UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Getting divorced can have a significant impact on several aspects of your life – including everything from finances to insurance. How does getting divorced impact car insurance prices? Should you update your car insurance policy after a divorce? Can a divorce help you save money on car insurance? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how divorce can affect car insurance.
How to Handle Car Insurance During a Divorce
Insurance can actually play an important role in a divorce. Getting your insurance sorted out during a divorce can be a process involving you, your ex-partner, and even your attorneys. Insurance coverage, in some cases, can be part of a divorce settlement.
Fortunately, getting auto insurance sorted out can be less dramatic and problematic than say, health insurance.
The first step is to notify your current car insurance provider of your divorce. You will want to notify your car insurance provider of any changes in car ownership or designated driver status.
If you and your spouse previously shared a vehicle, for example, then you may both be listed as designated drivers under that vehicle’s insurance policy.
Or, if your spouse is taking one vehicle and you are taking another vehicle, then you may need separate insurance policies for each vehicle instead of a bundled insurance policy for both.
Removing an ex-spouse from your insurance policy is an important step. It ensures you aren’t held liable for any future insurance claims your ex-spouse may incur. If you fail to remove your spouse from your policy and your spouse gets in an accident, then it may affect your insurance coverage moving forward.
You will also need to figure out how to insure any teen drivers in your household. If you have children with your ex-spouse, then those children will need insurance coverage when driving. Generally, teen drivers will be listed under the custodial parent’s policy.
Finally, if your spouse is still paying for your car insurance post-divorce, then make sure the carrier can contact you in the event of a missed payment. If your spouse fails to make payments on the car insurance policy, then it could cause your car insurance to lapse, which could expose you to serious financial and legal problems in the future. If your spouse stops paying for car insurance payments, then make sure your car insurance company will alert you so you can take action.
You Cannot Remove a Spouse Without Consent from the Spouse
Another important thing to note about car insurance is that you cannot remove your spouse without your spouse’s consent – and the same rule applies to your spouse. Removing your ex-spouse from an insurance policy without his or her consent is not allowed
In cases of a non-amicable separation, one spouse may maliciously try to remove the other spouse from the insurance policy. One spouse may be attempting to deliberately cause a lapse in coverage, for example, or expose the other spouse to legal and financial difficulties. In reality, however, the insurance company will not allow one spouse to remove the other spouse from the policy without permission.
Car Insurance Liability is Still Shared When Living at the Same Address
Generally, you will not want to start the process of separating car insurance policies until you and your spouse are living at separate addresses. Separate addresses are generally the start of separating liability.
If you and your spouse are continuing to live at the same address, then liability will still be shared, which means you will still be under the same car insurance policy. Generally, it’s recommended that you obtain separate living arrangements before separating your car insurance policies.
You Need Separate Vehicle Titles for Separate Insurance Policies
Most insurance companies also require the person insuring a vehicle to be listed on the title of that vehicle. If the co-owner of the vehicle is not living in the same household, then that person needs to be listed as an additional insured person.
To keep things simple, each individual should be driving a vehicle solely titled to them after a divorce. There are some insurance companies who will ignore titling requirements. However, most major insurance companies require the insured individual to be listed on the title of that vehicle. For these reasons, it may be in the best interests of you and your former spouse to have separate vehicles with separate titles.
How Will Premiums Change When Single Versus Married?
Typically, a single driver will pay less than a married driver. When getting a divorce, your insurance premiums will change in a number of different ways. Some of the things that could change in a divorce include:
- If your ex-spouse had a bad driving and is being removed from your policy, then your insurance rates should decrease because there’s less risk of making a claim
- If your ex-spouse had a bad driving history, a DUI, or an at-fault incident and is being removed from your claim, then your insurance rates should rise
- You might lose a multi-vehicle bundling discount if buying an individual car insurance policy instead of a bundled policy
- Married couples are statistically less risky to insure than single drivers; they get in fewer accidents and are less likely to make a claim, which means you might pay higher rates after a divorce
- If you are insuring one car instead of two, then your premiums should increase
Overall, the difference in premiums between married and divorced drivers is generally quite small – especially if you have a long and established insured history as a clean driver.
Car insurance might be the last thing on your mind during a divorce. However, it’s important to contact your car insurance company and inform the company of any changes as you go through the divorce process.