Earlier this summer, an attorney friend of mine and I got discussing health insurance. Particularly, we were debating the pros and cons of even having insurance, since you never know when you'll need medical care. It came down to this: insurance is one of those things you'll hate having until you really need it (assuming your insurance company stands behind you when that time comes).
Somewhat inevitably, the conversation shifted slightly to the idea of legal insurance. I knew that it existed in some form - x number of hours of consultation with an attorney, for the bargain price of $y per month. I do a lot of family law, so we got thinking about divorce insurance. Did this exist? If so, did people actually use it? Do you need an insurance broker's license to sell it?
Turns out, divorce insurance does exist, though it appears to be a very new invention - the last few months or so. A company called WedLock (owned by SafeGuard Guaranty Corporation out of North Carolina) appears to be leading the charge, mostly through scare tactics. The cost of a divorce quoted on their website is not necessarily untrue, but in most cases applies to a higher-asset divorce. For a couple just trying to divide a small house and modest some bank accounts, and even sometimes when there are children involved, the costs usually only get that high if there is bitter fighting over the coffee table, the blender, the DVD player, the bathmat, the alarm clock, the fruit basket, the.... You get the picture. Most folks, in my experience, are able to sort out the small details themselves, and the cost doesn't get anywhere near the $15,000 to $30,000 quoted on the site.
High-asset cases, on the other hand, can easily reach that level, even when the parties are cooperative. More assets means more paperwork to swap and sift through, and that takes time. And time, as they say, is money.
Undoubtedly, other companies will jump on board with WedLock in the coming months and years. When that happens, there are two key things to think about:
1. Do you really need or want divorce insurance?
2. If you think you do, which company/policy best suits your needs?