Car insurance for unmarried couples

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The definition of a couple and family has dramatically changed from what it once was. Because of this, insurance companies are offering different types of policies to keep up today’s ever changing world. Whereas fifty years ago it was unheard of for an unmarried couple to be on the same insurance policy, today joint car insurance for unmarried couples is common. Though it is not unusual, there are still a few things couples should be aware of before tying the insurance knot.

Can you be on the same insurance plan if you are not married?

In the past, unmarried couples were not allowed to be on the same insurance plan because they did not have what is called “insurable interest.” Insurable interest boils down to ownership. Unmarried couples were not thought to have mutual ownership of one another’s property and so were not allowed to share a policy. However, things have since changed as the definition of families and couples has evolved.

These days you have options. Many insurance companies offer unmarried couples car insurance under such names as:

  • Domestic partner insurance
  • Non-married insurance
  • Non-relative insurance
  • Roommate insurance

If you live in the same household, getting insurance together will not be a huge challenge. In fact, some laws or insurance providers require that people living in the same household be on the same insurance policy.

What do you need to combine car insurance policies if you are not married?

Most insurance companies that offer insurance for unmarried couples will want to see some proof that you and your partner are living at the same address. The easiest thing to do is to ensure that you and your partner have the same address on your drivers licenses. If you just recently moved in together and have not updated your license yet, you may need to provide a copy of your lease or bills to the insurance company. Other possible documents you may need may be tax statements or pay stubs.

Generally speaking, an insurance company simply needs to see some proof that you and your partner live together. Financial documents and bills are the surest sign of this. Each insurance company, however, may have a different request.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of combined car insurance?

There are pros and cons to getting on the same insurance policy with your partner. Make sure you understand both sets before proceeding and any relevant rules or laws that may require you to be on the same policy.

Advantages of combining car insurance

Besides only having one payment to be on top of and being able to share each other’s cars, there are a few advantages to being on the same policy:

  • Potential discounts:Assuming you both have your own car, you may be eligible for a multi-car discount with the provider. This is important because multi-car discounts are often the biggest savings that an insurance company offers. One of you might also be eligible for a discount that would not be available for the other.
  • More favorable rates: Car insurance companies will almost always charge couples less than two individuals insuring separately. Some studies claim that unmarried drivers were more at risk for accidents, and two people with earning potential may seem more likely to be able to pay the bills. Overall, statistically speaking, couples are said to file fewer insurance claims than individuals.
  • Easier to manage: Managing one policy is often a little easier than two.

Disadvantages of combining car insurance

There aren’t many disadvantages to insuring jointly, but consider the following:

  • It could be more expensive if your partner has a bad driving record: Insurance companies label drivers with frequent speeding tickets, accidents, or DUIs as high risk drivers. A high-risk driver may pay double (or more) than that of a driver with a clean driving record.
  • If you break up with your partner, there may be complications with the bill: Though you do not want to think about breaking up with your partner, it’s still possible. If you do, you will have to obtain separate insurance policies and figure out who is responsible for paying the bill and how much each of you should contribute to the overall cost.

When should you consider combining car insurance?

Unmarried couples should consider getting on the same policy when the following situations arise after they have moved in together:

  • You drive each other’s cars
  • You have no plans of pursuing a relationship with anyone else
  • You may qualify for a multi-car policy discount

Frequently asked questions

Is there a set period of time that insurers want to see a couple be together before they will give them unmarried car insurance?

No. There would be no way to accurately verify this that would not violate a person’s privacy, and sometimes people are required by company policy or law to get on the same insurance policy within a set time frame after moving in together.

Is it possible to add a boyfriend or girlfriend to a policy after an accident?

Insurance typically follows the car, not the driver, so a partner driving your car should be covered even before you are on the same policy as long as you have adequate coverage. If you add them after the accident, they will need to use a policy that was in place at the time of the accident. Adding them to a policy after an accident to try to get coverage for that incident will not work.

To cover your bases, speak with an agent before you let your girlfriend/boyfriend drive your car. They will likely ask you if you are living together and if he or she drives your car more than once a month. Answer honestly so that you have the right type of coverage if and when something happens.

Is it illegal to drive another person’s car?

No, it is not. The most important things to do before letting someone else drive your car are to make sure your insurer understands your living arrangements with your partner and that they have an up-to-date driver’s license.

Written by
Lauren Ward
Insurance Contributor
Lauren Ward has nearly 10 years of experience in writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and Reviews.com. She covers auto, homeowners, and life insurance, as well other topics in the personal finance industry.
Edited by
Insurance Editor