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Important Update: Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage

The FDIC deposit insurance rules have undergone a series of changes starting in the fall of 2008. As a result, certain previously published information related to FDIC insurance coverage may not reflect the current rules. For details about the changes, visit Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage. For more information about FDIC insurance, go to www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/index.html or call toll-free 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). For the hearing-impaired, the number is 1-800-925-4618.

Fall 2008 – Special Edition: Your New, Higher FDIC Insurance Coverage

How to Be Sure You're Fully Protected by the FDIC
The more you know, the safer your money

The FDIC Call Center • 1-877-ASK-FDIC
The FDIC Call Center • 1-877-ASK-FDIC
Photo by: FDIC Graphic Design Unit

In 75 years, no one has lost a penny of FDIC-insured deposits. You don't need to worry about the safety of your money if you (or your family) have deposits at one bank totaling less than the basic FDIC coverage limit, which is currently $250,000 but is scheduled to go back to $100,000 on January 1, 2010. But if your deposits exceed the coverage limit, or if you're just not sure about how much of your money is protected, consider these steps.

Use "EDIE," the FDIC's online deposit insurance estimator. EDIE will help you understand if you have funds over the insurance limits. Find it at www.FDIC.gov/EDIE. And if you don't have Internet access at home, ask a trusted friend or relative or your banker to help you use EDIE. For more about why and how to use EDIE, see "EDIE" Makes It Easy: FDIC Internet Site Analyzes Your Insurance Coverage.

When in doubt, contact the FDIC for additional assistance. You can call the FDIC toll-free at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). Information specialists are available 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. We also have deposit insurance brochures and other materials on the FDIC Web site at www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits. This is help you can rely on from the #1 authority on FDIC insurance — the FDIC!

If some of your deposits are over the FDIC insurance limit, consider your options for getting them fully insured.

One possibility is to divide the funds among the various ownership categories (single accounts, joint accounts, retirement accounts, and so on) at the same institution because deposits in separate insurance categories are separately insured up to the FDIC's limit.

But changing the ownership of an account is something you need to think about carefully because, for example, moving some money from a single account into a joint account with someone else means that you are giving that other person legal ownership of the money. Before finalizing your plans, consider discussing them with your attorney, accountant or another trusted advisor.

A second option for insuring funds that are over the FDIC's limit is to move some funds to accounts at other insured institutions. This option works well for people who don't want, or don't qualify for, other ownership categories at their existing bank.

Periodically review your insurance coverage if you have close to or more than the basic insurance limit (currently $250,000) at one institution. Here are suggestions for when to take a closer look:

  • Before you open a new account. Think about all the accounts your family owns at an institution, the types of accounts and the names of the beneficiaries. Make a list if you have to, because you'll need this information to get an accurate calculation of your insurance coverage.

  • After the death of a loved one. If two people own a joint account and one of them dies, the FDIC will insure the deceased person's share as if he or she were still alive for another six months. This grace period is intended to give executors or other authorized people time to make changes to the account, if necessary, without having to worry about a drop in FDIC coverage. But if the joint account is not restructured within that six-month period, it will automatically be insured as the surviving co-owner's single account at the bank, and sometimes that results in funds becoming uninsured.

  • For example, suppose two people have one account at a bank — a $200,000 joint account — and one of them passes away. If the survivor makes no change in the account within the six-month grace period, it would be reclassified as his or her own (single) account. Under current rules, that $200,000 account would be fully insured through December 31, 2009, because single accounts are covered up to $250,000. But thereafter, the coverage will revert to $100,000, leaving the remaining $100,000 in the account, plus accrued interest, at risk of loss.

  • If a large windfall comes your way. Suppose you sell your house or receive a large payment from a trust, a pension, a lawsuit or an insurance claim. Make sure any deposits, especially those made on your behalf by third parties, won't put you over the FDIC's limits.

  • If you own accounts at two institutions that merge and the combined funds exceed the insurance limit. Accounts at the two institutions before the merger continue to be separately insured for a grace period of six months after the merger, and longer for certificates of deposit (CDs), but you have to review the accounts within that grace period to avoid a potential problem with uninsured funds. In addition, keep in mind that the $250,000 coverage is scheduled to revert back to $100,000 on January 1, 2010.

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    Last Updated 5/26/2009