Did you know that relationship status plays a role in auto insurance? As crazy as it may seem, this is true. Your marital status is one of many factors that insurance companies use to determine your auto rates. These factors are usually details about you, such as your:
Your marital status can also help insurers assess your risk as a driver. So, whether you’re married or single can impact how much you pay for insurance.
In general, married people pay less for auto insurance than singles do. A report from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found that insurers charge single drivers more most of the time. The same goes for widowed or divorced drivers, mainly because married people file fewer auto claims than singles.
This article explores how your marital status impacts car insurance rates, including why insurers tend to give lower rates to married couples. Sometimes you might not want to add your spouse to your policy. We’ll talk about when you should or shouldn’t do so. Finally, you’ll learn about state exceptions or rules regarding your marital status and insurance.
Why Marital Status Affects Your Rates
Your marital status can affect your rates because insurers believe that married people can act a bit differently than singles. Unfortunately, this idea can seem unfair because this may not always be the case. But insurers normally refer to data to draw general conclusions.
There are a few reasons why married couples end up with lower rates. Here’s why tying the knot can result in lower insurance prices:
- Married people may be older. Per WeddingWire, the average marriage age in the US is about 32 years old. This means that married couples tend to have more life and, most likely, driving experience. Insurers favor older and more experienced drivers because they usually make fewer mistakes.
- You might drive less if you’re married. Whether it’s to the store or on a long road trip, couples often travel together. One person is in the passenger seat at any given time if you’re driving together. This means you might drive less if you’re married, leaving less room for error.
- Couples are likely to add two cars to the policy. Each partner may bring their car onto the policy. This means the insurers will end up making more money. Married couples will also qualify for a multi-car discount if they each have a car.
- Married people are often homeowners. It’s common for married people to own a home together because they have more resources. This allows married couples to bundle their home and auto insurance together with one company.
- Married people file fewer car insurance claims. In general, married couples don’t file as many claims as singles do. Insurers reflect this by giving married couples lower rates.
Why You Should Add Your Spouse to Your Policy
There are plenty of reasons why you should think about adding your spouse to your policy. You’ll be able to take advantage of a couple of benefits that insurers offer. These benefits come in the form of discounts that insurers offer.
Most insurers offer a set of discounts that are perfect for you if you’re married. These discounts can knock a percentage off of your premiums. Some of these may not even be related to your marital status.
Here are some discounts insurers offer married couples:
One of the discounts that you can get is for having multiple cars on your policy. You can qualify if you and your spouse each have a car and add them both to your policy. Keep in mind that you’ll need to garage each car in the same household to be eligible for the discount. How much you can save with this discount will depend on your insurer.
Multi-Policy or Bundling Discount
Something else you can take advantage of is the multi-policy or insurance bundling discount. To get this, all you have to do is bundle your home and auto insurance. Then your insurer may be able to offer you a nice discount. This discount is great for married couples because they’re often homeowners due to their joined financial resources.
Adding a driver to your policy can lead to unexpected rate increases. If you think you should pay less for your coverage, get car insurance quotes from several major insurers and compare rates. You may find a better deal.
When You Shouldn’t Add Your Spouse to Your Insurance
While adding your spouse to your policy can likely get you some good discounts, there are times when you shouldn’t do so. Adding your spouse to your policy can affect your rates as well. You should take great care when thinking of adding anyone to your policy. Your spouse is no exception.
Below are situations where you shouldn’t add your spouse to your policy:
- They have bad credit. Your credit rating is a car insurance rate factor. If you or your spouse have a poor credit history, you probably shouldn’t combine your policies. This might raise either person’s rates.
- They’re under 25 years old. Insurers consider age and driving experience when they set your rates. Adding a spouse who’s under the age of 25 could spell trouble for your insurance prices. Younger drivers generally pay more, so you could end up doing the same by extension.
- They have a bad driving record. Your driving record plays a huge role in your insurance costs. Try to avoid adding your spouse if they have a poor driving record. A DUI or reckless driving on their record might mean you won’t even be able to add them.
- They’re a high-risk driver. High-risk drivers are normally those with several tickets and accidents on their record. They’re difficult and expensive to insure. Avoid adding your spouse to your policy if they’re under the high-risk label.
- Long commute or drives lots of miles. If your spouse has a long commute to work, think twice before adding them to your policy. This can result in you paying more. The longer the car is on the road, the higher risk there is for tickets and accidents.
You probably shouldn’t add your partner to your policy if they have any potential to raise your rates. Insurers will charge people more if they seem to be a high risk to cost them money in the long run.
State Rules and Exceptions
Some states have rules or exceptions regarding insurers using your marital status as a factor in your rates. For the most part, insurers can legally use your marital status as a factor when they price your insurance. But in California, they can’t only use your marital status. California’s Proposition 103, passed in 1988, requires that insurers use your driving record, car mileage, and experience as rate factors before they can use anything else. This means that, in California, your marital status is secondary to your driving record or experience.
Domestic Partnership May Also Count in Some States
In some states, being in a domestic partnership with someone is just as good as being married when it comes to insurance. For example, Washington state law says that insurers must offer domestic partners the same benefits as married couples receive. You should ask your agent about these laws. They may have more information about whether your state requires domestic partners to receive the same benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What happens if my spouse and I get a divorce?
A: A divorce will likely affect your car insurance in some way. If you’re on the same policy, you’ll need to make sure to keep paying your rates. Both parties are responsible for paying. You should look to cancel the policy as soon as you can so that managing your insurance is less complex. If you have children that drive, you’ll have to decide whose policy they’ll be a part of.
Also consider that when you get divorced, you’ll likely be splitting up assets between each person. Your cars will likely be in that conversation. If any cars change hands, your insurer will need to know about it. This includes filing a vehicle title change with your state. Your home address will also need updating if you end up moving. You’ll also need to contact your insurance provider if you move out of state. They’ll want to update your records and ensure that you meet minimum requirements.
Q: Do you need to notify your insurer if you get divorced?
A: You may need to notify your insurer if you get a divorce. You’ll undoubtedly need to get a new auto insurance policy. You also might need to update any info about you, such as your home address and car titles (if they change).
When you apply for a new policy, you’ll need to disclose your marital status. You can tell them that you’re either divorced or single, whichever you choose.
Q: Is it better to tell your insurance that you’re single or divorced?
A: It doesn’t make much of a difference whether you’re single or divorced. Insurers consider them to be pretty much the same thing when it comes to your rates. Insurers will also look at factors like your age, gender, driving record, and credit history to determine your rates.