When looking at rates for car insurance for married vs. single, it’s important to know that your costs can change. Most companies offer cheaper rates for married couples, as long as both spouses qualify within certain parameters.
Car Insurance Rates for Married vs. Single
Even if you have an impeccable driving record, a steady job, and excellent credit, you should know that there’s one more factor that could affect your insurance premiums: your marital status. Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or widowed can make a huge difference in your car insurance costs.
According to a 2015 study done in 10 major cities of major insurance companies conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), premiums for single, divorced, and separated drivers were almost always higher than premiums for married people with similar driving records. It also found that two-thirds of these companies increased rates on widows by about 20 percent.
What Factors Contribute to Lower Rates for Married People?
It might feel unfair that married people can receive lower rates for car insurance rates, but many insurance companies claim it makes sense. The companies operate under the assumption that married couples drive safer and get into fewer accidents. They’re also viewed as taking fewer risks behind the wheel than unmarried people.
Other factors that insurance companies believe include the following:
- More likely to bundle insurance policies. Married people are more likely to own a home and with that, home insurance and life insurance. If insurance companies can convince married couples to purchase car insurance, they might be able to persuade them to bundle all their insurance policies.
- Greater financial security. Married couples are more likely to pool their assets. They might even have a second home and have children.
- Qualify for discounts. In addition to owning a home and life insurance, married couples are more likely to have more than one vehicle and qualify for multi-driver discounts.
- Drive less often than single people. Providers assume that married couples share driving responsibilities, so each person spends less time behind the wheel.
Should You Add Your Spouse to the Policy?
Depending on your home state, all active drivers might need some sort of auto insurance coverage. Remember that other aspects contribute to the insurance rates, and how much your rate will be depends on your provider. It’s also not guaranteed that you qualify for cheaper rates just because you’re married.
If you marry someone with a bad driving record, that could impact your premium. Avoid merging policies if this is the case, since your spouse is considered high-risk. Keep in mind that they won’t be legally allowed to drive your vehicle if they’re listed as an excluded driver on your policy so they won’t be covered if they do drive your vehicle and cause damage.
Other reasons why you might reconsider adding your spouse to your policy include the following:
- Received a DUI/DWI conviction
- Has little or poor credit
- Has little or no history as an active driver
- Has a lengthy commute
- Drives a high-risk vehicle
- Is younger than 25 years old
Whether or not you decide to add your spouse is something you both need to determine. Your provider can help you if you have further questions.
What Are the Average Car Insurance Costs for Single and Married Drivers?
According to The Zebra, the average married driver in the United States pays $1381 annually for car insurance. The average divorced driver pays $1467 annually. The $86 difference is not a punishment for being divorced; rather, it is a reflection of historical data and statistics.
Compared to married drivers, divorced drivers file more claims. As a result, their premiums are slightly more than married drivers.
When looking at widowed drivers, on average they pay $1431 annually for car insurance. This slight increase compared to married drivers has to do with statistics, as a widowed driver is more likely to get into an accident than a married driver. The CFA also found that in some instances, a widow could see rates increase by as much as 226 percent following the death of a spouse.
The Zebra gives a rough estimation about annual car insurance premiums for married and single drivers:
- Allstate: $1390 for married and $1446 for single drivers
- GEICO: $1076 for married and $1088 for single drivers
- Farmers: $1280 for married and $1472 for single drivers
- Liberty Mutual: $5494 for married and $6186 for single drivers
- Nationwide: $1113 for married and $1163 for single drivers
- Progressive: $1312 for married and $1508 for single drivers
- State Farm: $1383 for married and $1383 for single drivers
- USAA: $816 for married and $904 for single drivers
The only company that doesn’t charge married and single drivers a different premium is State Farm. Liberty Mutual’s rates are significantly different for those two types of drivers.
Regardless of your marital situation, rate shopping is an excellent idea. Don’t just consider the first few search results when you search for car insurance online. Take the time to check out as many companies as possible.
Is Offering Lower Rates to Married Couples Legal?
When putting forth premiums, insurers want to achieve two competing issues. They want to secure customers who won’t file too many claims, but they also want to concentrate on profitable customers who might purchase more than one insurance product. To fulfill these issues, insurers try to entice people to purchase their products.
One state that has pushed back is California. In 1998, the state passed Proposition 103, which curbs the use of non-driving variables when it comes to auto insurance pricing. Since this passed, insurance companies must use three variables to determine premiums: driving record, experience, and miles driven annually. Only after using these three factors can companies use other factors.
Certain insurance companies oftentimes offer discounts on car insurance premiums depending upon your marital status. However, make sure you’re aware of your spouse’s driving history, as having a poor one can add costs to your rates. Also, don’t hesitate to shop around once you get married to see if you qualify for other car insurance discounts.
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