For better or worse, marriage has auto insurance implications

Getting married (or entering into a civil union or domestic partnership) means joining two once-separate lives. In addition to combining homes, finances and families, you'll want to consider joining your auto insurance policies. And that could mean saving money on your auto insurance premium.
Some insurers, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), offer discounts for married couples. By settling down, you may become more reliable and less risky in the eyes of your insurance company. And that means lower premiums. Men under age 25 could see the biggest discounts, according to State Farm. Single men under 25 are charged some of the highest rates because statistics show they're riskier drivers. Once they're hitched, however, their risky behavior has been statistically shown to decrease -- and so do their premiums.
Even if your insurance company doesn't reward you with an automatic discount, married couples can reduce their premiums in other ways, according to the NAIC. For one thing, now that they're sharing a home, their cars are likely sharing a garage. That means they can share a policy as well and become eligible for multivehicle discounts. Moreover, married couples share a lot more than cars. They share belongings, a home or an apartment. By insuring all these things with the same insurance company, the couple will become eligible for something called a multiline discount.
With rewards comes greater responsibility, however. Just as with joining lives, joining auto insurance policies can have complications. When a married couple combines their auto insurance policies, both drivers' records will affect the premium for the entire policy. The NAIC recommends that couples consider the following before combining their individual policies:

  • If your spouse has a poor driving record, this could harm your premiums. Consult with your agent about options like a named-driver exclusion if you're worried about combining your policies. A named-driver exclusion is an addition to your policy that states your spouse won't be covered when driving your car. It may bring a lower premium -- but remember that if your spouse does crash your vehicle, you'll be responsible for all associated costs.
  • Your vehicle age and type will affect your premium. Purchasing a larger vehicle, like a minivan or sport utility vehicle, to transport a growing family could affect your premium.
  • If you'll be transporting children in the near future, you may want to consider increasing your liability or medical payment coverage limits.

Civil unions and domestic partnerships

Couples joined by civil unions and domestic partnerships may be able to get some of the same insurance savings that married couples get. Esurance, for example, extends its married-couple rate to those who are in civil unions or domestic partnerships recognized by a state or another country.
Domestic partners, however, will likely have to show proof of their status to their insurer to qualify for any special married rates. Requirements for getting official documentation vary state by state. In Washington state, for example, registration of domestic partnerships is handled through the Secretary of State's Office and costs $50. Couples can register by mail, but the forms must be notarized, according to the state's Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Even without official recognition, couples can qualify for multicar discounts if their cars are kept in the same location. The Oklahoma Insurance Department recommends that domestic partners who share cars list one another as secondary drivers on their own policies. This allows them to borrow one another's cars regularly.

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