, I needed to know the price to endorse my policy.
“It’s offered at no extra cost,” said John.
“It’s the right thing to do for folks who are in truly committed relationships,” he continued. “There are many nontraditional households out there that nonetheless function like traditional ones when it comes to merged finances and responsibilities. The Domestic Partner Endorsement reflects that reality.”
That same day, I added the Domestic Partner Endorsement to my condominium policy. Cal is glad to know he and his many, many things are protected against the worst. And we’re getting endless laughs out of calling each other “my domestic partner.” Extra insurance coverage might not be the most exciting Valentine’s Day gift, but it’s one we’re both sweet on this year.
To learn more about insurance coverage from ERIE, including the Domestic Partner Endorsement, contact a local ERIE Insurance Agent in your community.