A question we hear often in our jobs as insurance brokers is how to ensure loved ones are well covered, but confusion can often lie around whether those in certain kinds of relationships can access their partners’ benefits. Thankfully, Alberta has accommodating legislation and guidelines that encompass partnerships of all kinds and allow couples to protect each other.
Common-law and adult interdependent relationships defined
In Alberta, two people are considered to be in a common-law relationship if one of the following suitably describes their situation:
- The pair have lived together in an interdependent relationship for at least three years.
- The pair have lived together with a degree of permanence and have a child together.
- The pair have entered into an Adult Interdependent Partner agreement in accordance with Alberta’s Adult Interdependent Relationships Act.
It is interesting to note that an adult interdependent partnership agreement, as defined by the Government of Alberta, comes with a fair amount of flexibility. A relationship of interdependence is when two people are not married to each other, however still:
- Share each other’s lives
- Are emotionally committed to one another
- Function as an economic and domestic unit
These definitions are loose enough that relationships actually do not have to be romantic or conjugal in order to qualify under the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act. In fact, platonic friends, older people who support each other, even two people who are related to each other, can be determined as having an interdependent relationship under Alberta law. One of the only stipulations against being able to declare yourself to be in an adult interdependent relationship is if the relationship involves more than two people.
The Act considers the following factors when determining if individuals are functioning as an economic and domestic unit, which is a requisite for “interdependent:”
- If they have an exclusive relationship
- Their behaviour when it comes to household activities and living arrangements
- How they hold themselves out to others
- The contributions they make to each other or their mutual well-being
- How much financial dependence there is
- Care and support of children
- How property is owned and used
How to declare yourself to be in an adult interdependent relationship
Before declaring yourself to be in an adult interdependent relationship, it is advisable to read the Act completely. You can have it printed and delivered for a fee or download the .pdf here. To declare yourself to be in an adult interdependent relationship, fill out the form under “Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement Regulation” on the same page.
Both partners can dissolve an adult interdependent relationship through a written agreement.
Can I put my partner on my insurance policies?
When it comes to car insurance, anyone who is living with you who uses your vehicle on a regular basis should be added to your car insurance policy. This should be relatively easy to do, but will more than likely result in higher fees, depending on how much they drive.
If you have declared yourself to be in an adult interdependent relationship, your provider may consider you married. If so, you may be able to access a discount, as some insurance companies consider married couples to be lower risk.
For your living arrangements, as your adult interdependent partner or common-law partner would be added as a co-owner on your home insurance or tenant insurance, if a claim is made you each would receive the same amount of compensation.
Whether or not to put your partner on your insurance policies can be a complicated choice to make. Talking to an insurance broker such as us at Lane’s will help you make the right choice.
Why brokers are better
Insurance brokers work for you, not the insurance companies. We are able to access lower insurance rates than your average agent because we are free to compare and contrast the policies of several different providers in order to find the best fit for you.
In addition to being able to provide a suite of options to our clients, we are also able to provide our expertise. We have the experience and training necessary to select the correct policy for our customers, which saves insurers money in unnecessary claims. Contact our experienced teams in Calgary, Banff, Edmonton and the rest of Alberta for answers to your insurance questions.