Divorce can bring out the worst in people, and it can make already-controlling spouses even worse. Sometimes, they seek to hurt their soon-to-be-ex economically.
Most people have heard of instances of spouses emptying joint bank accounts or maxing out the couple’s credit cards. But what about shared insurance policies? One person with the Insurance Information Institute calls insurance “an invisible weapon” in divorce.
How can insurance be used as an “invisible weapon?”
Among the ways insurance can be used to hurt a spouse or partner are:
- Removing a spouse’s name from an auto insurance policy or canceling the policy to leave them uninsured
- Canceling a homeowners or renters policy and then causing damage to the property
- Taking money from a cash value life insurance policy and then not paying the premiums so that it’s canceled
It’s crucial to protect yourself as much as you’re able to from any kind of dirty tricks your spouse might play. To protect yourself from “insurance revenge, here are a few things you can do:
- Talk to your insurance agent and ask them to notify you of any claims or changes on your account. You may also be able to ask for these notifications via the insurance company’s website.
- Get your own auto insurance policy so that you and your vehicle are covered no matter what your spouse does.
- If you move into a new home or apartment, get your own policy right away.
Insurance changes that can’t be made during divorce proceedings
Note that spouses typically cannot make changes to life insurance policies during divorce without the permission of the court. That means you can’t remove your spouse as your beneficiary yet or vice versa. If your spouse is carrying you on their employer-sponsored health insurance policy, they can’t remove you until the divorce is final.
It’s crucial to do what you can to make sure that you and your property remain protected as you divorce. Getting your own insurance agent who has no ties or obligations to your spouse can be a good start. Your attorney can also help you take steps to protect yourself from any kind of financial shenanigans your estranged spouse might try.