With the financial sector on the rocks during the last few months, many banks have had to come up with emergency acquisitions and mergers to stay afloat financially. Other banks have outright failed and some are on the brink of failure. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) providers insurance to account-holders to make sure they won’t lose their money in the event that their bank fails, but it only applies to certain types of accounts and has deposit limits.
Typically, FDIC insurance will grant protection for the first $100,000 that you have in your savings, checking or certificate of deposit accounts. Investment accounts such as money market accounts, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds are not covered. The $100,000 figure will be for the total sum of your assets in your account. If you have two accounts at one bank, your limit is still $100,000. So you want to make sure that the total amount of money you have at any one bank is less than $100,000 at any given time.
There are some ways that you can increase the amount of FDIC insurance that your account receives. For the year of 2009, the FDIC has temporarily raised that insurance amount to $250,000 because of a recent law passed by Congress, but after that, the limit will drop down to $100,000 again. If you have a joint account, such as an account with both a husband and a wife’s name on it, the limit will double to $200,000. If the money is in a retirement fund, the limit will increase up to $250,000.
For those that have extremely large amount of money, there’s a program called CDARS which will provide FDIC insurance for large sums of money. Essentially, you’ll have one account with a fixed interest rate, but the money will be spread across a number of banks offering you virtually unlimited FDIC insurance. You can visit www.cdars.com for more information about that program.
Typically, financial advisors will recommend that you don’t have more than $90,000 to $95,000 in any one bank. This way, both your principal and interest will be protected if the bank that you deposit money into were to go bankrupt or otherwise be insolvent. By staying a few thousand dollars under the limit that gives your account some room to grow without going over that $100,000 mark.
If you have money invested in a credit union, it will be insured by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). Your money invested in these accounts are equally safe, but there are different rules regarding the limits, so you’ll want to investigate those if you have a large amount of money stored up at a credit union.
If you play your cards right, you can keep 100% of your money FDIC insured via splitting your money between banks or via participating in the CDARS program. Having more than $100,000 in any given bank might not be an issue for you right now, but someday it might be, so make sure that your funds are protected.