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Married Car Insurance Discount

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Jeffrey Johnson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law and has worked in legal offices and nonprofits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman University and worked in film, education, and publishing. His professional writing has appeared on sites like The Manifest and Vice, and he is the author of a novel ...

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UPDATED: Feb 3, 2021

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Key Takeaways

  • Married couples pay an average of $160 less per year on auto insurance than single, unmarried drivers.
  • Lower insurance rates for married couples are based on the idea that married drivers drive safer.
  • In some cases, you don’t have to be legally married to qualify for the “married car insurance discount.”
  • Drivers with joint auto insurance who get divorced or are widowed may see a significant rise in their insurance rates.

Why do married drivers get this preferential treatment? Does being married actually make you a better driver? Should you always opt to get joint auto insurance with your spouse?

We understand your desire to find cheap car insurance. Read on to learn the ins and outs of a married car insurance discount.

If you’re in the market for a new insurer, make sure you enter your ZIP code to compare auto insurance quotes before you buy auto insurance.

Is auto insurance cheaper if you’re married?

The short answer is yes.

Is cheap car insurance a myth or reality? Married couples actually pay an average of $160 less per year on their auto insurance than a single, unmarried driver. And married couples that bundle will see even cheaper car insurance.

Why is car insurance cheaper if you are married?

Once upon a time, auto insurance rates were based on nothing more than your driving experience and driving history. But, as more and more people starting driving, insurance companies had to come up with better ways to determine who constituted a higher risk.

This led to arbitrary criteria coming into play as to what determines the price of car insurance, including things like if you own or rent your home, if you own your own car, what your job is, and — yes — whether you’re married.

Many insurance groups stand behind the fact that married car insurance discounts are a valid consideration in auto insurance rates. But there’s only one study from 2004 that supports the idea that married drivers are safer drivers.

This study uses information collected in New Zealand in the early 1990s. It also uses a small population sample, and the study came along well after the practice of granting married couples auto insurance discounts was established.

Are married drivers safer?

The 2004 study was small and may not be a good representation of all married drivers. But it did show that never-married drivers had a higher auto injury rate than married drivers.

Does that mean married drivers are safer drivers than never-married drivers, as a rule? Probably not.

But it doesn’t really matter if the numbers back up the idea. Married couples will see lower insurance rates from pretty much every insurance company.

Some insurance companies won’t offer an explicit married car insurance discount. But married couples will still see lower rates. For example, there is no GEICO marriage discount, but GEICO does tend to offer lower rates to married couples.

Married vs Single Car Insurance

On average, assuming a normal driving record, adults can expect the following married car insurance discount from their auto insurance company in their state:

Average Auto Insurance Discount Percentage for Being Married by State
StateMarried Car Insurance Discount Percentage
New Hampshire-6.32%
New Jersey-4.79%
New Mexico-4.29%
New York-3.11%
North Carolina-1.40%
North Dakota-5.28%
Rhode Island-6.30%
South Carolina-4.67%
South Dakota-5.92%
West Virginia-4.94%
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As you can see, not every state gives you a discount for getting hitched.

Do you have to be married to get a marriage car insurance discount?

While it might seem silly to think you could get “marriage discounts” without being married, many drivers are taking advantage of a convenient loophole: the domestic partnership.

Prior to same-sex marriage being legalized on a national level, many companies would offer similar discounts for domestic partnerships as they would for married couples. This allowed same-sex couples to get the same benefits as married couples since they couldn’t be married legally.

With same-sex marriage now legal across the nation, many insurance companies still list domestic partnerships as a valid relationship status. Some companies no longer set the rates of domestic partnerships as they do with married couples, but some still do, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Is getting joint auto insurance with your spouse a good idea?

You’ll almost definitely see some kind of marriage discounts. So it may seem obvious that you should get joint insurance with your spouse.

But having joint insurance may not always be the best idea.

Joint Insurance Means Joint Records

When you have joint insurance with a spouse, their driving record will impact your rates just like your own will. So, if they have multiple accidents, speeding tickets, or other traffic citations, that will make your joint rate go up.

Your spouse’s future driving experiences will also impact your rates. If your spouse is in an accident, then the insurance cost could go up for the both of you.

No longer married? No More Discount

One in every two marriages ends in divorce. The married car insurance discount might be nice, but be aware that such a discount will go away if you get divorced. Divorcees may sometimes even see higher auto insurance rates than before they were married at all.

Even worse, widowers almost always see exponential increases in their insurance rates. Some insurance providers charge up to 226 percent more.

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