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Somewhere between 35% and 50% of first-time marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, according to the latest World Population Review research. 

And statistic don’t improve the second time around, with about 60% of second marriages failing. 

Many times, couples agree to separate amicably. Unfortunately, individuals dissolving a marriage sometimes inflict serious financial and personal damage on one another or their children. And they sometimes use insurance as a weapon.

Fortunately, such problems can be avoided. Here are some ways to protect yourself from insurance revenge when you and your spouse call it quits.

Threats to your home and homeowners insurance

An insurance industry veteran told a story a few years ago about one case involving a separated couple in which the husband allegedly entered the wife’s home while she was at work and put a nail in a basement pipe.

The agent said the husband pulled it out just enough so that a week later the water pressure caused the nail to pop out.

This same couple had a water damage claim on their home insurance three years prior. So this second incident cost the wife dearly.

Although the agent says it was never proven that the ex-husband was responsible for the nail-in-the-pipe plot, the client was convinced of the husband’s guilt, since her ex was the only other person with a key and he knew the alarm code. The lesson: If you’re going through a divorce, change your door locks and home alarm code.

Keeping health and life insurance

When underage children are involved, the agent suggested divorcing spouses make each other the irrevocable beneficiaries of life insurance policies. That way, you’ll always know that the children will be provided for.

Another tip: In a divorce agreement, include the legal requirement to maintain health and life insurance.

Find out more about what to do about life insurance when going through a divorce

Laws that prevent insurance revenge

Residents of some states have built-in legal protections to prevent abuse of auto, life and health insurance.

In California, there are safeguards that temporarily restrain either party going through a divorce from cashing in, borrowing against, changing or canceling an insurance policy.

Legalities notwithstanding, some California residents still try to cancel insurance coverage during a divorce, according to Kelly Chang Rickert, a certified family law specialist in Los Angeles. That’s why she recommends sending a “notice of adverse interest” to insurance companies.

“This is simply a letter letting your insurer know that you are going through a divorce and that they are not allowed to cancel you as a beneficiary or to cancel your insurance while the divorce is pending,” says Chang Rickert.

And insist on getting a prenup, she says, “because it is insurance against greedy lawyers during divorce.”

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Lynnette Khalfani-Cox


Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a nationally-known personal finance expert, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. She has also been published by outlets such as AARP, Black Enterprise, Essence, Kiplinger Advisor, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and VOX.



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