Insurance for parents: 3 things to know

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Insurance For Parents: 3 Things To Know

Moving your elderly parents into your own home or a retirement facility can have implications for insurance. “It doesn’t matter whether your parents leave their condo/home vacant, or they are selling it or renting it out, you’ll need to assist them in revising their existing home/condo insurance policy or obtain an entirely new policy to ensure there are no gaps in the insurance coverage,” explains Barbara Pettinger, signature client account manager at Lawrie Insurance Group.

If your parents are moving into your home, you’ll need to talk to your broker to ensure there are no coverage gaps, she adds. There is a difference in how it affects the insurance coverage if they’ll be moving into a retirement home versus a care facility.

Retirement home vs. Care facility
Inform your broker whether your parents are moving into a senior’s residence or care facility, since these differ.  A senior’s residence typically requires a tenant’s insurance package, while in a care facility you’re likely to only need minimal contents insurance as well as liability insurance. Retirement homes are where your parents live in an age-based community, have their own personal belongings and are able to be entirely self-sufficient, but often have the option to share meals or recreational facilities with other members of the community. A care facility is for those seniors who are no longer able to reside on their own for health and safety reasons and require additional care. 

Depending on your insurance company and type of your policy, your parents’ belongings and liability could be covered under your own property insurance policy (similar to having a dependent child away at school), but note not all policies/companies cover this, so you may need a separate policy. Your broker will be able to advise you on what’s the best option and help you identify any gaps.

Know who’s looking after your parent’s affairs
If you’re assisting a parent/s who are moving into a retirement or care facility, it’s important to know who’ll be the one responsible for looking after their affairs and has authority to act on their behalf. 

For instance, seniors who are still able to make their own decisions can designate someone and ask the broker to deal with that person. If the parent is moving into a care facility and is no longer able to act on their own behalf, the broker will need documented proof that the child has the legal authorization to represent the parent, such as a power of attorney document, especially if there’s an existing property that still requires coverage.

Moving parents into your own home
If your parents move into your own home, they’ll be covered by your property insurance policy for both contents and liability since they are deemed to be an immediate family member. However, it’s important to advise your insurance broker of any material change in risk, including new occupants of your home. Contents amounts may need to be adjusted if they bring additional belongings with them. Your auto insurance may be impacted if they have driver’s licenses – you’ll have to disclose them as additional drivers if they’ll be using your car. 

If you’re needing to drive them, you may add dependent care coverage on your auto policy. For added protection, it’s best to add your parents as additional insureds for contents and liability on your policy. 
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