How to determine if a bank account is FDIC insured

With recent bank failures, many are concerned about their bank deposits. The majority of bank depositors have their entire deposit insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). However, you might feel uncertain about whether your deposit is insured. Here's how to find out.

Determine if your bank is located within the United States. If it's not, then the FDIC does not insure your account. The government of the foreign country may insure the account, or there might be private insurance on the account, but you will have to consult your bank.
Determine if your account is a money market, mutual fund, or brokerage account. (If it is a regular checking or savings account, it almost certainly is not.) If the assets are held in money market accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc, then those are not insured by the FDIC and may lose value. However, if the bank or brokerage itself goes bankrupt, you still own the stocks, bonds, etc, and they retain the same value.
See if your bank says it's FDIC insured ("Member FDIC"). Almost all banks say that they are. If your bank doesn't say it prominently, ask them about it.
Determine if you have more than $100,000 per depositor in the bank. If you own the account jointly with a spouse, then the account is insured up to $200,000. If you own the account on your own, it's insured up to $100,000. (Note: the FDIC has temporarily increased the insurance limit to $250,000. However, that is scheduled to be reduced back to $100,000).

If you have more than $100,000 in one bank, then the amount that is greater than $100,000 is not insured by the FDIC. Remember, the limit is per bank, not per account. For example, if you have two accounts at Bank A, each at $75,000 for a total of $150,000, then only $100,000 will be insured. However, if you have an account at Bank A for $75,000 and a different account at Bank B for $75,000, then both accounts will be fully insured.
If you are afraid that the bank is not telling the truth about its FDIC insurance status, you can look up the bank at the FDIC website. Go to the following website:
There you can enter the name of the bank and the FDIC website will give you information about its insurance status.

Copyright 2009 by Michael Nehring