When the venerable TV host Bob Eubanks grilled clueless couples on "The Newlywed Game," his areas of inquiry typically involved preparing dinner, personal hygiene and "making whoopee."
In like manner, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, hopes to nudge young lovers toward post-nuptial, kitchen-table conversations about their insurance needs with the launch of two new online tools to get them started.
Why the fuss? NAIC surveys show that while nearly three-quarters of newlywed couples acknowledge the need to discuss insurance upfront, fewer than half take the plunge.
Starting 'the talk'
To help initiate "the talk," the NAIC this week rolled out "The Insurance Survival Guide for Newlyweds," a down-to-earth tutorial on insurance topics with facts and tips for newly married people of all ages.
To make "the talk" less onerous, they've thrown in the interactive "I Do Adventure" game. It involves helping newlywed foxes in a Jeep dodge and weave past life's obstacles while Ollie the owl encourages or taunts you. (I couldn't decide which.)
Both are available at InsureUOnline.org, along with tons of other easy-to-digest fact sheets; tip lists on how to buy auto, home, health and life insurance; and a host of 60-second public service announcements for the attention-impaired.
Actually, many of NAIC's "Survival Guide" questions could easily migrate to the next iteration of "The Newlywed Game." For instance:
Which health plan should we keep?
Merging households also involves blending health insurance plans. Which of you has the better employer-sponsored option for spousal/family coverage? The NAIC can help you crunch the numbers.
Should we merge our auto insurance?
It's not always a simple decision, especially when one spouse has a checkered driving record. The NAIC says a "named driver exclusion" clause could lower your rate as long as the excluded spouse doesn't drive until time expunges their driving demerits. Otherwise, you might want to continue with separate coverage.
Can we afford home improvements?
Whether moving into one of your homes or buying your first home together, factor homeowners insurance costs into the equation, especially if you hope to renovate.
Do we need life insurance?
Marriage typically changes a couple's life insurance needs. Consider such factors as future income potential, age, mortgage debt and plans for children when determining how much life insurance to purchase.
Having the insurance talk might not answer the age-old question of who is the bigger bed covers thief, but it sure can help get your new life together on sound financial footing in a timely manner.