With getting married comes a whole bunch of paperwork. If you thought planning your wedding was tough, just wait until the clerical work afterward! Bank account updating, changing IDs and licenses, adding dependents to health insurance, and name changes are all part of the process. Another thing you need to think about, as you might expect, is adding your spouse to your auto insurance policy.
Almost every insurer requires that each licensed member in your household is listed on your auto insurance policy. Husband and wife are more than likely to drive each other’s cars from time to time, so insurance companies need to accurately asses the risk each person poses in order to price the premiums accordingly.
In fact, if you do not add your spouse to your insurance policy, and he or she gets into an accident while driving your car, you might have your claim denied on grounds of misrepresentation. (Misrepresentation is the act of not disclosing all relevant information to your insurer, thus not giving them the chance to accurately price your rates and assess your risk.)
How To Add Your Spouse
When you add your spouse to your auto insurance policy, you can add him or her as either the co-owner of the policy or as a listed driver on the policy. If you add your spouse as a co-owner, he or she has all the same control over the policy that you do. They will be able to make payments, file claims, add coverage, remove coverage, change limits, and all the other fun stuff you can do with an insurance policy. In addition, if you ever need repairs done to your vehicle, your spouse will be able to take the car into the shop and get it repaired his or herself, as the insurance company’s payment will be issued to both owners listed on the policy.
Listed drivers on your policy have much less control over the policy. They are listed usually only so that the insurance company will know which drivers in your household will be driving your car (for reasons mentioned above). They cannot add or remove coverage nor can they change limits. In the event of a claim, the insurance company will not be able to issue payments for repairs in their name either.
Benefits Of Adding Your Spouse
Insurance companies often times give discounts to married couples. They view married people as more stable, reliable, and safer drivers than their single counterparts. In fact, married people statically get into fewer accidents than people who aren’t married. Because of this, their algorithms have determined that couples in wedlock are more deserving of a lower premium.
Insurance companies also find it beneficial when you buy more coverage from them. The more policies you add under your name, the better. Adding your spouse to your policy is a great way to stack-on the coverage and take advantage of these discounts. By doing so, you will earn a multi-car discount and maybe even a multi-line discount (if you decide to use the same insurance company for say, your life or homeowners insurance).
Danger Of Adding Your Spouse
You will always want to list your spouse as a driver on your auto insurance policy, but sometimes you might not want to combine policies with your spouse. If either one of you has a poor driving record, for example, you might want to keep your policies separate. The reason for this is that the high risk driver, or the one with the bad driving history, might end up raising the rates for both drivers. You might find that keeping your policies separate will reduce your overall cost.
Another situation in which separate policies may be the smarter option is if your car is much more expensive than your spouse’s (or the other way around). If you pay $350/month to insure your Maserati, for example, you don’t want to combine your policy with your spouse who pays just $75/month to insure her Honda Civic. It just doesn’t make sense!
Make The Right Call
If you recently tied the knot and would like to find out the best option for you and your new spouse, the best thing to do is to call up your insurance agent to see what both a combined and separate policy would cost. You can ask if it’s smart to add your spouse as a driver on your policy or if it’s better to combine both policies into a joint policy. If you find the rates to be more than you expected, you can always compare auto insurance quotes from different companies and consider switching to a new, cheaper policy!