What Happens to My Insurance After Divorce?

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Navigating insurance after divorce can be a complex task, especially if you have multiple types of insurance policies. Your rates may change, joint policies may need to be canceled and beneficiaries on record may need updating. This guide outlines what you can expect with your existing insurance policies post-divorce.

Key Takeaways

  • If you live in separate households, you and your ex-spouse must purchase separate auto and home/renters insurance policies.
  • The loss of discounts commonly enjoyed by married couples may result in higher auto and home insurance premiums when buying your own policy.
  • Divorce triggers a special enrollment period, which allows you to buy a marketplace health plan even outside your state’s open enrollment period.
  • There may be life insurance beneficiary rules after divorce that require you to keep your ex-spouse as the listed beneficiary if you pay alimony.

How Does Insurance After Divorce Work?

A life-changing event like divorce initiates a shift in your insurance circumstances. During the divorce process, insurance coverage often remains unchanged as you are still legally married. However, post-divorce, you become individually accountable for your auto, home, health and life insurance policies.

For example, you may need to seek alternative coverage if your health insurance is through your spouse's employer. Similarly, shared car insurance must be divided based on who retains ownership of the cars, potentially requiring new premium evaluations. You will also want to update the beneficiary if you had a life insurance policy and your ex-spouse was the one listed.

How Does a Divorce Affect My Insurance?

Below, we’ll break down how divorce can affect the various types of insurance you may hold.

Car Insurance After Divorce

When you separate from your spouse, your joint car insurance policy doesn't automatically divide itself. You'll need to contact your insurance provider to discuss the changes to your plan.

Assuming you are living separately from your ex-spouse, you should each be on different car insurance policies. In addition, if ownership of a car that is jointly shared or under your ex-spouse’s name is being transferred solely to you, you will need to update the title. Otherwise, you may run into trouble with your insurance carrier agreeing to insure a car you legally do not own.

Naturally, this will cause your premium to change, as the number of insured individuals and vehicles will be different. You may also lose savings resulting from a multi-vehicle discount applied during the marriage. On the other hand, if your ex-spouse has a less than stellar driving record, you will no longer have that high-risk factor driving up your rate if your record is clean.

Home Insurance After Divorce

If there's an official change in homeownership (from joint to single), the homeowners policy should reflect this change. Notify your insurer of changes to ownership, occupancy or personal property so they can ensure you have the right policy type and coverage. When the time comes to move out, contact your home insurer to update your personal property coverage limits and rewrite the policy under the correct homeowner's name.

If you're the one moving out, new homeowners or renters insurance will need to be purchased for your new place of residence.

Health Insurance After Divorce

If you were insured through your spouse’s employer, you may be allowed to maintain that insurance plan for up to three years under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).[1] However, your ex-spouse’s employer will no longer subsidize the cost and you will have to pay the full premium.

If you need to buy health insurance coverage immediately, know that divorce will trigger a special enrollment period (SEP) of 60 days starting on the day of the divorce.[1] This means you can buy an ACA marketplace health insurance plan outside the open enrollment period, which is usually in the fall.

You can also enroll in Medicare if you are 65 or older or have a qualifying condition and Medicaid if you meet certain income requirements. You may also be able to get short-term health insurance through private carriers, catastrophic insurance if you’re under 30, coverage through a healthcare ministry (Samaritan Ministries or Christian Healthcare Ministries) or an association group health plan if you’re self-employed or if you own a small business.

While it's generally not feasible to keep an ex-spouse on your health insurance plan post-divorce, some circumstances may allow for continued coverage. For instance, getting a legal separation or limited divorce instead of a full divorce may allow the current health insurance structure to remain intact. It's worth noting that removing a spouse from a family health insurance policy can decrease health insurance premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, given there are fewer individuals to insure.

Life Insurance After Divorce

Fifty-nine percent of married or partnered Americans own life insurance and you will want to update your beneficiary if possible after a divorce.[2] If you are not required to make alimony payments, then you should not have any problems removing your ex-spouse as the beneficiary. You could then designate a new beneficiary, such as your children if they are not already listed or down the line, your new spouse if you remarry.

It’s critical that you update your life insurance beneficiary to avoid future disputes on who is entitled to the life insurance settlement.

On the other hand, if a divorce court rules that you must pay alimony and child support, then you may be required to keep your ex-spouse as the beneficiary so that they are financially supported if you die. In some cases, you may even be court-ordered to buy life insurance if you do not have an existing policy.

Some married couples purchase a joint life insurance policy during their marriage and unfortunately, it is not always possible to split it into two separate policies. You may need to cancel the policy and buy two separate life insurance policies, although you will likely see higher rates because you are older. If you do decide to cancel the policy and it has accrued cash value, it may be considered a marital asset to be divided between the spouses according to state laws.

Disability Insurance After Divorce

Individual disability insurance — not to be confused with SSI disability benefits — is often overlooked in divorce proceedings, yet it plays a crucial role if you're receiving alimony or child support from your ex-spouse. If your ex-spouse becomes disabled and unable to work, it could potentially affect their ability to keep up with these payments.

In this case, disability insurance can act as a safety net. It allows you to claim a portion of your ex-spouse’s disability payments in lieu of their usual alimony and child support payments. This way, you and your children have a stream of income until your ex-spouse returns to work.

Because of these factors, as part of the divorce settlement, you may want to request that your ex-spouse maintain disability insurance if they work in a high-risk industry.

Will a Divorce Impact My Insurance Rates?

The loss of certain discounts can increase your auto insurance premium. For example, many insurance carriers offer a discount if you insure multiple vehicles on a single policy. If you and your spouse each own a car and they’re insured on separate policies, this discount will no longer apply. In addition, some carriers charge lower rates for married couples than single individuals because they’re perceived as more financially stable.

Moreover, a smaller house or apartment usually costs less to insure. For example, say you and your ex-spouse sell the house and each move into apartments. Whereas homeowners insurance can cost over $80 per month, renters insurance sometimes costs as low as $15 per month.

Unfortunately, you may face higher rates if you have to buy your own health insurance plan after being insured through your spouse’s group plan. This is because the cost of an employer-based group plan is subsidized by the employer. Buying your own health insurance means you pay for the full premium yourself.

Finally, if you have a joint life insurance policy with your ex-spouse, you may want to cancel the policy and buy your own life insurance policy. However, you will likely be subject to higher life insurance rates to reflect your older age.

Can I Maintain My Insurance Plans After Divorce?

You can maintain your insurance plans after a divorce under certain circumstances. For example, if you received the house in the divorce settlement, you will be able to keep your homeowners coverage. Similarly, vehicles under your name that you keep and are already on your policy can be maintained as well. And if your health insurance was yours to begin with, you will keep your coverage after the divorce is final.

Your life and disability insurances are by nature taken out in your name, so they remain yours. However, you may want to update the beneficiaries on these policies.


How long can a spouse stay on insurance after divorce?

If you're covered under your spouse's employer-sponsored health insurance plan, COBRA may allow you to keep that plan for up to 36 months.[1] However, the employer will no longer cover a portion of the cost and you will have to pay the full premium.

Who pays for a child’s health insurance after divorce?

It depends on the specifics of your divorce agreement. The cost may be split in some cases, while in others, one parent may be responsible.

Should I keep my ex as my life insurance beneficiary?

If you are not court-ordered to keep your ex-spouse as your life insurance beneficiary, you may want to remove them. Instead, you may want to update the beneficiary to show your children if they’re adults, a trust or your new spouse if you remarry.

Can my ex and I negotiate health insurance coverage in our divorce settlement?

Health insurance coverage can be negotiated as part of a divorce settlement, including who covers the ex-spouse and/or children. However, individual plan rules and legal advice should be considered to ensure compliance and suitability.

Does my work have to provide health insurance?

Employers with at least 20 employees are legally required to offer health insurance for their workers.[3] This could be an easy solution for your healthcare needs if you've just been divorced and are without coverage.


  1. U.S. Department of Labor. “FAQs on Cobra Continuation Health Coverage for Workers,” Page 8. Accessed August 3, 2023.
  2. Annuity.org. “Life Insurance Statistics and Industry Trends To Know in 2023.” Accessed August 3, 2023.
  3. Social Security Administration. “Are You Covered Under a Group Health Plan?” Accessed August 3, 2023.

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