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Insuring a Spouse with a Spotty Driving Record

By Insurance.com Posted : 03/01/2007

You'll probably pay more for auto insurance if your spouse has a poor driving record, although you should compare car insurance quotes to see if you can mitigate the effect. However, in your drive to hold down your costs, consider the advice of Ohio auto insurance agent Brad Vermilion and other industry experts.


"Even if one of you has a bad driving record," says Vermilion, "usually it's better to have both of you on the same policy. Generally speaking, you'll pay less for having the two of you on the same policy, than you would if the coverages were written separately.

Vermilion's message resonates with Insurance Information Institute vice president Carolyn Gorman. Gorman points out that "you can assume that because of your good driving record, you're going to still pay less for auto insurance if you have your spouse on your policy than you would if you bought separate policies for each of you."

Don Griffin, Dave Snyder and Carolyn Gorman are among the insurance industry officials that agree that having a poor driver on your policy will impact your auto insurance premium. "No doubt about that!" exclaims Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, in Des Plaines, Ill. On the other hand, Griffin says you could help keep down your insurance costs by having your car insurance company list your spouse as an additional driver on your policy.

Griffin points out that "If your spouse is someone your insurer would be reluctant to cover because of driving record, you and your spouse could be (asked) to sign a legal document that states there would be no coverage for any incident arising out of your spouse's operation of your vehicle."

Keep in mind that in California and certain other states permit what Griffin described as 'driver exclusions`. "Under those circumstances, the insurance company can keep your spouse off your policy." Griffin warned.

It's a good bet you'll pay more for coverage whether you list your spouse as a principal driver or occasional driver on your policy, but here's an idea you can live with, compliments of Dave Snyder, vice president and assistant general counsel, of the American Insurance Association, in Washington, D.C. Snyder recommends that you have long talks with your spouse about developing safer driving habits.

"You'll want your spouse to be fully cognizant of the possible ramifications of poor driving habits," points out Snyder. "Talk to your spouse about the possibility of a catastrophic occurrence. Tell your spouse that the results of bad driving aren't simply measured in terms of higher insurance premiums, but also in terms of possible family devastation caused by a serious accident."

"The insurance company is basically insuring the couple's car, and we'll assume that you and your spouse will drive that car," explains Carolyn Gorman, vice president and regional manager of the Washington, D.C. office of the Insurance Information Institute (III). "That means that the risk is greater because of your spouse having a less than stellar driving record, and the company will want to charge a higher premium to cover that risk."

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