Spring always triggers a spike in outdoor activities, especially after the long, dark months of winter. It also brings us to the cusp of the unofficial “fifth” season of the year – weddings. But long before vows are exchanged, there are scores of decisions to make. In fact, more than 70% of couples say planning a wedding is more nerve-wracking than finding a new job.1
Deciding which workplace insurance benefits to update or enroll in might be the last thing on your mind, but it’s important. And employers try to make it simple by offering an enrollment experience that is easy to understand and written with the couple’s needs in mind. Marriage is the perfect time to start shopping for life insurance, as you start sharing your life – and your debt – with the one you love.
Marriage Qualifies as Special Entry to Enrollment
Benefits enrollment typically occurs when you start a new job or annually once you are established at your company. But marriage is one of several qualifying life events, like the birth or adoption of a child, that allow people to change their benefits or enroll in new ones throughout the year.
"The best gift you can give each other on the day of your wedding is not a heart-felt letter but rather an update to your insurance,” says Nora McInerny, author and host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking.
As a soon-to-be married couple, you’re compiling more than an exhaustive guest list. You are also on the verge of pooling your finances and building a future together. In addition to life insurance, marriage is a milestone when newlyweds also should evaluate:
- Health insurance: Do a side-by-side comparison to determine if it is best to join your spouse’s plan or keep your own. Review options for health coverage and other supplemental health plans such as critical illness insurance (also known as critical illness benefits), hospital indemnity insurance (also known as hospital cash benefits) and accident insurance (also known as accidental injury benefits).
Disability insurance (also known as income protection benefits): Many employers offer a base amount of income protection benefits, but you may want to consider buying additional coverage to help protect your income if you experience an injury or illness.
- Auto insurance: Evaluate who has the best coverage and whether it is best to combine or keep separate insurance plans.
- Retirement plans: Update beneficiary information on your 401K or other retirement plans.
- Life insurance: Update beneficiary information, consider additional coverage if you have it already or consider taking out a life insurance policy for the first time.
Part of your post-wedding to-do list (besides writing “thank-you” notes) should include submitting your marriage license to an insurance company to make any necessary policy changes.
Benefits Education Is Year-Round
With the number of life milestones employees can experience throughout the year, benefits education shouldn’t begin and end with open enrollment season. There is a variety of educational resources that employers can offer year-round to help raise employees’ benefits IQ. This includes articles and blogs from benefits experts and other consumers, podcasts, newsletters, videos and educational information from an insurance company’s website. Sharing the information regularly through company communications such as newsletters, emails or the company website and social media channels can help employees make new choices during those milestone moments, like marriage or welcoming a new child.
Wherever they enroll in benefits – on an employer’s website or an online enrollment platform – employees should be able to access comprehensive and easy-to-understand information on what those benefits mean and how best to use them.
In a recent post, McInerny says, "I wish you a long marriage. I wish you a boring marriage, frankly. I wish you a marriage where you're both just happy and healthy and nothing happens. But just in case, check out that life insurance."
1 How to Handle Wedding Planning Stress, According to Science, Brides, January 2022