Is car insurance cheaper when you're married?

In most states you'll get cheaper auto insurance rates just for being married. Married drivers crash less often and file fewer claims.

However, several states do not allow marital status as a rating factor, so just being married won't affect your rates in those states.

The marriage discount varies by insurer, but data gathered for by Quadrant Information Services showed an average marriage discount to be about 12% 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.

Average marriage discounts by state

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% 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; the home and auto insurance bundle is the biggest and most common.

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%.

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% simply because homeowners tend to file fewer claims.

Can my spouse hurt my car insurance rates?

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 their credit score and have any violations and claims drop off their 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.

Should you combine car insurance policies after marriage?

In most cases, it makes sense to combine your insurance policies after you get married. The ease of paying one insurer and having one car insurance payment alone makes it worthwhile.

It’s always better 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.

While combined car insurance policies typically save married couples money, there are times to keep separate policies, as with the example above of one partner with a poor driving record. However, the many discounts for bundling may mean lower rates overall, even with a poor record. As you combine your finances, look at the overall savings by combining and not just your previous, separate rates, to decide which approach will save you the most.