Chances are, car insurance wasn’t the first thing you thought of after the proposal. In fact, you might not have thought about how marriage might affect your car insurance rates at all. But after the decorations have been cleared and honeymoon adventures logged, you’ll want to consider adding, “check on combining car insurance policies” to your newlywed to-do list. Car insurance is usually cheaper for married couples — with a few important caveats.
No Matter What, You’ll Likely Save
Even if you do absolutely nothing, the sheer fact of being married is likely to have a positive impact on your rates once your policy is up for review. The average couple receives a savings of 10-12 percent when all other factors remain the same.
Why is this the case? Insurers find married people less likely to file a claim compared to single drivers of comparable profile, and so consider them less risky to insure. This makes the most sense if you both have spotless driving records and no recent gaps in insurance coverage.
Remember, too, that in addition to lower rates, having two cars on the same policy can often earn you multi-car discounts from insurers. Moreover, even if your household only has one vehicle, you can still earn discounts for sharing a policy.
Finally, combining your auto insurance policy with existing homeowners’ or renters’ policies from the same company could lead to even greater discounts overall.
Many factors shape one’s insurance premium, and driving is only one of them. In Pennsylvania, insurance companies use credit scores as one element in determining rates. So you may have some choices to make, based on your separate driving and financial histories. When it comes to credit scores, one of the smartest things you can do is place the person with the best credit score as the primary named insured
For example, what if your spouse has a decent driving record but a poor credit score? Or what if you’re a great money manager, but your lead foot has recently scored you a speeding ticket? If putting the policies together does not help you save on the premium, you can just list your spouse on your policy and defer them to their own individual insurance.
When Not To Combine Policies
Though you’re now joined in holy matrimony, there are some cases in which it just doesn’t make sense to bring that partnership to your car insurance. Combining a low-risk driver’s policy with a high-risk driver’s will likely increase the low-risk driver’s car insurance rates.
There’s also the chance that your insurance company simply won’t insure your accident-prone partner, no matter the cost. “If one spouse has more than three accidents, your insurance carrier may not accept the spouse.
Here’s where the really bad news comes in: Even if you don’t combine policies, simply living under the same roof as a high-risk driver could have a negative impact on your car insurance rates.
Because insurance companies consider the driving histories of all family members living within the same household when underwriting policies, having a high-risk driver under your roof makes you riskier by association.” Car insurance follows the car, so your policy would have to cover the damage if your spouse caused an accident on an errand in your vehicle, for example.
The Bottom Line
Nine times out of 10, it will be beneficial to merge the insurance” for a newlywed couple.