State laws differ, but most insurance companies require policyholders to list all licensed household members on their policy since they usually have access to your vehicles.

In some states, if you don’t tell your insurance company about all the drivers in your household, it can be deemed misrepresentation, a form of fraud. But married couples may have several options for covering or excluding their spouse, depending on their driving and credit record.

Here’s what you need to know about your choices.

Key Highlights
  • Married couples with clean driving records could save between 4% – 10% by combining their auto insurance plans into one.
  • If one spouse has a poor driving record or low credit score – and never plans to drive the family car – excluding them from the policy may reduce premiums.
  • Named-driver exclusions are not allowed in some states or by all insurance companies, so it’s a good idea to shop for insurance that meets this criterion.

Can married couples have separate car insurance?

Before a couple gets married, they usually have separate car insurance policies if they both have their own cars and live in different places. They may be able to keep separate policies after they’re married, but they’ll usually need to be listed on each other’s policies after moving in together.

Does being married lower your car insurance? Yes, it’s usually cheaper for spouses to come together and be covered under one policy after marriage. Insurers generally charge lower premiums for married couples than for individual drivers. You may get additional car insurance discounts for insuring more than one car and driver on the same policy.

If both partners have clean driving records, the savings can be significant. Married couples with clean records on the same policy typically pay about 4% to 10% less than safe, single drivers.

But there are some situations where adding your spouse to your coverage can raise your rates, such as if your spouse has a poor driving record or low credit score. In that case, you may want to exclude your husband or wife from your coverage – but only if your spouse never plans to drive your car.

How does your spouse’s driving record affect car insurance rates?

Auto insurance companies typically consider all licensed drivers in a household when calculating rates. A spouse with a poor driving or credit record can boost your rates – or make it difficult to get coverage at all, depending on the severity of their record.

Insurance companies determine premiums based on various rating factors, a major one being your motor vehicle record. If the insurer finds that a driver on your policy has multiple traffic violations, it will boost your rates. If any of the violations are major offenses, such as reckless driving or DUI, then that will make the rates go even higher.

If you don’t want your spouse’s poor record to affect your rates, you may want to consider an option such as a named-driver exclusion, if state laws and your insurance company’s guidelines allow. This is an endorsement to your policy that says your spouse won’t be covered when driving your car.

In that case, your spouse won’t be covered by your car insurance policy, leaving them uninsured if they drive your vehicle. So, if you and your spouse plan to drive each other’s cars occasionally, you can keep separate policies but will need to add the other person on the other policy.

“It may bring a lower premium, but the risk could be very high if your spouse has an accident — not to mention that it could impact your rates going forward if you lied and your spouse did use your vehicle,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute. The rules vary by insurer and state.

Can my spouse drive my car without insurance?

If you have a car and insurance, but your spouse does not have a separate vehicle, they should be listed as a driver on your car insurance policy. Most insurance companies require all licensed household members to be listed on the policy as drivers.

If you haven’t informed the insurance company that you’re married, you need to do that now and add them to the policy. They don’t have to buy their own policy – in fact, they usually wouldn’t get a separate policy if they only have one vehicle.

Once they are listed as a driver, the insurance company will rate them as an occasional driver, primary or secondary driver, since there is only one car in the household.

If they have a bad driving record or there is some other reason they haven’t been listed on your policy up to this point, then your rates may go up when you add them. If this happens and you want them to be covered when driving your car, it’s a good time to shop around for more affordable auto insurance – the formulas for setting rates can vary from company to company.

What happens if your spouse does not have a license?

If your spouse isn’t on your car insurance policy because they don’t have a license, they could be listed as “unlicensed” and marked as unrated so they won’t affect your car insurance rates. Without a license, they should not be driving your car. But if they end up taking the car and having an accident, and the insurance company was aware of them and had them on the policy as unrated (due to her lack of driver’s license). There’s a possibility that the accident would be covered.

However, it’s highly probable that your auto insurance company will non-renew you at the end of your policy period or may require you to add your spouse to the policy as a rated driver and pay a premium for them– even if they aren’t licensed — now that they have driven your vehicle without being licensed and crashed it.

What happens if you don’t inform your car insurance company about your spouse?

If you fail to inform your car insurance company that you have a spouse, then the insurer can assert that there was misrepresentation on your part. In many states, the car insurance company can deny claims and cancel your policy because of material misrepresentation.

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Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

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Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for, and Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

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