One regular task of an insurance agent is to encourage clients to review their insurance needs. If their life circumstances change, policyholders could qualify for reduced rates, or require additional coverage. Some policyholders’ life circumstances changed overnight as a result of the Obergfell vs. Hodges decision by the United States Supreme Court; the ruling legalized same-sex marriages in all 50 states.
New Meanings of Policy Language
Depending on the state in which a policyholder lives, and the policyholder’s carrier, the language of the homeowner’s policy may need to be updated. “You” could now mean something different than it did before the Obergfell decision. Property insurance policies may not need as much updating as health insurance or auto insurance policies, but, to receive joint coverage, some policyholders may now be able to add their spouse’s name to a homeowner’s policy.
Complications That Can Arise
Some states recognized civil unions or domestic partnerships before the Obergfell decision. This two-tiered system created complications for same-sex couples, as well as their employers and health insurance providers. These complications may not be as acute for homeowner’s insurance as they are for health insurance, but same-sex couples – married or not – may be prepared for complexity when they call an insurance agent to purchase a homeowner’s policy.
Misconceptions About Benefits
Some policyholders could have misconceptions about the financial benefits of being married. They might believe that that they now qualify for a “marriage discount.” An insurance agent needs to explain that carriers do not specifically offer discounts to married couples, but that some carriers consider marital status as a risk factor. That is, some underwriters consider married people to be more careful and conscientious than unmarried people. An insurance agent may need to help a policyholder learn how much weight the carrier of their policy gives to marital status and other risk factors.
Learn More About ASI
ASI is one of the largest homeowners insurance carriers in the United States. Through a network of independent agents, the company offers home, condo, renters, dwelling, fire, and flood insurance in over half the country, with plans to cover the rest by 2017. Find out more at americanstrategic.com.