Can a married couple have separate car insurance policies?

Car insurance for married couples can mean each person has separate policies, but you could save up to 55% on your married car insurance rates with multi-car and multi-policy discounts.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There are no legal requirements that force married couples to combine insurance providers after marriage.
  • Some couples choose to keep their insurance separate because of the hassle involved with switching providers.
  • However, combining insurance providers can offer additional discounts to married couples.

All drivers, regardless of their marital status, are required by law to have some form of car insurance. There may be scenarios where a husband and wife are more comfortable with keeping their separate policies active, which is an option with most insurers.

Before you elect to keep your own personal car insurance after marriage, you should consider several different factors.

The choice could pose problems with the Department of Motor Vehicles, a claims adjuster and even with your wallet if you do not know how insurance works.

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Proper Car Insurance Etiquette Once You get Married

Newlyweds generally combine their insurance after the honeymoon, but it is not a requirement. There is not a rule that says that once you are legally unified, you must combine your insurance.

There is not a rule that says that once you are legally unified, you must combine your insurance.

In fact, some married couples will go for years carrying their own separate car insurance because they prefer their agent, or they want to stay loyal to their company.

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Why Married Couples Have Their Own Car Insurance

Many agents argue that having a combined insurance policy is more affordable than separating the coverage. While this can be true in many cases, it is not always true.

There are some scenarios where the cheapest option for the situation is to skip the switch and stick with the separate policies.

Here are some of the scenarios where sticking with individual policies might make sense:

One Spouse Has a Bad Driving Record

You should always run your spouse’s motor vehicle record or request a claims history report from their insurer if you are contemplating adding them as a driver or a named insured.

The worst thing that could happen is that your policy could be set up for non-renewal because that person that person that you exchanged your “I do’s” with has accidents, violations or serious convictions on their record.

If your spouse has a poor driving record, and you do not want those bad driving habits to affect your premiums, the best bet is to have your spouse have separate insurance.

When determining rates, insurance companies will charge the policyholders based on the assumed risk. Having a high-risk driver without other insurance in the home, even if it is your spouse, poses a risk to the company.

Increasing your rates is the only way that the company can keep you on the books while still keeping protection.

Some of the factors that could make your spouse high risk include:

  • DUI conviction
  • Multiple tickets or accidents
  • No previous insurance
  • Little or no driving experience

Vehicles Are Registered in Different States

When you buy insurance, you must buy your coverage from a company that is licensed to do business in the state where the vehicle is registered.

For spouses who live between states, it is possible to face a situation where two vehicles in the same state have license plates in different states.

You cannot combine your insurance in this case because you will not be complying with your state law.

Instead, you need to keep your policy active with the provider licensed in the state of residence so that the Department of Motor Vehicles knows that you always have valid cover.

You Want to Wait Until Renewal

To some, the inconvenience of switching insurers is not worth the idea of having coverage with the same carrier. If you have already paid your premiums and you have another 10 months of coverage, you can keep separate policies until the renewal.

At that time, it might be best to request quotes from each of your insurers to see which one will give you as a couple the best rate.

Benefits of Combining Car Insurance Once Married

Getting married can dramatically lower your rates, especially when you are a younger male who is being charged for both age and gender for being statistically classified as a higher risk.

The marital status classification alone can change your rating class, but there are more benefits around the corner.

Here are some things to consider before you decide that combining the policy is a waste of time:

You Will Receive Multi-Car Rates

One of the biggest benefits of combining your insurance is the multi-car discount. The savings on insuring more than one vehicle on a single policy can be as high as 30 percent.

You May Receive Multi-Policy Discounts

In addition to car insurance, you will also need property insurance to protect your belongings. If you do not have combined insurance, only one of you can receive discounts for having property insurance with the same carrier.

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References:

  1. https://www.naic.org/state_web_map.htm
  2. https://insurance.freeadvice.com/information/auto/article/198
  3. https://www.thebalance.com/am-i-a-high-risk-driver-527278
  4. https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0311/5-money-saving-insurance-tips-for-couples.aspx
  5. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-men-can-beat-gender-bias-in-car-insurance/
  6. https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_getting_engaged.htm
  7. https://www.thebalance.com/how-do-i-get-a-multi-car-discount-527538

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