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Preparing for the arrival of a new baby can be overwhelming. While you’re setting up a nursery and planning for changes in your social life and sleeping habits, don’t forget to plan for changes in your insurance.  Our Office and the Division of Insurance offer the following advice for how expectant parents can be proactive in selecting and updating their insurance coverage.

 

Health Insurance

When considering health insurance plans, compare health insurance policies to determine which one best fits the needs of your family. Many health insurance companies will allow you to make enrollment changes when a baby is added to the family. If you have employer sponsored health insurance, check with the benefits administrator at your office about your options. Look for the following when evaluating plan options:

  • Co-pay amounts
  • What is covered by insurance
  • What is not covered by insurance

Make sure you review all of your health care coverage options and find out exactly how your plan handles the costs associated with a new baby, including: prenatal vitamins, prenatal and neo-natal screenings and tests, emergency procedures, and delivery.

Make use of tax advantages associated with having a child. Ask if your employer offers a flexible spending account or health savings account, both of which allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars for medical expenses and child care.

Be aware of the deadline and requirements to register your newborn with your health insurance company. If you are adopting a child, check with your employer and health insurance company to learn the requirements of obtaining health insurance coverage in advance.

 

Life Insurance

When considering the amount of life insurance to buy, take into account your child care costs—housing, education, medical needs, etc.—especially if you have children who are under five years old or have special needs.

Plan the financial contributions of both parents and consider covering both with life insurance, even if one is a stay-at-home parent.

Understand your life insurance options so you can obtain the policy that works best for you. There are two types to consider:

  1. Whole life insurance policies build cash value but are more expensive. Permanent life insurance covers you for your entire life and typically has level premiums. If you cannot afford whole life insurance right now, but think you may want it in the future, consider term life insurance with a conversion option that will allow you to later switch to a whole life policy for a fee.
  2. Term life insurance offers death benefit protection for a specified time period. Term life insurance is typically less expensive than whole life insurance during your younger years, but keep in mind its premiums will increase as you age.

Update your policy to include your children as beneficiaries. If your children are under the age of 18, name a trustee who would administer the benefit of the policy in the case of your death until they are adults.

 

Auto Insurance

Check your rates before you upgrade your vehicle. Auto insurance premiums are linked to vehicle age and type, so if you decide to get a larger vehicle to transport a growing family, it could affect your premiums. In addition, you may consider increasing your liability insurance in case of an accident while transporting other children.

 

Home Insurance

Make sure to notify your home insurance company when making any major home improvements totaling over $5,000. In addition, you should alert your insurance company if you install backyard items for kids, such as a swing set, trampoline or swimming pool.

 

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education.

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