Question: I’m about to buy a motorcycle and wanted to know if my common-law wife (fiancée) can drive my new 2013 Sonata? I have full coverage on the car, but she’s not directly on my policy. Would she be breaking the law if she were pulled over in the car for whatever reason? Would she be covered in an accident? I'm in Texas.
Answer: It would appear that your fiancée is living with you if she can be considered your common-law wife, and that is reason enough to add her to your car insurance policy. However, it’s also important to get her on the policy because in the great state of Texas, you can get cited by law enforcement if your name is not on to the insurance card of the car you are driving.
Car insurance companies want to determine the risk they’re taking on by offering you an auto insurance policy and thus require you to inform them of all licensed household members and anyone else who frequently drives your vehicles. (See “Who can drive my car?”)
If you fail to notify your auto insurance provider of the presence of your fiancée in your household and she drives your brand-new Hyundai, there is a chance she wouldn’t be covered if she was in an accident, due to misrepresentation about who lives in your home and drives your cars. Or, the accident may be covered, but you’d be back charged for premiums that you should’ve paid for your common-law wife to be on your auto policy.
Your fiancée will be driving your car on a regular basis, it appears, once you get your motorcycle, but if you had someone in your household who was licensed and wasn’t ever going to drive your car, then you could see about getting a named driver exclusion for that individual.
Signing an exclusion form means that the named driver isn’t extended coverage from your car insurance policy. And excluded truly means excluded -- if the excluded person drove your car, even in an emergency, he or she wouldn’t be covered if in an accident. Exclusions don’t end at the end of your policy term or if you get married to the excluded driver.
When you list your fiancée on your car insurance policy, be sure to request new insurance cards that have her name on it. In most states, police will accept an auto insurance card that lists the car you’re driving on it, and it doesn’t matter if your name is specifically on the card (some states even accept electronic proof of auto insurance); however, Texas is different.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) told us that state statutes regarding auto insurance for motor vehicles (such as Texas Transportation Code 601.073) allow officers to ticket motorists if the driver isn’t specifically named on the insurance card. Carrying a card with you and your fiancée’s name on it (after you add her to the policy) in the car is much easier than spending a day in court to prove she was covered.
If your car insurance rates go up due to adding your fiancée to your policy, don’t get dismayed, instead shop around to find cheaper auto insurance.
By comparison shopping with multiple insurers, it’s possible to save hundreds, if not much more, on your annual car insurance premium. (See “3 ways to save big on car insurance”) Also, look for a multi-vehicle discount by getting your motorcycle and car insured by the same auto insurance provider.
And many will give you another break on rates once you and your fiancee tie the knot.