Auto Insurance

Car Insurance For Married Couples

Car insurance for married couples could be less expensive than maintaining separate policies. Learn how combining policies works for married couples. 

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When couples marry, they often bring two cars into a single household, making them eligible for multi-vehicle discounts and other potential benefits that can reduce their auto insurance premiums. If spouses purchase a car together, they may be required to purchase auto insurance with both parties listed as drivers of the vehicle. 

In general, car insurance for married couples could be less expensive than two separate policies. Many married couples combine to insure their vehicles with a single policy to help reduce their total insurance costs.  

How Does a Joint Policy Work?

A joint policy acts as a standard auto policy would, except instead of covering one driver, it would cover two. This means adding your spouse to your auto insurance policy helps provide coverage for both parties if there’s an accident. For example, if you have a joint policy with collision coverage, that coverage would help pay to repair or replace the vehicle if you or your spouse is at fault in an accident. Deductibles would still apply, so you would still have to meet your policy’s deductible before insurance steps in to pay the rest.

Just as with standard auto policies, if you or your spouse cause third-party bodily injury or property damage, you are liable for the damages. Your auto liability insurance policy helps cover third-party accident-related injuries and property damage up to the policy’s limits. Liability coverage is required in many states and covers any driver on the policy, no matter which car they are driving at the time of the accident. 

Many insurers require married people to add their spouse to a car insurance policy if both parties live at the same address. However, some states and insurers give married people the option to exclude their spouse from an auto insurance policy, which could be preferable if they have a poor driving record or if their primary car is significantly more expensive.

Benefits of Combining Car Insurance After Marriage

Each insurer uses proprietary algorithms to calculate the risk that an insured individual may be involved in an accident. This is known as the policyholder’s “risk profile.” For example, young and inexperienced drivers pay some of the highest car insurance rates because they are statistically more likely to be in a car accident. People who pose a lower risk typically pay lower car insurance rates.

Since insurers are free to calculate premiums as they see fit, some may place more weight on marital status. For instance, insurers may consider married people to be more cautious and financially stable than their single counterparts, resulting in safer driving habits.

Another benefit of combining into a joint policy is that married couples who insure their cars with the same company may be eligible for multi-vehicle discounts. In addition, they may be eligible for bundling discounts if they combine renter’s or homeowner’s insurance with their auto insurance. As a result, a married couple may end up paying less for car insurance when they insure both cars under a single policy than they would with two separate policies. 

When to Consider a Joint Car Insurance Policy

If both spouses have good driving records, combining car insurance policies after marriage could trigger a meaningful discount. As you contemplate a joint car insurance policy, be sure to get multiple quotes from reputable insurers so you can compare premiums and coverages. 

You can find insurers offering a combined auto insurance policy that best meets both of your needs. In fact, you do not have to have the same coverage or deductibles for both cars if you and your spouse each drive your own vehicles. While auto insurance companies typically require all vehicles to have the same amount of liability and underinsured and/or uninsured motorist coverage, you can choose different coverage types depending on the car you are insuring. 

For example, if your car is a newer leased SUV and your spouse drives an older vehicle that they own outright, you may not want collision and comprehensive coverage on both vehicles. The lender for the leased vehicle will likely require full coverage insurance on the financed vehicle, but paying for full coverage on the other car that’s worth only a few thousand dollars may not be the best idea. Instead, you could purchase full coverage insurance for the SUV and get liability-only coverage for the older vehicle with a multi-car policy and still enjoy discounts on your premiums. 

When You Should Not Consider a Joint Car Insurance Policy

It may be worth mentioning in this section that even if you don’t have a joint policy w/ your spouse, just notifying your insurer to update your marital status may result in a premium decrease as well. So, it’s important to let them know!

While combining auto policies would be beneficial for many married couples, it is not always the case. If you or your spouse has a poor driving record, that could be a good reason to keep separate policies because that could drive up the premium of your combined policy, making it less affordable than if you had separate ones. However, some companies prioritize driving history more than others. Even if a spouse pays significantly more for their auto insurance due to their driving record, multi-car discounts could offset the additional costs resulting in a lower premium for the household. 

Another consequence of a poor driving record could be in policy eligibility. In some cases, one spouse’s driving record could cause an insurer to refuse issuing a joint policy. Accidents, DUI charges, and multiple moving violations are red flags for insurers who prioritize driving records when they determine whether to issue an insurance policy. In this case, the insurer may require the riskier driver to be explicitly excluded from the auto policy. There’s no insurance coverage for an accident-related claim if the excluded driver is involved in an accident while driving the insured vehicle. 

Finally, if you or your spouse drives a vehicle that is considered a supercar, an exotic car, or a classic car, you may need a policy issued by an insurer that specializes in coverage for certain vehicle types. In this case, it may not be possible to combine policies.

However, even if you decide to not have a joint policy with your spouse, notifying your insurer to update your marital status may still result in a premium decrease. As mentioned before, some insurers see married couples as more cautious drivers because they tend to have shared vehicles and be more financially stable. This could help lower your auto rate even if your spouse does not join your policy.

How To Add Your Spouse to Your Car Insurance Policy

Talk with your spouse to determine how much coverage you want on each vehicle. You must purchase at least the minimum amount of liability coverage required by your state. Depending on where you live, you may be required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments insurance (MedPay), as well. 

If you plan to add your spouse to your existing insurance policy, contact your insurer to get a quote. Be ready to provide your spouse’s full legal name, driver’s license number, and information about your spouse’s vehicle, including the vehicle identification number (VIN), year, make, model, and mileage. The insurer may ask questions about whether you and your spouse would use your car for business purposes, whether the car is leased or financed, how many miles you both drive each year, and whether the car is typically parked in a garage. 

If your spouse uses a different insurer, you may also get a quote for a joint policy from their insurer and compare your options. Because insurers set their own rates, be sure to shop around and get at least three quotes to compare.

What to Do If You Decide to Keep Separate Policies

If after shopping around you ultimately decide to keep your car insurance policies separate, you and your spouse will need to let your respective insurers know that you are married and sharing a household with another driver. If you must exclude your spouse from coverage, speak with your insurer to understand how your insurance coverage works. Keep in mind that even with separate policies, you may be eligible for multi-policy discounts if you add renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance to one of the auto insurance policies. 

Can Same-sex Married Couples Combine Car Insurance Policies?

Same-sex married couples can combine their car insurance policies and have a joint policy. Even if the state where you live opposes same-sex marriage, the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case ruled that same-sex marriages must be recognized in every state. This means that same-sex married couples must receive all of the rights that come with marriage, including insurance rights. Insurers cannot refuse to offer joint policies to married couples based on their sexual orientation.

Combining Car Insurance for Unmarried Couples: Significant Others, Domestic Partnerships, and Civil Unions

Joint policies are not only available for those who have a marriage license. Even if you are not legally married, you can combine car insurance policies if you share a household with your significant other, domestic partner, or a person with whom you share a civil union. While state laws about different partnership types vary, insurers typically consider a household to include every driver who lives at the address as part of a family unit.