In the event of a fire, is a co-owner of real estate entitled to any insurance money ifthey are not listed on the insurance policy?

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In the event of a fire, is a co-owner of real estate entitled to any insurance money ifthey are not listed on the insurance policy?

My husband and I are separated. We owned a house together and it burned down. I just found out that he has fire insurance on it. Both names are on the deed but only his name is on the insurance policy. Am I entitled to some of the insurance money? If so, what can I do if has already spent it?

Asked on October 8, 2010 under Insurance Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Insurance is a contract. It pays out, in the event of a covered loss, to the named individuals. If you were not named as an insured, you would not collect the payment from the insurer. You may have some entitlement to the money as his spouse and as a co-owner of the home (especially if the insurance premiums were paid using any joint or marital assets, such as from a joint bank account), but that would be recourse you would have against your husband. You should speak with a family law or divorce attorney to determine what rights you may have. Note that if he does not have the money, then even if you are legally entitled to some, you may be unable to collect--though if you later divorce, it may be that what he owed you will be taken into account in determing support or alimony, or the distribution of assets.


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