Insurance and Finance

What You Need to Know Before Moving in Together in Texas

By Staci Parks 11.7.23

Few milestones are more exciting than intertwining your life with the love of yours. But with any pivotal life moment, there are different considerations to keep in mind.

Here’s what you need to know, whether you’re newlyweds or moving in together before your big day.

Prenuptial Agreement

“Prenups” have a reputation that precedes them, thanks to how they’re portrayed in popular culture. For some couples, a prenup can be a touchy subject. But prenuptial agreements can have positive attributes, too. For one, they force couples to consider and talk about money before they walk down the aisle. You can also enter into one of these agreements after marriage, too. “This is called a postnuptial or postmarital agreement,” says Diana Larson, a partner with the Larson Law Office in Houston. “Whether the agreement occurs before or after marriage, they are often referred to generally as marital agreements.”

Cohabitation Agreements

Similar to a prenup, this type of agreement helps outline a couple’s expectations. It can come in handy, too, as about 59% of American adults between the ages of 18-44 have lived with an unmarried partner at some point in their lives, according to a Pew Research analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth. Cohabitation agreements can outline items such as who owned what before moving in together, how conflict should be resolved, how expenses will be paid, and what happens to money and property should the relationship end or one of the partners die, according to Texas-based Goranson Bain Ausley.

Debts & Liabilities

Money can be a strain on any relationship. In fact, in 2022, money was a prominent source of tension within 41% of American families, according to Investopedia. So, it’s a good idea to talk about your finances — and any debts — with your partner before moving in together. Typically, since there’s no legal obligation, unmarried couples are not responsible for one another’s debt — unless they’ve specifically agreed to be responsible (e.g., signing a lease together or opening a joint credit card). But for married couples, debts and liabilities incurred during the marriage can fall on both partners. (That’s where a prenup can help.)

Estate Planning

Much like the prenup discussion, estate planning is a complex but necessary conversation with your loved one. This is critical for unmarried couples, as there are no default survivorship benefits or legal protections for unmarried couples in Texas. Creating a will (which is essential for all couples — married and unmarried) and designating your partner as the beneficiary on your insurance policies can help.

Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage

As with any big life moment, there are insurance considerations to keep in mind when joining your life with someone. Here are the types of insurance you should consider:

Life insurance: This is a difficult topic to bring up — much less in happier times — but having tough conversations now can alleviate added pressure and stress when your loved one is most vulnerable. People use life insurance policy payouts for different needs, including replacing income, paying off debt, and covering funeral costs. Learn more about life insurance.

Renters insurance: Although it’s not required by law in Texas, many landlords and rental companies will require tenants to have renters insurance. Not only does renters insurance help replace your personal property, but it can cover additional living expenses should you have to temporarily leave your home due to damages from a covered loss (e.g., smoke, fire, and certain types of water damage). Make sure to read your policy’s details to know what’s covered. Keep in mind that renters insurance will not cover losses due to floods. Learn more about renters insurance.

Property insurance: If you’re buying a home with your partner or spouse, property insurance is a wise investment. Much like renters insurance, it’s not a requirement in Texas, but most lenders will require you to have it while you pay off your mortgage. A Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent can help you determine how much property insurance you need to cover your home and valuables properly. Learn more about property insurance.

Umbrella insurance: If combining your life will significantly increase your assets, you might want to consider umbrella coverage. This type of policy gives an extra layer of liability coverage should you reach the limit on underlying coverage in a property, renters, or auto insurance policy. Learn more about umbrella insurance.

Inland marine insurance: It’s important to know that renters and property insurance have coverage limits. That’s where inland marine coverage comes in. You can cover things like art, antiques, and even engagement rings through this policy type. Learn more about inland marine insurance.

Reassess Your Insurance Needs

This monumental life moment is a perfect time to reach out to your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent for a 360 Review. This annual systematic look at all your insurance policies allows you and your Agent to assess what coverages you have — and what you might need as you enter this new phase of life. Plus, it’s a great time for your Agent to meet your partner or spouse. Know what types of questions to ask before your review.

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