If you’re recently married or about to tie the knot, you may get an extra wedding gift: Your car insurance premiums may go down. Married couples generally pay less for car insurance than single individuals because insurers tend to consider them to be a lower risk.
“Many companies offer discounts for being married, with the assumption being that you are a more cautious driver,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute. “
The specifics vary from company to company and state to state, but on average, married couples pay 4% less than singles, but might pay up to 10% less, according to a rate analysis by CarInsurance.com’s team of industry experts.
You may also be eligible for some additional discounts after you get married. But if your spouse has a poor driving record or low credit score, your rates may actually rise. Here’s what you need to know to get the best deal on car insurance when you get married, and to make sure that both spouses have the right coverage.
Car insurance for newlyweds: When to combine, separate or exclude
You and your spouse may have had your own cars and separate car insurance policies when you were single. You’ll need to decide if you want to combine your policies, keep them separate or combine them with one of you excluded from coverage.
Once married, here are the options for how to handle your auto insurance:
- If you both are safe drivers with good credit — Combine your coverage on one policy, which is best if both of you are safe drivers, and usually cheaper because you qualify for more discounts.
- If one of you has recent accidents or bad credit — Keep your policies separate, if one of you has recent claims or bad credit, but list both of you as drivers on each policy to comply with insurance requirements.
- If one of you has a terrible driving record (DUI, SR-22, multiple violations, accidents) or poor credit but still want one policy: Combine your coverage on one policy, with a named-driver exclusion for the spouse who has a terrible credit history or driving record, knowing that you can’t make exceptions and that the excluded driver cannot ever drive your car.
Once you decide which of these scenarios best fits your situation, contact your insurance company to combine coverage or to list each other on separate policies. Insurers usually require policyholders to list all licensed drivers in their household on their policy since these people will normally have access to your vehicles. For more information about your options after you get married, check out “Does your spouse have to be on your car insurance?”
When you should keep your policy separate from your spouse
If your new spouse has a poor driving or credit record, your rates could increase after you get married if you combine your coverage. That means it might be best to keep separate policies. However, even if you keep separate policies, your spouse’s driving record and credit score could affect your rates because he or she will still be listed on your policy.
When you should exclude your spouse from car insurance
If your spouse’s driving or credit record is bad enough that your rates would increase significantly, and make a joint policy cost prohibitive, then you may want to consider what’s called a named-driver exclusion. This is an endorsement to your policy that states your spouse won’t be covered when driving your car. This option should be a last resort because it means your excluded spouse can never drive your car because if there’s an accident, the two of you will have to pay for all the repairs and medical bills.
Will my car insurance go up if I add my wife or husband?
The impact on your rate depends on your spouse’s driving record and credit score. Your rates can decrease if you both have good records, but the specifics vary depending on your insurer and the state.
Cheap car insurance for married couples
Insurers have different formulas for setting premiums, and one may give a bigger break to married couples than others. That means if you want to get the cheapest rate as a married couple, you should compare car insurance quotes. You should compare rates from at least three different companies to find out how much of a discount you could receive.
It’s also a good time to shop around if you move to a different area when you get married – you may have additional companies to choose from, and your rates may drop if you move to a less-risky area. “Auto rates are based in part on where your vehicle is housed,” says Worters. “For example, if you moved from a hail prone area of the country to an area that doesn’t have hail, you could save money.” The same is true if you move from a big city or densely populated metro area to a rural area. Drivers in rural regions generally pay less than those in cities.
It’s always wise to compare car insurance rates when you have a major change of circumstances, like getting married, moving, buying a house or a car, but also when you add or drop drivers, your policy is up for renewal or if you file an accident claim or get cited for multiple moving violations.
Below are average rates from major carriers for married couples for a full coverage policy, so you can assess which companies among those surveyed have the cheapest rates. You’ll see rates vary among car insurance companies, which is why it’s wise to comparison shop. The difference between the highest and lowest rate is an estimate of about how much you can save by doing so.
Are there discounts on car insurance if you’re married?
Yes, married couples get a “discount.” Insurance companies don’t officially call this a “marriage discount,” but the result is the same. Married drivers typically pay less than single ones, all else being equal. When deciding what you pay, insurance companies will charge less if you’re married because married motorists are considered safer drivers than single ones. Your marital status is one of the many factors car insurance companies consider when setting your rates, so it’s built into pricing though not technically a discount.
These so-called marriage discounts may be largest on car insurance for married couples under age 25. “This is probably larger if you are a younger person getting married,” says Worters. “By settling down, you may become more reliable and less risky in the eyes of your insurance company. And that means lower premiums. Men under age 25 could see the biggest discounts since they often have the highest rates.”
Additionally, married couples often qualify for discounts when they combine their policies.
If you and your spouse combine policies, you may get a multi-policy discount for insuring two cars under the same policy, and you may get an additional break if you have other types of insurance with the same company, too, such as homeowners or renters insurance.
Car insurance discounts for married people
Here are common car insurance discounts for married drivers, based on a rate analysis by CarInsurance.com
- Multi-car discount: up to 25%
- Multi-driver discount: up to 25%
- Home bundle: 11%
- Rental bundle: 5%
- Condo bundle: 10%
Also, when considering which insurer to drop when combining coverage, determine if one of you has been with the existing carrier longer than the other. If one of you has been with your insurer for many years, you could qualify for a “loyalty” discount by maintaining continuous coverage and adding your spouse. Loyalty discounts are typically 5% to 15% and are applied after three or so years, increasing as time goes on.