Looking for combined car insurance with your partner? Find out when a joint car insurance policy will cost you less or more.
A joint car insurance policy, or a couple’s policy, essentially just means having one car insurance policy for two people. You don’t have to be married, or even a couple, to take advantage of a couple’s policy.
This is usually cheaper than getting two separate policies, but it’s not always preferable. Sometimes, it might cost you more to cover two people on the same policy. This guide explains when a joint policy is the way to go, and when you might want to avoid it.
Car insurance providers ideal for couples
When to get a joint policy and when to go separate
A couple’s car insurance policy, in the form of one policy with two listed drivers, is often a cheaper way to get cover for two because you’re only getting one policy. Insurers typically consider married people or couples to pose less risk, so premiums go down. However, the right option depends on the insurer, the policy and each driver’s driving history.
If both drivers are considered low risk to insure, including being over 25 and having a great driving record, both will save even more on insurance premiums by combining policies. But if one driver poses has been in accidents, made more claims or gotten a DUI, you can expect costs to go up.
Generally, if one driver presents a higher risk due to factors such as a driving suspension, it may be more suitable to go with separate policies. The cost of a joint car insurance policy is somewhere between both of your individual costs. When an expensive driver lists a cheaper one, their premiums might go down. When a cheap driver lists an expensive one, then the costs will tend to increase.
The cost of car insurance is based on the following factors:
- Age. Under 25s are considerably more expensive to insure.
- Gender. Women tend to enjoy lower average premiums than men.
- Driving experience. A longer driving history with a full license means lower premiums.
- Driving record. You can expect previous driving offenses or traffic violations to raise premiums.
- Claims history. The more car insurance claims you’ve made previously, the higher the premiums.
Newlyweds consider combining their policy
This newly married couple is combining their car insurance policies. Jen is a 26-year-old woman with a full license, clean driving record and no previous claims. Her husband, Mike, is a 25-year-old man a history of traffic violations. Jen’s 2015 Honda Civic is in good shape, while Mike drives an older Jeep Cherokee that’s less than pristine.
After getting quotes from a few providers, Jen and Mike decide it would be cheaper to get two separate policies instead of a joint one. Jen will see her costs skyrocket by listing a high-risk driver like Mike on her policy.
Jen finds she can get a high-level comprehensive policy for a good deal while Mike could get a cheaper, separate policy from an insurer that specializes in covering high-risk drivers. They decide to re-evaluate in a year or two after some of Mike’s tickets expire from his record.
Is a combined or separate policy right for us?
It’s relatively unusual for separate policies to be preferable, and the extra cost of two policies generally outweighs the savings. If you do opt for two policies, it can be worth looking for a multi-car discount, which is available if you get multiple policies from the same insurer.
To discover if it’s worth considering, you might want to get individual quotes from a few insurers and see how different their quoted prices are depending on who’s asking. Even if the difference isn’t stark enough to warrant separate policies, this can also be a good indicator of whose name to put on the policy as the main driver.
If your partner isn’t listed as a driver on your policy, avoid letting them drive your car. If you exclude your significant other from your policy and he or she does drive your car and get in an accident, your policy coverage wouldn’t cover the damages.
Questions to ask your partner about their driving record
Before you consider joining your car insurance policies, you can find out how much more or less you could expect to pay together. Consider finding out a little more about your partner’s driving background by asking your partner these questions.
- Have you been involved in any accidents?
- Have you gotten any tickets?
- Have you made any insurance claims?
- What’s your credit score?
Not every couple will need to ask these questions, especially if you both have relatively clean records. If you’re concerned about keeping this discussion neutral, you could write down your answers separately and then share to prevent feelings of judgment or criticism on either side.
What happens after a divorce?
While you’ll save on a combined policy after getting married, the opposite is also sometimes true. You might lose the “married discount” benefit after a divorce by no longer combining policies. There’s not much you can do to help this, but being aware of this side effect could help explain higher premiums after the divorce is finalized.
How to save with a shared car insurance policy
To keep costs down with multiple drivers on one policy, it’s generally preferable that the cheapest person to insure takes out the policy, and then adds the more expensive person to it later. The above factors all play a part, but some will outweigh the others. Prioritise the following factors which will make the most difference:
- Age and license status. If only one person is under 25, you’ll generally want to take out the policy in the name of the older individual. The same goes for a full license versus learner’s permit.
- Claims history. The no-claims bonus passes between insurers when you switch providers and can make an enormous difference. If only one person has a full no-claims bonus, you might want to maintain it by signing up in their name.
- Driving record. Depending on the insurer, previously suspended licenses and driving violations can significantly impact your premiums, especially if you’re considered a high-risk driver.
- Marriage status. Married drivers tend to get lower rates than single drivers, as most insurers will assess married people to be of lower risk overall. Depending on how much you’ll save by merging policies, or by simply telling your separate providers that you’re married, this factor might help you in your decision.
These are just some of the factors impacting the cost of car insurance. Others will also apply based on the drivers as well as the car. Learning more about these can go a long way to lowering the cost of car insurance.