Does my home or tenant insurance policy cover my partner if they move in with me?
When the time comes to move in together, there are a lot of things couples are thinking about, and while figuring out your insurance coverage probably isn’t at the top of your list of relationship concerns, you’re better off to address it sooner rather than later.
Once the closet space is sorted out, and who will cover the Netflix bill has been determined, it’s a good idea to call your broker and find out if your existing home or tenant insurance policy is adequate to cover your partner’s possessions too.
While most home and tenant insurance policies will automatically cover your partner if you’re legally married when they move in but if you’re not married and are living with your boyfriend or girlfriend, the rules are slightly different. Your policy might not extend to your partner automatically.
Insurance coverage for unmarried partners largely depends on where you live and your insurer’s definition of the word spouse. The Government of Canada says a spouse is a person to whom you’re legally married. However, this definition varies from province to province. In Ontario, for example, a spouse is someone you’re legally married to or someone you’ve lived with in a marriage-like relationship – often called a common-law relationship – for three years.
If your partner qualifies as a spouse based on your province’s definition, they will likely be covered by your home or tenant insurance policy – but insurers don’t all follow the same guidelines.
Your insurance provider may have a different definition of the word spouse or other criteria your partner needs to meet in order to be covered by your policy. Some insurance providers may even be less strict than you might expect when it comes to protecting your live-in partner. In fact, with some insurers, your home or tenant insurance policy might cover any unmarried partner who is over the age of majority and lives with you. But that’s not always the case, and you’ll need to check with your broker to see if your partner is covered by your existing policy.
In some cases, your broker may advise your partner to purchase their own home or tenant insurance policy. For example, if your partner moves into your home and pays rent to you, they may need to purchase their own tenant insurance policy.
Before your partner purchases their own insurance policy, ask your broker about adding your partner to your existing policy as an “additional named insured.” A named insured is a person who is designated by name in an insurance policy and is protected by what’s outlined in the policy – as the policyholder, you would be the primary named insured. An additional named insured is a person who is added to a policy and has the same rights and responsibilities as the primary named insured, but won’t be responsible for paying the premium. When discussing additional named insureds with your broker, it’s important to remember that – like the term spouse – the definition of an additional named insured can vary between insurance providers.
Before your boyfriend or girlfriend moves in with you, reach out to your insurance broker to find out which option will provide the best coverage for both of you.