If you’re ready to walk down the aisle and say “I do” you know you’re in for a serious commitment. According to most marriage vows, that includes “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.” As part of your union, your finances, taxes, and insurance may all be affected. But is car insurance cheaper when married or more expensive? In many cases, you may benefit from a change to your marital status but not always.
Is car insurance cheaper when you’re married?
Being married means combining many aspects of your life. That may include your car insurance coverage. If you get a joint car insurance policy as a couple, you may be able to score a married insurance discount.
According to financial site ValuePenguin, a full coverage car insurance policy on average is $123 cheaper for a married couple than a single individual, resulting in a 5% savings. But that also depends on the state you live in as well.
You may qualify for a steeper discount on your car insurance when married — or not, depending on the situation and your driving history.
Why does being married lower car insurance?
You might wonder what your marital status has to do with car insurance and why does being married lower car insurance in some cases? Why do married people get additional car insurance savings than their single (at least, legally) counterparts? According to The Zebra’s 2021 The State Of Auto Insurance Report (pg 15), here’s part of the reason:
“Statistically, insurance companies have found that married drivers are less likely to file claims than drivers who are single, divorced or widowed, so married drivers pay less for car insurance. When single people get married, their car insurance rates drop about 6.5%, saving roughly $96/year.”
In other words, if there are fewer claims, married people are deemed safer drivers and not as risky. According to The Zebra, there are some states where you won’t see a married insurance discount though. Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Montana don’t allow car insurance rates to be impacted simply because you have a ring on it (or not).
On top of being deemed a safer driver, couples are rewarded for bundling their auto insurance and having a multi-car policy. So there’s not exactly an insurance discount available by car insurance providers for being married.
Instead, your marital status is one factor that can impact your rates, and you can get a discount for having a multi-car policy.
When you won’t get lower car insurance rates when married
Because rating factors for marital statuscan vary by insurer and your state, not everyone who gets hitched will see car insurance savings (womp womp).
In fact, if your spouse has a not-so-great driving record and you get a joint policy, you may face even higher car insurance rates. So on top of talking about debt levels, credit scores, and taxes when married, discussing your driving history is a wise idea before opting for a joint policy.
If one person has a stellar driving record and the other one does not, you may want to keep things separate (just like there are financial reasons to file your taxes separately in some cases, such as having income-based student loan repayment). Of course, you can always comparison shop and review an individual versus joint policy to see your prospective rates.
You may need to list your spouse on your policy anyway if you live together, even if you have separate policies. In that case, you may ask for a named-driver exclusion that acknowledges the party in your household but won’t affect your rates. That driver won’t be covered under your policy and shouldn’t drive your vehicle either. However, some states may not offer this option.
Marital status and car insurance
In many instances, if you’re married, you’ll want to check your auto insurance policy to see if you can qualify for a discount on a multi-car policy. It’s important to note though that marriage insurance discounts depend on the following:
- The car insurance provider
- Each of your driving records
- The state you live in
- The area you live in
To score competitive car insurance rates, be sure to ask your current car insurance provider about any potential discounts after your legal union.
Additionally, compare rates with a joint policy and look at the numbers separately. In theory, if you both have pretty good driving records with no recent infractions, you should see some savings. But it’s always a good idea to see for yourself, so you know what you’re getting and know you’re not missing out.
When it’s not happily ever after
No one gets married imagining a divorce will happen later on. But the likelihood of first-time marriages in the U.S. ending up in divorce is close to 50%, notes the American Psychological Association. As if that isn’t difficult enough, it’s important to be aware that splitting up may also impact your rates.
While marriage may positively impact your car insurance rates, the converse is also true in that divorcing may negatively impact your rates. From Zebra’s analysis, divorced drivers tend to file more claims than married drivers.
The bottom line
Marriage can change many aspects of your life, including your insurance. A common question is if car insurance is cheaper when married.In many cases, yes it is, but not always. That’s why it’s important to do your own research to see if a joint policy would make sense or not. Regardless, your marital status may impact your car insurance rates whether it’s an individual or joint policy. If one or both of you are low-mileage drivers, it might be time to rethink your auto coverage altogether and pay-per-mile insurance might be the solution for you. Why pay for miles you aren’t driving, when you can get insurance based on the miles you actually drive? That way you know you’re not overpaying for coverage. Find out pay-per-mile coverage options through Metromile and get a free quote.
Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.