Your marital status can have a significant impact on your car insurance rates. Insurance companies often charge higher premiums for single drivers compared to married ones. However, there are some exceptions and variables to consider. This article will explain how marital status affects car insurance and provide tips for getting the best rates.
How Marital Status Affects Car Insurance Rates
In general, married drivers pay less for car insurance than single drivers. According to industry research, married drivers save about 9% on car insurance premiums compared to single drivers.
Here’s an overview of how marital status impacts car insurance rates:
Married drivers pay less: Married drivers tend to get lower insurance rates than single, divorced, or widowed drivers. Insurance companies consider married drivers lower risk.
Single drivers pay more: Unmarried drivers generally pay higher premiums than married drivers. This includes people who have never been married.
Divorced drivers are high risk: People who are divorced or separated often have higher car insurance rates. Some companies wait 1-3 years after the divorce before considering drivers lower risk.
Widows and widowers pay more: Recently widowed drivers tend to have higher premiums initially. Over time, their rates may decrease if they maintain a clean driving record.
The reason for these rate differences largely comes down to risk assessment. Insurance companies believe married drivers are lower risk than single drivers, based on industry data and statistics. Let’s look at why they make this assumption.
Why Married Drivers Are Considered Lower Risk
Insurance companies have actuarial data showing married drivers get into fewer accidents and file fewer claims than unmarried drivers. Here are some of the reasons insurance providers consider married drivers lower risk:
Married People Drive Less
- Married couples often share one car, so they tend to drive fewer miles per person. Less time on the road means lower accident risk.
More Responsible Behavior
- Married drivers tend to exhibit more responsible driving behaviors. Having a spouse and family motivates safer driving habits.
Lower Rates of Alcohol Abuse
- Unmarried drivers, especially young single males, have higher rates of DUIs and alcohol-related accidents. Married people tend to drink less and drive more cautiously.
Less Financial Risk
- Insurance providers know married customers are less likely to lapse on payments or drop coverage, given their financial stability.
Older Drivers Are Lower Risk
- Married drivers tend to be older than single drivers. Young, single men have very high accident rates.
Based on this data, insurers apply algorithms that give married applicants better risk scores. This results in lower rates for married customers compared to single applicants with similar driving records.
When Marital Status Doesn’t Affect Premiums
While marriage usually lowers car insurance costs, there are some cases where it doesn’t:
Newly married couples: Some insurers won’t give rate discounts to newlyweds right away. You may need to be married 1+ years to get the married rate.
High-risk drivers: For drivers with accidents or violations, marital status has less impact. Their premiums are high regardless of marital status.
Teen drivers: Teen rates are sky-high for everyone. Being single vs. married doesn’t affect teen premiums much.
Bundling policies: Married couples who bundle car and home insurance can save more than unmarried customers. The bundling discount is often larger than the marriage discount.
State laws: A few states prohibit using marital status to determine car insurance rates. In these areas, being single or married has no effect.
The biggest marital status discounts apply to married couples over 25 who bundle insurance policies. Low-risk married couples who combine their car and home insurance can save hundreds per year compared to single customers.
Tips to Save on Car Insurance for Single Drivers
If you’re unmarried, don’t despair. Here are some tips to get affordable car insurance rates:
Ask about discounts: Inquire about discounts for safety features, good student status, loyalty programs, and pay-in-full policies.
Take defensive driver courses: Completing a defensive driving class can earn you a discount of up to 10% for 3 years.
Drop unnecessary coverage: Consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage on older cars worth less than $3,000.
Increase deductibles: Opting for higher deductibles like $500 or $1,000 can substantially lower premium costs.
Compare many quotes: Get quotes from at least 5-10 different insurers to find the best rate for your situation. Rates can vary dramatically between companies.
Improve your credit: Insurance companies favor customers with excellent credit scores. Pay bills on time and lower your debt to boost your credit rating.
Consider usage-based programs: Usage-based or pay-per-mile programs can save single drivers money by charging based on actual mileage.
How Marriage Can Lower Car Insurance Costs
Getting married is about more than just love – it could save you money on your car insurance policy. Here are some of the ways tying the knot can reduce your auto insurance premiums:
Bundle Home and Auto Insurance
Most insurance carriers offer discounts of 5-15% or more when you bundle multiple policies, such as home and auto insurance. The amount of savings often exceeds any discounts for being married.
Compare Rates as a Couple
Even without bundling, insuring two vehicles on one policy is usually cheaper than two separate single policies. Be sure to compare rates both ways.
Change Policies Promptly
Update your marital status with your insurer as soon as possible after getting married. Don’t wait until your policy is up for renewal. Doing so promptly can maximize your savings.
Improve Risk Profile
In addition to your marriage certificate, having joint bank accounts, mortgage, and other shared assets may further improve your risk profile with insurers.
Combine Usage for Discounts
If you and your spouse drive less than 15,000 miles combined per year, you may qualify for low mileage discounts.
Take Advantage of Group Insurance
See if you can get an insurance discount through a group plan at either spouse’s employer, professional organization, or alumni association.
Maintain Good Credit
As a married couple, keeping your credit in excellent shape can help you score the highest discounts. Monitoring your credit reports and scores should be part of your financial regimen.
With the right insurance strategy, just saying “I do” can save you hundreds of dollars per year on auto insurance costs. Be sure to shop around and compare rates regularly to maximize your marital status discount.
How Divorce Can Increase Car Insurance Rates
While marriage often lowers car insurance premiums, divorce has the opposite effect. Here’s an overview of how your rates are impacted when you get divorced:
Rates increase after divorce – Once divorced, insurers will remove discounts for marriage. This causes rates to rise rapidly.
Higher rates last 1-5 years – How long insurers penalize you depends on the company. Some raise rates for only a year while others wait 3-5 years before dropping premiums.
Shopping around is key – After a divorce, compare quotes from multiple insurers immediately. Look for the best rate you can find.
Consider policy changes – Think about raising your deductible or dropping extra coverage to help offset rate increases after a divorce.
Improve risk factors – Take defensive driver courses, maintain good credit, reduce mileage, and bundle policies to improve risk profile.
Check state laws – A handful of states ban using marital status to set rates. If you live in one, your rates won’t change.
Read insurers carefully – How insurers define “divorced” and “separated” can impact your rates. Understand how your company assesses divorces.
Going through a divorce is difficult enough without having to pay higher car insurance premiums too. Following the tips above can help you find the most affordable coverage until your rates eventually drop down to normal levels after your divorce.
How Losing a Spouse Affects Car Insurance
Losing a spouse is an extremely difficult life event. Unfortunately, you also have to deal with increased car insurance costs:
Rates rise after death of a spouse – Insurance companies remove marital discounts once they learn a spouse has passed away. This results in higher premiums.
Duration varies by insurer – Some companies only increase rates for 6-12 months after a death. Others wait 1-3 years before lowering premiums.
Compare quotes immediately – After losing a spouse, start comparing rates from various insurers right away. Look for the most affordable premium.
Consider removing name – Take your deceased spouse’s name off the policy if it’s still listed. This change can help prompt your insurer to re-evaluate your rates.
Change policies or coverage – To offset a rate increase
2017 How Marriage effects on Car Insurance Prices – Why Being Married Can Lower Your Car Insurance P
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