The ease of paying one insurer and having one car insurance payment is the simple answer.
If you want to keep separate policies, each spouse should contact his or her insurer and notify the company that you’re now married, adding the other spouse to the policy.
If instead you combine policies, you can go with either of the insurers you currently have or shop for a new one. It’s always advisable to shop around and compare car insurance quotes after major life events -- like marriage – since changes like this can alter how an insurer views you. By shopping around you and your spouse may find a new insurer who offers you the lowest rates.
But the best reason for combining policies is the discounts.
Right off the bat, there are cheaper rates just for being married. Married drivers crash less often and file fewer claims.
In some states, auto insurance companies offer same-sex married couples a marriage discount, or a certified civil-union discount.
Several states do not allow marital status as a rating factor.
The marriage discount varies by insurer, but data gathered for Insurance.com by Quadrant Information Services showed an average marriage discount to be about 12 percent nationwide. Some companies may bake the savings into your base rate rather than call it out as a discount on your declarations page.
The discount is continuous as long as you remained married. Not bad for simply saying “I do.”
There are a few other discounts that you may become eligible for if you combine insurance after marriage.
When you place more than one vehicle on a car insurance policy, you qualify for a multi car insurance discount. The discount you can receive is anywhere from 10 to 25 percent off the liability, comprehensive and collision portions of your car insurance policy.
A multi-policy discount is offered when you buy two or more types of insurance policies with the same insurance company (or, in some cases, use an insurer for a second policy type that your car insurance company has partnered with). Some refer to this as bundling your policies, and most commonly seen with home and auto insurance.
So, if you place your renters or homeowners insurance and car insurance with the same company, you should receive a multi-policy discount, which generally is applied to both policies. The discount varies but tends to be around 10 to 20 percent.
Also, if you just buy a home soon after getting married, let your car insurance company know. Even if you don’t buy your homeowners insurance from the same company, you should get a discount of as much as 5 percent simply because homeowners tend to file fewer claims.
Take a look at your spouse. If both of you have excellent driving records and credit scores, you’ll help each other get better rates.
However, if you have an excellent driving record but your spouse does not, then your rates may rise even with the marriage discount applied.
If your spouse has bad credit, a bad driving record or multiple claims, then you can expect your rates to increase. Your partner’s status as a high-risk driver will jack up your rates – but only until the issues are corrected. High-risk auto insurance is more expensive than standard or preferred insurance rates.
If your spouse can raise his credit score and have any violations and claims drop off his record (which they will in time), then your rates will be lowered. When any item that is raising the rates improves, it’s a great time to compare car insurance rates. You’ll be on the lookout for the car insurance company that is offering the best rates for your new set of risk factors.
Is there ever a time to not combine policies?
While combined car insurance policies typically save married couples money, there are times to keep separate policies.
One situation is if your spouse has an expensive or collector car that needs a special policy. In that case, let your spouse keep the specialty policy and just add each other to the separate policies. You should still receive a discount for being married on each policy.
Another is if your spouse has a serious violation, such as a DUI, that will really jack up your rates. In this situation, you may think about keeping a separate policy and excluding him or her from your policy (if your state allows this; not all do). If you exclude your spouse, he or she will not be covered by your insurance policy. In return for not covering your spouse, the insurer won’t rate him or her on your policy, which will save you money.