Are you engaged or a newlywed?
First of all, congratulations.
Marriage is an amazing milestone that symbolizes a bond of love and trust between you and your significant other.
There are probably lots of things on your mind now that you’ve made this commitment.
Many of them are probably good thoughts – after all, you get to spend your life with someone who loves and supports you – hopefully making many great memories along the way.
But you may have some worries too. You probably have a lot of questions about things you don’t normally think about.
That’s natural. But there’s no reason to be discouraged.
While we can’t answer every question and concern you may have about this big new step in your life, there is one important thing that we can definitely offer a little advice on: your car insurance.
Wait! Before you get scared and hit the back button to escape this conversation…just give us a minute to help you a bit.
We understand that insurance is far away from most people’s minds around 360-something days of the year.
When your policy renewal comes up, or when you buy a new car, or if you’re unfortunate enough to have to get in an accident; that’s when the average person pays attention to their auto insurance protections.
You may not have thought about auto insurance even once while you’ve been so busy planning your wedding, enjoying your honeymoon, or dreaming of your future.
However, it’s time.
There are some things you need to do with your auto insurance now, because you’re joining your life with that of another.
Let’s discuss them.
When you get married there may be several things you need to do regarding your auto insurance. Firstly, inform your insurance provider that you’re married – you could save money doing this.
1On average, married New Yorkers can save around 12% on their auto insurance compared to when they were single. 2Based off of numbers provide by The Zebra, that’s a savings of about $190.
You may wonder, “Where is this savings coming from?”
There’s actually a pretty simple explanation.
3Statistics have shown that married drivers are as much as 50% less likely to get injured in an auto accident. While insurance rates vary depending on the individual, this is a huge difference for insurance companies, who find that insuring married individuals can sometimes be less of a financial risk.
Perhaps people tend to become more responsible once they attach their life to another.
As you can see, when you put a ring on it, you should be sure to notify your insurance provider…and in many cases there is good reason to take it a step further and combine auto policies with your spouse.
Combining auto insurance with your spouse:
Not only is it just easier to have one insurance bill to pay rather than two – but combining policies with your spouse can potentially save money.
4Things like multicar discounts (insuring both your vehicle and your spouses) can lower your rates. Plus, the two of you could save more by combining home and auto insurance if you purchase a house together.
When you and/or your spouse cancel a current auto insurance policy in favor of combining insurance, it’s important to be sure that the new insurance is in effect the same day as when the previous insurance expires.
5In other words, you’ll want to avoid having an insurance lapse (a period of time when you have a registered car but don’t have auto insurance).
If you do have a lapse of insurance, not only do you put yourself at risk during the time you are without coverage, but you may suffer other consequences too.
The consequences of an auto insurance lapse:
6In many states, there are fines or penalties issued by the DMV for insurance lapses. In our home state of New York, your license can be suspended for a lapse of insurance. You may also have to pay some fines. 5In New York, the fine is $8 per day for a lapse lasting under 30 days, $10 per day for an additional 30 days, and then $12 per day for 30 days after.
You may be subjected to other penalties and consequences as well.
If you already have auto insurance with your spouse:
You may already have insurance with your significant other, but there still may be some changes you need to make with your policy, for instance, if you purchase a new vehicle together, it will need to be added to your policy.
Reasons to keep your auto insurance separate:
There are times when combing policies with your spouse is not the best option. Say, for instance, that you or your spouse has a relatively poor driving history. 7Combining policies could hurt the driver with the better track record, as they would have to help pay for a policy that reflects a number of tickets or accidents that they are not responsible for.
7Another situation where it may be better to keep separate policies is if you or your spouse has a particularly expensive vehicle and it is best to keep it on its own policy.
Even if you’re keeping your policies separate, under the assumption that you’ll be moving in together you may still have to add your spouse as a household member on your policy.
However, if you’d prefer to keep them off your policy entirely, you could exclude your spouse from your insurance.
8This can keep your rates lower, but we caution you that your spouse would not be covered at all while driving your vehicle. Any accident or damage with them behind the wheel will be left up to you to pay for.
If you’re still unsure of what to do with your auto insurance after getting married, get in touch with us here at Sidle Insurance. We are a professional independent insurance agency, which means we don’t just work for one insurance company. We can offer an array of options and quote you for a fairly priced policy (or policies) that give you the protection you really need.
Give us a call at (607) 535-6501, an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our office at 219 S Catherine St., Montour Falls, NY 14865.
And don’t forget to read part two of our “Engaged? Just Married?...” blog post series later this month when we talk about homeowners insurance.