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Check Your Bank Account Coverage

If your money isn't fully covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., you could divvy up your funds between different accounts.

Now would be a good time to take stock of how much you have in the bank. In 2010, the financial-reform law permanently raised the amount the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. covers at qualifying institutions to $250,000 per depositor, up from $100,000 before the financial crisis. A temporary provision of the law, however, offered depositors unlimited coverage for transaction accounts that don’t pay interest, such as non-interest-bearing checking accounts. Now that provision has expired, and such accounts are included under the $250,000 threshold.

The FDIC divvies accounts into ownership categories. Individual account holders are guaranteed $250,000 in coverage per bank for the sum of their deposit balances—checking and savings accounts, money market deposit accounts, and certificates of deposit. If, however, you and your spouse have a joint account (or accounts) at an FDIC-insured institution, you’ll each receive $250,000 in coverage for your joint-account balances, plus $250,000 per person for any individual accounts you have, for a total of as much as $1 million. Separate limits apply to certain other categories. Credit union deposits are insured under the same terms by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

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To see whether your money is fully covered, use the tool at www.fdic.gov/EDIE. If it isn’t, you could move some funds to another insured bank or credit union. A couple of services will divide your money among several institutions. Insured Cash Sweep splits funds among interest-bearing checking or money market deposit accounts. To spread cash among CDs, use the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service.

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