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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.

Special 10th Anniversary Edition - Fall 2003

Are All Your Deposits FDIC Insured? How to Protect Yourself
If you or your family has $100,000 or less in all your deposit accounts at the same insured institution, you never have to worry about your FDIC insurance coverage. But if you have funds at one institution totaling more than $100,000, here's a sensible approach for making sure your deposits are fully covered.

Illustration of a scale with bags of money on it. The scale weighs if money is FDIC insured or not. This image is showing that the money being weighed is not insured. Make a list of the accounts you own at the bank.
Include the balance, the type of account (single, joint, retirement, etc.) and the names of the owners and any beneficiaries. This is important because, under the FDIC's rules, each person's deposits in different account categories are separately insured to $100,000. For information about the different ownership categories, go to our Web site (www.fdic.gov) or call or write the FDIC.

Double check with the FDIC.
You may also call or write the FDIC to get an independent confirmation of your insurance status. Consider going online and asking "EDIE," the FDIC's interactive Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator, at www2.fdic.gov/edie .

Make adjustments to your accounts, if necessary, to bring them within the insurance limit.
First option: You can divide the funds among various types of ownership categories at the same institution, because different types of accounts are separately insured to $100,000. But this is an option you need to think about carefully because "it means you are changing the legal ownership of the funds, either now or upon your death, just to increase your insurance coverage," says Kathleen Nagle, a supervisor with the FDIC's Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection. Example: You can shift funds from a payable-on-death account to a joint account, but be aware that co-owners of your joint account will be able to access the money while you are alive.

Second option: You can move funds in excess of $100,000 to accounts at other insured institutions, and keep no more than $100,000 at each institution. This option works well for people who don't want, or don't qualify for, accounts in other ownership categories at their existing bank.

Periodically review your insurance coverage.
Here are suggestions for when to take another look:

  • Before you open a new account. Find out what effect the new account would have on your insurance coverage.
  • After the death of a loved one. The rules allow a six-month grace period after a depositor's death to give survivors or estate planners a chance to restructure accounts. If you fail to act within six months, you run the risk of, say, joint accounts becoming part of the survivor's individual accounts, and that could put the funds over the $100,000 limit.
  • If a large windfall comes your way. If you sell your house, get an inheritance, or receive a large payment from a trust, a pension, a lawsuit or an insurance claim, make sure any deposits won't put you over the $100,000 limit.
  • If you own accounts at two institutions that merge and the combined funds exceed $100,000. Accounts at the two institutions before the merger would continue to be separately insured for six months after the merger, and longer for some CDs, but remember to review the accounts within the grace period to avoid a potential problem with excess funds.
Excerpted from "Special Report: Are You Sure You're Fully Insured?," Fall 2001.

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Last Updated 01/22/2009 communications@fdic.gov