Does my spouse have to be on my car insurance policy?

There are many reasons why your spouse should be listed as an additional driver on your car insurance policy. Although it's not required to add a spouse to your insurance it can offer a policy discount.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Things to remember

  • It’s common for spouses to be listed together on an auto insurance policy
  • There could be extenuating circumstances to consider before adding or removing a spouse from an insurance policy
  • Insurance companies have different policies and processes concerning additional drivers on a policy

As a general rule, car insurance companies don’t require you to add a spouse to car insurance. However, there are different situations concerning car insurance companies that could prove that adding a spouse turns out to be a benefit or that leaving a spouse off is a way to save. When considering adding your spouse to your auto insurance, there are several things to keep in mind, such as additional costs or duplicating existing coverage.

Why should you add a spouse to car insurance?

An accident is a serious situation, whether or not you are at fault. Having insurance helps with the financial costs of repairing a damaged vehicle and assists with related medical or property damage expenses for the other driver involved. Car insurance coverage requirements vary across the country, but adding a spouse to your policy ensures that you meet any compulsory insurance coverages for licensed drivers in your household. Adding a spouse will make sure you are both covered during an accident, but there are also potential benefits to adding a spouse.

Favorable Insurance Benefits

Insurance companies have a more positive view of married couples because there is an indication of higher responsibility and stability when compared to single individuals. The priorities of married individuals are also different, often leading to better and safer driving habits. This lowers the risk of a serious accident with extensive injuries. Because insurance companies want to attract these safe drivers, rates are often lower for married couples listed on a policy.

Some insurance companies will require you to add a spouse to your policy simply because of the likelihood that the two of you will share a vehicle. However, if a spouse already carries insurance coverage for their own car, you may be able to request that the spouse be kept off your policy. An affidavit confirming their coverage and sharing the policy information is usually required and submitted to your insurance company. If any changes occur where you do not notify your insurance company of the need to add a spouse to the policy, it could be considered insurance fraud.

Spousal Ineligibility

An insurance company may refuse to add a driver for coverage, even if that driver is your spouse. Some of the more common reasons for coverage denial include the following:

  • Failing to pay for coverage
  • Past insurance history
  • Prior driving record

If the insurance will not cover your spouse, they may go a step further and list the individual as a prohibited driver within the terms of your policy. Always check with your insurance company whenever a life event occurs that would fundamentally affect your auto insurance policy. You may need to make other arrangements for insurance coverage.

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When shouldn’t you add a spouse to car insurance?

Shopping for different types of car insurance is a tricky business if you don’t have the help of a comparison tool or all the information you need to understand coverage and rates. Several factors affect your insurance rate, and some of them could either help or hurt your chance of affordable auto insurance when you add a spouse to the policy.

Separation or Divorce

If separation or divorce occurs between you and your spouse, you may not want to extend auto insurance to cover the individual. In many cases, lawyers and the court determine who will keep any marital assets, including vehicles. This means only the individual who will possess the car needs to be on the insurance policy. You can have the individual removed from your current policy by contacting your insurance company or keeping the spouse off if you are buying a new car.

Poor Credit History

Insurance companies look at an individual’s credit history to help determine the level of responsibility that can be expected from the insured. A low credit score is a red flag to an insurance company, and the rates will often be much higher to address the potential risk the individual presents. If you have a high credit score but your spouse has a much lower one, you might consider two separate policies. The company will take an average of the two scores to determine the rate.

Depending on how far down the other score is, you could see much higher rates if you opt for a combined policy. In some cases, drivers with bad credit pay up to 50% more than those with good credit. The insurance company isn’t required to tell you the fee for bad credit.

Poor Driving History

Traffic violations, prior accidents, and DUI convictions also impact your insurance rates. Suppose your spouse is considered a high-risk driver due to several adverse incidents on their driving record. In that case, you could find yourself ineligible for discounts and pay steep costs for coverage. Rather than taking a significant hit to your rate, you may want to have two separate policies and give the spouse with the negative driving history the least expensive car to insure.

Does my spouse have to be on my car insurance policy? A Final Word

Adding a spouse to your car insurance may lower your current insurance rate. Always compare quotes to find the best company for you and your spouse. You can shop for car insurance rates online to help you determine which company to pick. Look for eligible discounts, such as multi-car, homeowners, or safe driver discounts.

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