Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was created during the Depression to restore confidence in banks. Last year, with some of the largest bank failures in history, the FDIC's insurance protections on bank accounts got a substantial boost.

The basic insurance limit in October was raised from $100,000 to $250,000. This increase, though, is temporary and expires at the end of this year. (Similarly, credit unions temporarily raised their insurance limits.)

It is possible that you can have much more coverage than the temporary cap would suggest. Coverage depends on how your accounts are structured. A couple with a joint account can get up to $500,000 of coverage. And if each partner has his or her own savings account, each would each have another $250,000 of insurance for a total of $1 million.

Coverage on a retirement account was not changed, remaining at $250,000.

Confused? There's help. Find out whether your deposits are fully covered by using the online Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator at www.fdic. gov, or by calling 877-275-3342.

Of course, if you've got millions, you won't be fully insured no matter how you structure your accounts. If you're that fortunate, consider the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service.

This allows you to deposit as much as $50 million in a single bank. The institution then distributes your money among other banks so you are fully FDIC insured. More than 2,000 banks and thrifts are part of the service. Find out more at www.cdars.com.


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