A joint car insurance policy, or couples policy, means having both drivers’ cars included on the same policy. Combining policies is usually cheaper than getting two separate ones for each car, but that’s not always the case.
A couple’s car insurance policy, in the form of one policy with two insured cars, is often a cheaper way to get coverage than separate policies because of multivehicle discounts and a potential marriage discount. Combining policies for each driver’s car into one policy brings savings of up to 25% in most cases.
Insurers typically consider married people to pose less risk, so premiums go down — provided both drivers are considered low risk to insure. Compare the costs of both a combined policy and separate policies from a few insurers to determine which is best for you.
How much can couples save by combining car insurance?
On average, you could save around $336 or 10% a year on car insurance compared to single drivers. But you’ll save more or less depending on your age and gender, with young drivers saving the most. And not every driver will save this much, depending on both your and your spouse’s driving record.
Average annual car insurance savings for getting married
Get couples car insurance rates
When not to combine policies and keep policies separate
It’s relatively unusual for separate policies to be preferable, but it’s still a possibility. Generally, if one driver presents a higher risk, it may be less expensive to go with separate policies. Risk is determined by reviewing several different factors.
Tickets, citations, DUI, DWI and other marks of a bad driving record can cause a hike in insurance costs. A driver with a DUI might only be able to find insurance with a provider that specializes in insuring high-risk drivers, which almost always comes with higher premiums.
An expensive car often comes with more risk in the eyes of insurance companies. A joint policy may not have enough discounts to outweigh the premium bump that comes with adding your spouse if they’re sporting a luxury model.
Poor credit can also be an indicator of risk to insurers and may lead to higher premiums. But couples in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts don’t have to worry about this factor — insurance companies aren’t allowed to evaluate credit scores when assessing risk in these states.
Ask your partner these 5 questions about their driving record
Before you combine your car insurance policies, consider finding out a little more about your partner’s driving background by asking your partner these questions and sharing your own answers:
Have you been involved in any accidents?
Have you gotten any tickets?
Have you made any insurance claims?
Have you gotten a DUI?
What’s your credit score?
Not every couple will need to ask these questions, especially if you both have relatively clean records. It may also help to write down your answers separately and then share them to minimize feelings of embarrassment or judgment on either side.
Must read: Nominated drivers vs. multicar policies
Be aware that listing a driver on your policy is different from combining policies. If your partner regularly drives your car, or vice versa, they must be listed as a driver on your policy.
If you exclude your significant other from your policy and they do drive your car and get into an accident, your policy might not cover the damages.
How to combine car insurance
If you have different insurers, and aren’t sure which company to keep — shop for new car insurance quotes that cover you both. Compare your options to see which company offers the coverage you both need, at the best price.
If you want to go with one of your existing car insurance companies, give your car insurance representative a call to discuss coverage options and potential savings on combining you car insurance.
How can couples save more on car insurance?
No matter where you are in life, there are ways to save on car insurance. You may find these ways particularly useful if you’re newlyweds or just moved in together.
Evaluate your coverage
Make sure that you’re only keeping coverage that you need. If your car is a few years old now, it may be time to drop the new car replacement. Or if your spouse has a AAA membership, it may be worth ditching roadside assistance.
Look for discounts
Getting married can also mean looking into other types of coverage, like life or home insurance. Many insurance companies will give you a discount when you bundle and take out auto and home or life policies together. In some cases you may even get a single deductible for a covered event when you need to claim both home and car insurance.
Shop around and compare quotes
It can pay to swap insurers every few years. And moving to a new city or getting married is a great time to compare quotes from other insurance companies. You could end up saving hundreds.
Can I get a couples policy if we’re not married?
Many insurance providers will allow a couple living together under the same roof to combine their insurance policies. But this isn’t always the case, so shop around to find an insurer that will combine your policies as a single household.
If you can’t find a provider that will merge your policies, you could consider transferring ownership of both cars into one person’s name. Then that person could take out a policy that covers both cars, which will qualify for a multivehicle policy discount.
Keep in mind, however, you must list your partner on the policy for your car if they’ll be driving it regularly.
Can I get a combined policy for a same-sex couple?
Yes, any married couple can have a multi-vehicle policy with the same benefits.
You’ll also enjoy lower rates just for being married. Companies like Allstate, Geico and State Farm offered the same married discount to same-sex couples even before the marriage equality bill was passed.
If you’re in a civil union or domestic partnership, your discount depends on the provider and state. States like Florida, Massachusetts and North Carolina don’t offer the married discount for these partnership types or common law marriages.
Case study: Newlyweds consider combining their policy
This newly married couple is combining their car insurance policies. Jen is a 26-year-old woman with a clean driving record and no previous claims. Her husband, Mike, is a 25-year-old man with a history of traffic violations who drives an expensive luxury car.
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 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.
More likely than not, you’ll save money when combining your car insurance policy with your partner’s. But be aware that a significant other with a poor driving record, poor credit or an expensive car could cause your premiums to rise when combining policies.
Frequently asked questions about combined car insurance
It depends. If your spouse will be driving your car regularly, then yes, they must be listed as a driver.
Yes! You are not limited to just the one discount.
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.
Credit score drops after a divorce can happen as well, which could raise your car insurance premiums. There’s not much you can do to prevent this, but being aware of this side effect could help explain higher premiums after the divorce is finalized.
Roslyn McKenna is an insurance expert who's driven to help people get a great deal on insurance to protect their families and finances. Roslyn earned a BA in writing and communications from Maryville College and has written professionally for more than a decade, showing up on Bankrate, MSN and Reader's Digest.
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