Do I really need to put my spouse on my car insurance?

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Do I really need to put my spouse on my car insurance?

So you’ve taken the plunge and gotten married. Congratulations! Maybe you’re opening joint accounts or signing a mortgage together. Or maybe you’ve chosen to keep your finances separate. Either way, keep in mind there are some ways in which your financial lives are now inextricably linked, and that includes your car insurance coverage.

Do I need to put my spouse on my car insurance?

Yep. Your spouse is going to have to be added to your car insurance policy, whether they drive the vehicle or not. That may seem like no big deal, and for many folks it isn’t, but if your spouse has a less-than-stellar credit score or driving record, could result in an increase in your premiums?

Yep again. Those three speeding tickets your new husband got over the last few years are probably going to make your premiums go up. Same goes for that credit card he let go to collections back in college (we’re talking insurance rates, here. Unless you happened to co-sign for that credit card, it won’t appear on your credit report). Why in the world would you have to pay for his mistakes?

We talked with Loretta Worters with the Insurance Information Institute to get the lowdown on why you have to include your spouse on your automobile insurance policy.

Same household, same car insurance

“If your spouse drives, you must have them on your policy,” Worters explained. It’s usually as simple as that, really.

“If your spouse has bad credit or a bad driving record, it will affect your insurance rate,” Worters explained. “As long as your spouse lives in the same household and is associated with you, you will continue to pay higher rates. If you are separated and no longer in the house, you can take them off your policy.”

However, as with most rules, there’s a catch.

The exception to the rule

It is possible for you to list your spouse as an excluded driver on your insurance policy and avoid any premium bump. You’ll have to ask your insurer if that’s possible. Some will say OK; others will not. If they do, your spouse’s credit and driving record won’t be considered in determining your premiums.

But – and this is a big but – if they ever do drive your car and are in an accident, chances are your insurance company will refuse to cover the claim. So if there’s any possibility at all your spouse will ever be behind the wheel of your car, it’s probably wise to buck up and pay the higher premiums. Chances are, that’s cheaper than paying for the damages and possible injuries caused by an accident.

Choosing your best option

Choosing the right insurance coverage isn’t always a simple task, particularly when you get thrown a curveball like your spouse’s past offenses increasing your premiums. That’s why it’s always a good bet to compare insurance coverages. PolicyGenius can actually help you compare car insurance quotes across carriers here.

Also keep in mind that, while your premiums may go up, they could potentially be offset through a multi-car discount if you insure both of your vehicles with the same company. Add your homeowners or renters insurance to the bundle and you’ll see even more savings.

Bundling your policies together comes with other benefits as well. One, you don’t have to track multiple policies with different carriers and remember all of those renewal dates and payments (if you don’t have automatic payments set up). Two, your insurance agent can more easily see any gaps in coverage that you may have if all of your risks are insured with them.

And finally, you’ll likely be more valuable to your insurer. That means that, in the event of multiple claims, your bundled policies could keep your insurance company from determining you as too big a risk and dropping you altogether.

You can learn more about bundling insurance policies in general with our primer on when and when not to bundle.

See? It really can be happily ever after, with your insurer as well as your new spouse.

Image: g-stockstudio