If you have a large amount of savings that you keep in one bank or credit union, it can be easy to go above the federally insured limits. I thought this would make for an interesting poll question. Do you knowingly have deposits over the federally insured limits at your banks or credit unions?
Most banks and credit unions won’t fail, so your money will probably be safe. That feeling is probably common at too-big-to-fail banks like Bank of America. However, regardless of the bank, there is a risk that you could lose money that is over the insurance limits. That happened to quite a few people in 2008 when IndyMac Bank failed.
Some people may have been fully covered in previous years when there was temporary unlimited deposit insurance coverage for noninterest-bearing transaction accounts. In 2011 and 2012, certain transaction accounts that pay no interest were entitled to unlimited deposit insurance coverage. This temporary protection was created by Congress to help maintain confidence in the financial system for depositors who had large balances in noninterest-bearing checking accounts, typically for businesses but any depositor qualified. This unlimited coverage ended in 2013. Note, this unlimited coverage has no relationship to the $250,000 standard deposit insurance coverage. That is permanent. I have more details in this blog post.
There are several ways to keep large deposits fully covered by federal deposit insurance without having to open multiple accounts at many different banks and credit unions.
One way to insure more than $250,000 at one bank or credit union is to use multiple ownership categories that include joint accounts and revocable trust accounts. I described how this can be done in my post, Insuring Bank Deposits Over $250,000 With Multiple Ownership Categories. As I described in past posts, you have to be careful. If you or your bank makes any mistakes, your money above $250,000 may not be covered.
Another way to insure more than $250,000 without having to open accounts at multiple banks is to use CDARS, Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service. CDARS allows one to invest multi-million-dollar deposits into CDs without going over the FDIC limit. The service spreads deposits in multiple banks to ensure deposits at each bank remain under $250,000.
You might expect that the rate will be a little lower to pay for the CDARS service. However, if you look at CDARS rates, you will often find they are much lower than rates that you can get directly from banks and credit unions. One example is EverBank which offers both regular CDs and CDARS. For a 1-year term, the current standard CD rate is 0.65% and the current CDARS rate is 0.28% (rates accurate as of 5/29/2013).
Another way to insure over $250,000 at one bank or credit union is from private deposit insurance. The safety of private deposit insurance has always been a concern for many savers. I reviewed this concern in my article on private deposit insurance for credit unions. Only a few credit unions and banks offer private insurance. In some cases, the private insurance is only used to cover deposits over the FDIC or NCUA limits. I have more details in my post on ESI - Little Known Deposit Insurance for Credit Unions.
Are there other ways that you use to fully cover your large deposits?