Last summer, a law was enacted that raised the standard maximum deposit insurance amount (SMDIA) to $250,000. The law made permanent a previous temporary increase to $250,000 from the former maximum limit of $100,000. The new permanent maximum limit should especially benefit consumers who figure to have more than $100,000–such as in multi-year certificates of deposit–in their bank beginning in 2014, when the temporary hike in the maximum limit had been scheduled to expire.
It is important to bear in mind that the SMDIA does not mean that under no circumstances may a single individual have insurance on more than $250,000 in a single institution. The SMDIA applies per depositor, per insured depository institution, for each account ownership category. A person’s single account will be insured up to the new permanent maximum amount, but so will his or her share of all joint accounts, as well as any other of his or her accounts in other ownership categories.
Another legislative change, which went into effect on the last day of 2010, creates a new temporary insurance category that will fully insure all funds, regardless of the dollar amount, but only in checking accounts that pay no interest to the account holder. An example of a possible application of this new insurance is an account in which an individual who has just sold a home temporarily parks the large proceeds from the sale in that account, understanding that no interest will be earned. As the law now stands, this change is temporary, in that the new insurance account category is set to expire at the end of 2012.