A growing number of households in the U.S. are home to more than one generation of a family.
There are several reasons for this trend, which accounts for roughly 4.3 million families, or roughly 5.6 percent of all households.
Leading the list is likely the financial crash of 2008-2009, which prompted many young adults to head for the home where they grew up. Also, more grandparents are assuming the role of primary caregivers for children.
Ethnic factors prompt some families to welcome multiple generations under one roof. A couple may find it easier to care for an aging parent in their home rather than at the parent’s residence.
Insurance experts say it’s worth a look at your policies if family members move in or return home. Look first at personal property coverage. Relatives bring things with them. Because there’s often a cap on contents coverage, your policy may not insure everything.
The solution might be to buy a rider to cover the additional items. However, if the returning grandparents bring an art collection or other valuables, the insurer may want an appraisal. Also, there could be a lower policy cap on such items even if you increase your total coverage.
ConsumerAffairs.com recently advised consumers who will be welcoming aging family members into their homes to ask several questions:
— Are your payments current on health, auto and life insurance?
— Are you covered by Medicare?
— Should we look into long-term care insurance?
Dealing with insurance questions up front can help families avoid a financial crunch later on. That’s true when adult children move back home. They should be asked questions as well:
— How will health insurance be covered?
— If we combine auto policies, will driving records affect premiums?
— Will expensive electronics or other items increase homeowners insurance premiums?
Maine law, 24-A MRSA § 2742-B, requires individual and group health insurance policies to continue coverage for a dependent child up to age 25 if the child is dependent upon the policyholder and the child has no dependents of his or her own. If other “extended” family members move in, determine who is covered by what means.
The website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners includes a model contract that families can use when their living situations change. You can find it at InsureUonline.org and search “welcome contract.”
Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer, ME 04412, visit https://necontact.wordpress.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.