New baby can bring bundle of insurance questions

Crawford Frazer

When your thoughts turn to a new baby, you likely go into planning mode -- discussing obstetricians with friends, buying pregnancy books and signing up for maternity classes. But have you considered how the newest member of your family will fit into your insurance coverage?

Health insurance

This is the best starting point, as a new baby means regular doctor visits.

  • Review your policy. You'll find language that lets you know what costs will be covered for a new baby. Some things to ask about, according to the March of Dimes, are prenatal screenings, traditional and C-section deliveries, emergency procedures and pediatric care.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurer may have rules regarding how far in advance you must inform the company about adding a baby to the policy. If you're adopting, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends contacting your insurance provider to find out the requirements for getting coverage for your child in advance.
  • Compare. If you and your spouse both have health insurance through your jobs, compare the plans to see which one has the best coverage for treatment during pregnancy and for pediatric care. The latter should include sick and well-child care.
  • Understand your costs. Make sure you know the co-payment amounts and the total out-of-pocket costs in advance.

Life insurance

A new baby is a time for joy, which naturally makes many people forget about life insurance. Rather than leaving things to chance, consider the following:

  • Cover both spouses, even if one is a stay-at-home parent, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners advises. In the event of a tragedy, you want to know that both your spouse and child are covered financially.
  • Carefully consider future child care costs. These can run from infancy medical needs to college tuition. Be sure your child can receive the care you want, no matter the circumstances.
  • Understand the types of life insurance. According to the March of Dimes, most new parents opt for term life insurance, which generally is less expensive and provides a death benefit if the insured person dies within a defined period (or “term”). It may make sense to have that coverage when your child is young and more in need of financial help. Whole life insurance costs more, but also builds cash value, so you may want this accruing benefit if you can afford it.

Home and auto liability insurance

You might buy a backyard swing set for your child. You also may drive your child's friends in your car. Either way, you should consider raising your liability protection, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends. You can cover injuries that occur on your property through additional home insurance liability coverage. For injuries that occur to passengers in your car, extra liability coverage for your auto insurance policy is critical.

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