If you plan to marry someone with a less-than-perfect driving record, you might wonder if you can keep your insurance policies separate. Combining policies will usually provide you with the best rates but some couples may find that it makes sense to keep their own policies.
Can Married Couples Have Separate Car Insurance?
Married couples do not have to combine insurance policies. However, it usually makes sense to do so. Combining policies can qualify couples for discounts and lower rates. If you and your spouse have a good driving record, the savings you may qualify for can be significant. This is because insurance companies not only charge lower rates for married couples, but you can also qualify for multi-vehicle discounts. Bundling your policies may also offer you other benefits.
- It gives you a single payment date.
- It gives you a single renewal date.
- It allows you to bundle other insurance policies for even bigger discounts.
- It ensures you are both covered when driving the other’s vehicle.
Even if you and your spouse decide to have separate car insurance policies, you may still be required to list each other on your policy. Most state laws require policyholders to list all household members since they will usually have access to the vehicle.
When to Choose Separate Insurance Policies
There are a few situations in which married couples may choose to have separate insurance policies, according to CarInsurance.com.
- One spouse has a bad driving record.
- One spouse has a low credit score.
- One spouse drives an expensive sports car.
- One spouse has a longer commute.
If your spouse has a bad driving record with numerous traffic violations or a low credit score, it may make sense to keep separate policies. Each spouse’s commute length and destination can also affect rates. If one spouse works primarily from home, and the other spouse has a long commute into a high-risk city, you may decide to keep your policies separate. Even if you and your spouse have good driving records and credit scores, you may decide to keep separate policies if one spouse drives a vehicle worth more. Costly sports cars can be expensive to insure.
However, unless you specifically exclude your spouse from your policy, your rates could still increase, since the insurance company assumes they will drive your vehicle sometimes. Keep in mind, however, if you choose to exclude your spouse from your insurance policy, they should also avoid ever driving your personal vehicle. Insurance companies may void your policy if they find out someone excluded from the policy is driving. If you want to have separate insurance policies, with access to each other’s cars, then each spouse will need to include the other on their insurance policy.
It is always a good idea to compare rates before choosing to have separate policies. While adding a spouse with a bad driving record or low credit score to your policy may increase your rates, the addition of a multi-vehicle discount may make up for it.
How to Exclude Your Spouse from Your Policy
You can exclude your spouse from your insurance policy. This states that they will not drive your vehicle. If your spouse does drive your vehicle, it could not only void your policy, but your coverage will not extend to them. If each spouse has their own vehicle, however, this can be a good way to save money if one person has a bad driving record.
If your spouse doesn’t have their own vehicle, then you may not be able to exclude them, unless they also don’t have a driver’s license. All you need to do to exclude your spouse from your insurance policy is to notify your agent that you are married, but that your spouse doesn’t plan to drive your vehicle.
When to Notify Your Insurance Company You’re Married
You should always notify your insurance company that you are married as soon as possible. If you’re married when buying the policy, you will notify them when requesting a price quote. If you get married later, you will want to notify them immediately, especially if you will live together. While it is usually cheaper to combine policies at this point, you can keep your own policies, and just list the other as a household member.
It can also be beneficial to notify your insurance company before you’re married. This gives you more time to shop around to find the best rates. Find out how your insurance rates are affected when they add your spouse to your policy. If your rates increase by too much, consider switching insurance providers to one that offers a better rate.
How to Get the Best Insurance Rates as a Married Driver
Fortunately, insurance companies usually offer cheaper rates to married drivers. Other ways that you and your spouse may be able to save include:
- Combine your insurance policies: In addition to combining auto insurance policies, combining other insurance policies, like homeowners or renter’s insurance, can also lead to discounts.
- Ask about discounts: Before choosing which spouse’s insurance company to stay with, find out which one offers discounts. You and your spouse may qualify for discounts, like a good driver or student.
- Exclude high-risk drivers: Consider excluding a high-risk driver from one policy. Remember that car insurance follows the car, not the driver.
- Shop around: Shopping around is one of the best ways to find the most affordable rates. When shopping around, compare quotes among providers for both separate and combined policies.
Car insurance companies usually consider married drivers to be less risky, which is reflected in the insurance rates. According to NerdWallet, married drivers can earn as much as a 20 to 25 percent discount. It is also important to consider your level of coverage when shopping around and finding the best rates. Make sure you have the minimum coverage required in your state.
Married couples may combine most of their assets, but car insurance doesn’t have to be one of them. Doing so can lead to discounts, but combining policies may not be the best option for all couples.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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