Save on car insurance with a combined couples policy.
A joint car insurance policy, or a couples policy, means having both drivers’ cars included on the same policy. Combining policies is usually cheaper than getting two separate policies for each car, but sometimes it might cost you more to cover two cars on the same policy. And in most cases you don’t have to be married or even a couple to take advantage of these savings. Compare car insurance rates for couples vs singles policies.
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When to combine policies into a couple’s policy
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 multi-vehicle discounts and the married discount. Combining policies for each driver’s car into one policy brings savings of up to 25% in most cases.
Also, insurers typically consider married people to pose less of risk, so premiums go down — provided both drivers are considered low risk to insure, including being over 25 and having a good driving record and good credit.
To discover if it’s worth combining policies, get individual quotes for each car/driver, and a quote for a combined policy. Compare the costs of both a combined policy and separate policies from a few insurers to determine which is best for you.
When not to combine policies and keep policies separate
It’s relatively unusual for separate policies to be preferable, but there are some instances when it would be the wise choice. Generally, if one driver presents a higher risk due to factors such as DUI, poor credit or an expensive car, it may be more suitable to go with separate policies.
For example, 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. The same goes for a driver with a pricey car or poor credit, factors that will also raise premiums. If this is the case, there’s no need for your partner or spouse to pay a higher premium as well if he or she can find less expensive insurance with a traditional insurer.
Reasons not to combine policies include:
- Poor driving record
- Poor credit
- Expensive car
Must read: Nominated drivers vs bundling 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, he or she must be listed as a driver on your policy. If you exclude your significant other from your policy and he or she does drive your car and gets into an accident, your policy might not cover the damages.
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 multi-vehicle policy discount.
Keep in mind, however, you must list your partner on the policy for your car if her or she will be driving your car regularly.
Can I get a combined policy for a same-sex couple?
You’ll also enjoy lower rates just for being married. Companies like Allstate, Esurance, 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 those types of partnerships. The same goes for common law marriages, which aren’t typically recognized from an insurance standpoint, so you won’t get the same benefit.
Questions to ask your partner 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:
- Have you been involved in any accidents?
- Have you gotten any tickets?
- Have you made any insurance claims?
- What’s your credit score?
- Have you gotten a DUI?
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.
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.
What happens to a combined policy 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. 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.
More likely than not, you’ll save money when combing 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.