January 14, 2010

Will Marrying Someone with a Poor Driving Record Affect Your Auto Insurance Rate?

When you’re tying the knot, there’s a lot to think about. For most couples, thinking about your new combined auto insurance rate isn’t something that comes as a high priority on your wedding day. However, it’s a very important thing to consider when planning your new finances and budgets. In most cases, combining both spouses’ car insurance policies will result in a lower auto insurance premium, which is, of course, a very good thing. Insurers consider married couples to be less of a risk, and they will usually give them multi-policy discounts when they picking up a new policy. However, your insurance rate may actually increase if your new spouse has a bad driving record.

Because a joined auto insurance policy essentially combines the driving records of both drivers, you might see quite the rate hike in your insurance bill after you get married. Of course, if you and your spouse completely combine your finances, you’ll see an overall drop, as his or her policy cost will go down proportionally. If you maintain separate accounts, though, it can seem like a raw deal for the good driver. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you and your spouse end up in a fair auto insurance position and get an overall decrease in your auto insurance bill.

First, you should recognize that combining your policies is the perfect time to re-evaluate the coverage that you’re paying for and the insurer that you’re using. Go online and get an auto insurance quote or two (or three, or five) from your insurer’s competitors to see how rates stack up. Your new married status is a big draw for insurers, and you’ll see rates vary pretty wildly from insurer to insurer. If you find a better insurance rate for the same amount of coverage at a different company, contact your current insurer with the news. They’ll often try to meet or beat their competitors’ prices. You can also see if there’s anything that your spouse can do to improve his or her insurance risk level. For instance, many drivers with a few citations or accidents on their records can take defensive driving courses or drive safer vehicles to bring their rates down. Adding car alarms to both of your vehicles can also help. Your insurance agent will likely have many more suggestions that can lower your premiums.

In any case, remember that accidents and other incidents are removed from drivers’ MRV (motor vehicle report) after a state-mandated length of time — usually two years for most incident types. If your combined auto-insurance rate seems very high, you’ll probably just have to wait for them to drop again.