The ramifications of getting married on your car insurance are probably the very last thing when you consider getting hitched — if it's a thought at all. It’s usually the time when you and your significant other are picking out venues, cakes, and center pieces rather than thinking about merging insurance policies. But, at the end of the day, when the glamor of the wedding and honeymoon have worn off, you should consider looking at the effect of marriage on your car insurance. That’s where we come in.
To merge or not to merge?
Keeping it separate
You might be surprised to learn that it doesn’t always make sense to merge your car insurance policy with your husband or wife. The three big things to consider when thinking about before adding an additional person to your policy are:
- Bad driving records
- If you or your partner has a bad driving record, i.e., lots of at-fault accidents or citations, your bill will be higher because they are being rated on your policy. Your spouse getting their own policy would ensure you are not financially penalized for their driving mistakes.
- Poor credit
- Most insurance companies and most states use your credit score as a determining factor for your premium.
- Just like having a poor driving record, having a low credit score can negatively impact your premium significantly.
- Expensive cars
- If you drive a Toyota Corolla but your significant other drives a Lamborghini, you should expect a significant difference in your premiums. Your insurance company has to soften the risk of insuring such a high-value car by charging a high premium. If you’re worried about footing the bill for their fancy and expensive car, think about getting your own policy.
Keeping it in the family
In a response to the above-mentioned negatives, some states and insurance companies allow you a smidge of flexibility in terms of primary drivers. In terms of bad credit, for example, you might be able to save some money by having the driver with the poorer credit as the primary driver of the least expensive car to insure. Still, not every insurance company and every state will allow you to do that, so speak with an insurance agent for details. Here are some other reasons to keep your policy in the family.
Usually, when you add your partner and their vehicle to your policy, you are eligible for a multi-car discount. The reason being for this discount is the additional line of revenue for your insurance company by insuring more than one vehicle with them. This increased revenue is (somewhat) returned the favor by a decreased premium. Now, the amount of the discount per underwriting rules, any discount is worth considering. Another discount that you should consider is based on the change of your marital status, not by adding additional lines of insurance. By updating your personal information from “single” to “married,” your insurance rate actually drops by an average of $74 a year. This is because of the way your insurance company sees you as a married client. Married people are considered more stable drivers and more likely to share driving responsibilities — all of which mean fewer claims payouts for them.
National Average Annual Insurance by Marital Status
It might seem like a pain to get your spouse added to your policy, but it’s actually less of a hassle when you get into the weeds. If you and your spouse live together and have separate policies, your insurance companies will most likely require you to either add or completely exclude your spouse from your policy altogether. This is because insurance companies see the likelihood of roommates (married or not) sharing vehicles to be very high and thus like an absolute defined — they are covered drivers or completely excluded, and any damages they cause would not be covered by the insurance company. If you and your spouse decide to stay on separate policies, you will not be allowed to use the other’s vehicle unless you want to risk not getting any protection. Furthermore, only having to worry about one joint bill to pay and one policy worry about is certainly easier.
So, together or not?
At the end of the day, the decision to add or exclude your spouse is a personal one. You should consider if either of you has a bad driving record, poor credit, or an above-average vehicle which could expensively impact your premium. Moreover, consider the discounts you receive from both being married and adding another person/driver to your policy before dismissing the idea. Want a quote to see how much you can save? Use our insurance calculator to find out.
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