Most car insurance companies require that all licensed drivers living in the same household, especially spouses, be listed on the policy as drivers. This way the auto insurance company is able to accurately assess the risk that both you and your spouse pose as drivers and calculate your premiums accordingly.

Do I have to add my spouse to my car insurance?

It is recommended that you do, or you could potentially wind up paying out of pocket for accidents your spouse causes while driving your car. If you fail to inform the car insurance company that you are married and don’t add your spouse to your policy, accidents your spouse causes might not be covered. It’s possible that if your spouse is driving your car and has an accident that the insurer could deny the claim. It’s important to contact your insurer as soon as you get married to make sure your spouse is covered if he or she plans to use your car.

Adding your spouse to your policy can also reduce your rates. The rules vary by state and insurer, but many insurance companies charge married couples lower premiums for car insurance than they do for single individuals. Insurers say their data shows that married policyholders are safer drivers and have a lower risk of insurance claims. And when two people place both of their vehicles on one policy, they may also receive a discount for insuring multiple cars.

If your spouse has a poor driving record, however, adding him or her to your policy could increase your premiums. Your rate could also rise in some states if your spouse has a low credit score. If their driving record would boost your rates significantly, you could consider getting a “named-driver exclusion,” which is an endorsement to your policy that states your spouse won’t be covered when driving your car, says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

These rules can vary by state – some states let you exclude your spouse as a driver, but others don’t exclude family members. Only consider this option if you don’t ever plan for your spouse to drive your car.

How to add your spouse to your car insurance

Contact your car insurance company after you get married to add your spouse to your policy.

Insurers have different formulas for assessing risk, so some may offer a larger discount than others to married drivers. The impact of adding a spouse with a poor driving record can also vary by insurer, too. This is a good time to compare car insurance quotes from several insurance companies to determine which offers the best rates for you and your spouse.

  — Kimberly Lankford contributed to this story.

author image
Contributing Writer

Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions. When not writing, you can find her reading a book or watching anime.