Who Pays More for Car Insurance: Married vs. Single
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According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, drivers paid an average premium per insured vehicle of $1,204 in 2019. Of all the factors that go into determining your rates, how does your relationship status impact your premiums? Do married couples pay higher auto insurance rates than single drivers or vice versa?
In this guide, we’ll answer this question and how, when it comes to car insurance, married vs. single drivers may have the edge. We’ll also look into the effect of married couples enrolling in separate auto policies and how insurers calculate the cost of premiums.
If your relationship status is changing, it may be a good time to find your next auto insurance policy. Enter your ZIP code below to get real-time quotes from dozens of reputable providers.
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Who Pays More for Car Insurance? Married vs. Single
Generally, married couples pay less in auto insurance premiums than single drivers — roughly 5-15% less.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Age: According to the Population Reference Bureau, a U.S. Census Bureau data advisor, the median age at first marriage for women is 28.0 years versus 29.9 for men (2015-2019). Auto insurance premiums are highest for those under age 25, with rates slowly tapering off as you hit your 30s, 40s, and 50s, so the average married couple fits the bill.
- Safer Vehicles: Married people tend to drive safer vehicles — like minivans and SUVs — than younger drivers.
- Shared Driving Responsibilities: Although much speculation exists on whether married couples are better drivers, shared responsibility between both helps rates, especially if one has a worse driving record than the other.
- Multi-car discounts: Many married couples have more than one vehicle. Many auto insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who have multiple cars on the same policy.
Can a Married Couple Enroll in Separate Auto Insurance Policies?
In short, yes.
Two separate insurance policies for married couples are advantageous when one has a poor driving record. One spouse’s poor driving record will supersede the other spouse’s good driving record, so you may save money by having individual policies.
Each spouse can also customize their policy based on their needs. For example, a spouse with liability-only coverage driving a 19-year-old Honda will pay much less than the spouse with a full coverage policy driving a 2-year-old Tesla Model X.
Do All States Allow Insurers to Determine Rates Based on Marital Status?
Only three states do not allow insurers to determine rates based on marital status — Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Michigan.
What Other Factors Help Determine Rates?
Apart from gender and marital status, auto insurers consider the following when determining the cost of premiums.
- Age: Generally, younger drivers pay much more for auto insurance than older drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teen drivers are four times more likely to experience a car crash than drivers aged 20 or older.
- Driving History: Expect rate hikes when one or more traffic tickets, DUIs, or reckless driving incidents appear on your record.
- Type of Vehicle: According to AAA, the average cost for a full coverage policy in 2021 for a medium-sized sedan is $1,403 versus $1,296 for a medium-sized SUV. Rates vary by make, model, and model year based on the cost of parts, labor, and specialized expertise required of auto mechanics to repair vehicles.
- Location: Auto insurers assess rates by state and by ZIP code. Therefore, no-fault states requiring personal injury protection (PIP) or with a higher-than-average rate of uninsured/underinsured motorists should expect higher rates.
For example, per the IIHS, Louisiana has the nation’s highest average annual expenditure for full coverage ($1,557.22). Conversely, Vermont has the lowest average yearly cost for full coverage ($785.37). Reasons for Louisiana’s high average include a higher-than-average percentage of uninsured drivers, vehicle theft rate, highway density, and volume of auto-related lawsuits.
How Do I Add My Spouse to My Car Insurance Policy?
It’s simple. When you get married, call your insurer and add your spouse as a new driver on your policy. Your insurance company may ask for an official, notarized marriage certification with wedding dates. Another form of documentation might be a social security card reflecting a name change. It’s a good idea to call your insurer to learn all qualifying criteria and underwriting practices.
6 Ways Singles and Married Couples Can Save on Auto Insurance
Regardless of your relationship status, you can lower your monthly premiums. To save on auto insurance, try the following six tips to get the best rate on car insurance, married or single.
1. Maintain a Clean Driving Record
Single and married drivers can save the most on car insurance by maintaining a clean driving record. Expect cheap car insurance if your record is free of claims and moving violations in the last 3-5 years.
2. Review Your Policy
Another way to save is by opting for state minimum liability coverage. However, some states have radically lower liability limits than others. For example, all Louisiana drivers must carry $15,000 per person, $30,000 for bodily injury liability per accident, and $25,000 for property damage.
With the average new car price in America at $48,043 (KBB), minimum property damage liability will barely cover costs, forcing you to go out of pocket to cover the difference.
Lastly, remember to go over coverage options with a fine-toothed comb. Forgoing less important coverage like rental car reimbursement, roadside assistance, and medical payments may be worthwhile.
3. Bundle Two or More Policies or Vehicles
Purchasing two or more types of insurance (e.g., auto and homeowners) or insuring two or more vehicles from the same insurer can result in savings. For example, an existing auto policyholder purchasing a life insurance plan worth more than $125,000 may see an 8% discount off their auto policy.
Insurance policies that can be bundled include but are not limited to farm, life, motorcycle, and even mobile home insurance. Check with your auto insurance carrier to learn what insurance types they offer.
4. Improve Credit Scores
Some car insurance companies place a high premium (no pun intended) on credit scores that are 680 or higher. If you have subprime credit, work on raising your credit score over time by ensuring no late/missed payments, keeping credit utilization ratios low, increasing credit limits, and checking your credit report regularly for any errors.
5. Apply for Discounts
Today, policyholders can take advantage of many discounts after lowering their risk profile. For example, applying for multi-car discounts, installing anti-theft/electronic stability control (ESC), signing up for autopay, and participating in a telematics program are some of the many ways you can enjoy lower rates.
6. Shop Around for the Best Car Insurance Rates
One of the best things you can do if you’re in the market for affordable auto insurance coverage – whether you’re single or married – is shop around for your next policy. Compare.com offers real-time car insurance quotes from top-rated insurance providers. It only takes a few minutes!
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