Dear Dr. Don,

I understand that certificates of deposit are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. up to $100,000. Would multiple CDs (each less than $100,000 face value) issued to the same person be insured to the full amount? If not, could a husband and wife be fully insured for a $100,000 CD in each of their names, plus a $100,000 CD in both names?

— Gary Guarantee

Dear Gary,

The FDIC deposit insurance rules have changed over the past few years. The biggest change is that eligible retirement accounts now have a separate $250,000 insurance limit per depositor. The $100,000 insurance limit per depositor per insured bank for nonretirement accounts is still in place, but there are some ways to finesse the issue so you have more coverage. (Editor’s note: On Oct. 3, 2008, Congress raised the FDIC insurance amount to $250,000 per account. This change has been extended to Dec. 31, 2013.)

Joint accounts are a separate type of account ownership and, as such, have separate insurance limits. A husband and wife, by using a qualified joint account along with individual accounts, can gain additional insurance coverage. Coverage limits are up to a total of $400,000 in insured deposits for the two types of accounts.

If the FDIC requirements for a joint account are met, each co-owner’s share of every account that is jointly held at the same insured bank is added together with the co-owner’s other shares, and the total is insured up to $100,000. The FDIC publication “Your Insured Deposit” has the details on its requirements for joint accounts.

Payable on death, or POD, accounts and living trust accounts increase the level of insured deposits by considering the beneficiaries of the accounts as qualifying for up to $100,000 in deposit insurance. The rules are a little more complex here, so you should consult your banker or refer to the applicable section of “Your Insured Deposit” for more details.

To eliminate any guesswork, use the Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator, or EDIE, a user-friendly interactive online work sheet that will help you figure out if any of your deposits are uninsured.

To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the “Ask the Experts” page, and select one of these topics: “financing a home,” “saving & investing” or “money.”

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