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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

FDIC Insurance, NCUA Insurance: Higher coverage extended to 2013


The amount of money in your bank or credit union account that is insured will stay at $250,000 through Dec. 31, 2013 as a result of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009. Even if you have nowhere near that amount of money, this reminds us that money in US banks and credit unions is safe. Just check that your financial institution is insured by FDIC or NCUA.

Before last October, most account were insured up to $100,000. Congress raised the limit to $250,000 to help reassure account holders as the stock market and real estate markets fell, and some banks failed. Thanks to insurance through the FDIC and NCUA, accountholders at insured institutions lost no money, as long as their account balances did not exceed the limits.

You may not normally have that much money in your bank or credit union. But you could easily have more than $100,000 in an account if you:

  • panicked during the stock market roller coaster over the past year, and cashed out some of your investments.
  • lost or quit your job and rolled your 401(k) or other retirement plan into an IRA at your bank or credit union.
  • sold your house and deposited the proceeds into your bank or credit union account.

Only deposit accounts - CDs, saving, checking, money market accounts - are insured. Investments purchased through a broker who has a desk at your bank are not insured.

The insured amount would have reverted to $100,000 at the end of this 2009. But the new law extends the higher coverage until December 31, 2013. This is good news, especially for people who may have large amounts that they would like to put into longer term CDs. With the extension, you could put up to $250,000 into a 4 year CD before the end of 2009 and know that it would be insured until its maturity date.

Retirement accounts were already covered up to $250,000 before these two temporary pieces of legislation, and insurance on those accounts will remain at $250,000 even after the legislation expires.

You may have even more insurance, depending on how your account(s) are titled. Joint accounts and accounts with POD (Payable on Death) designations are two situations where you have 2 or more times the base amount of $250,000. You can use the FDIC insurance calculator to figure out how much coverage you have.

This is one of the benefits of having money in a bank or credit union, compared to holding cash or keeping it in investment accounts that are not insured. is that most are covered by insurance. If the bank or credit union should fail, account holders are insured up to certain amounts. The general limit has been $100,000 for quite a long time.

To find out if your bank is insured by the FDIC, call 1-877-275-3342, use "Bank Find" at www.fdic.gov/deposit, or look for the official FDIC sign where deposits are received. As of 2007, the FDIC says that insured banks should be displaying the new official FDIC sign:

FDIC sign: Each depositor insured to at least $100,000 - FDIC Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

For credit unions, find out if your credit union is insured and how much insurance you have onthe NCUA website.



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