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Columns: Dr. Don
Don Taylor, Ph.D., CFA, CFP   Expert: Don Taylor, Ph.D., CFA, CFP
Ask Dr. Don
Dr. Don explains how to maximize the protection the FDIC offers depositors by diversifying your cash.
Ask Dr. Don

Maxing out FDIC coverage

Dear Dr. Don,
How do my wife and I structure accounts at one bank to keep more than $100,000 insured?
-- Scott Saver

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Dear Scott,
You can each have $100,000 insured as a depositor with a single FDIC-insured financial institution. The accounts can be held individually as single accounts or jointly. Here are some excerpts from the FDIC guide, Insuring Your Deposits, about structuring your accounts to maximize the insurance coverage:

The FDIC insures deposit accounts such as checking, NOW and savings accounts, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit, or CDs. The basic insurance limit is $100,000 per depositor per insured bank.

If you or your family has deposits at one insured bank totaling more than $100,000, you should know that different ownership categories of accounts are separately insured up to $100,000. You may qualify for more than $100,000 in coverage at one insured bank if you own deposit accounts in different ownership categories.

The most common ownership categories are:

  • Single accounts
  • Self-directed retirement accounts
  • Joint accounts
  • Revocable trust accounts

The FDIC Web site also has EDIE, the Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator, that will allow you to input the particulars concerning your deposits and estimate your insurance coverage.

A new approach to arranging insured deposits with one bank is CDARS, which is the acronym for Certificates of Deposit Account Registry Service. You can deal with just one bank, but have your money fully FDIC insured up to $50 million. The Bankrate article, "CDARS: An easy way to beat $100,000 FDIC limit," has more information about this approach to insured deposits.

How safe is your bank? See the Safe & Sound rating.'s corrections policy -- Updated: July 14, 2008
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