May 20th, 2009 saw President Obama extend the $250,000 FDIC insurance you get on your bank CD's through 12/31/2013. You can read about it here at the official FDIC website.
This is good news for anyone who has money to invest in certificates of deposit and anyone looking for a no risk CD. Finding a place to put your money now days that is safe is very hard and thankfully the FDIC insurance was extended. Let's hope that it is extended even to a later date than 2013 and for more as inflation is eating away at everyone's money.
There still is a problem though with exactly how the $250,000 is calculated. On this page of the FDIC website it does seem to explain the limits quite clearly for joint accounts. However there are many different scenarios you can have with individual accounts and joint accounts and people want to be absolutely sure their money is guaranteed by the government.
If you have a combination of individual and joint checking, savings, and CD's like I do, you want to be sure you are covered up to $500,000 for two people. The problem is, I have gotten mixed answers from several people. The person at my bank said she believed my wife and I were covered up to $500,000 but she wasn't ABSOLUTELY sure. I then asked my stock broker and he said much the same thing: that we each get $250,000 so as long as we stay below $500,000 in each institution (not that we have that much) we should be alright. Again though, he wasn't ABSOLUTELY sure of it.
This is like everything else that comes from the government: it is confusing for a normal person to understand and the professionals who should know, don't. If you are looking for the best interest rates on CDs you also need to know what limits you are covered for and all the minute details that really could become a factor if the economy doesn't make a recovery. It is frightening all the mainstream big names banks that are in trouble right now and guaranteeing the safety of your hard earned savings is paramount.