Congratulations on your decision to get married! Now that the wedding bells have rung, you’re probably in the midst of making a lot of important family decisions. After all, marriage affects a lot of things in your life, from your personal rights, status, taxes, and even insurance.

Though it adds another item to your monumental to-do list, you should never forget to inform your car insurance company of your change in status. And if you and your spouse both know how to drive, one thing you should seriously consider is to combine policies. Doing so allows you to save on insurance costs, among other benefits. Here are some thing you need to know about combining car insurance policies if you are a newlywed couple.

How marital status affects car insurance rates

Many factors affect car insurance rates, and one of them is marital status. Auto insurance companies rely on statistics when they determine your car insurance rates, and according to the numbers, a married person is less likely to be in an accident than someone who’s single.

One of the perceived reasons for this is because married people feel more responsible than single ones, and this is why they tend to be more careful on the road. Due to the fact that married people face less accidents on the road, the chances of them filing a claim is less than a single driver of comparable profile. Therefore, car insurance for married vs single is always less expensive. Since they are less risky to insure, married people often pay lesser premiums than their unmarried counterparts.

You can save more by combining your policies after marriage

Yes, getting married can instantly earn you policy savings, but you can earn even more savings by combining your and your beloved’s car insurance policy. That said, this move is feasible only if the two of you have squeaky clean driving records and been diligent with your monthly insurance payments. If you or your spouse has had more than one violation ticket or accident, you may actually see your rates rise.

Combining policies also makes sense even for couples who have only one car because it guarantees that both drivers are covered without incurring the cost of a second policy. On the other hand, couples with more than one vehicle have a chance to incur a multi-car discount from insurers.

Finally, obtaining a homeowner’s or renter’s policy from the same insurer and combining it with your car insurance policy allows you to earn even greater discounts overall.

Your spouse’s driving record will affect your rates one way or another

Your insurance company will typically factor in your spouse’s driving record when setting rates, even if you decide not to combine policies. That’s because insurers require all licensed members of the household to be listed down in the policy. If your spouse has a poor driving record, you can keep it from affecting your rates by not listing them down in your policy. However, the downside is that if they don’t have a policy of their own, they will not be covered in case they have an accident while driving your car, and you’ll be responsible for any damage.

Deciding on the amount of coverage to buy

It’s better to buy more than just the allowed minimum amount of car insurance. You never know when you could figure in a serious road accident, and if your coverage isn’t enough to pay for the other driver’s repair or medical bills, you’ll be footing the bill for the rest. Thus, the smarter move will be to always have enough coverage to protect your assets.

When combining car insurance policies isn’t recommended

The main consideration when couples combine car insurance policies is that both husband and wife have a spotless driving record. If one driver has a number of incidents counted against him or her that they end up being considered a high risk driver, it will be better to keep the policies separate.

How risk affects rates is a question only your insurer can answer, since providers account for risks differently and use various criteria in its computation. There may also be other factors in your driving record that could prevent you from earning savings. Thus, the wiser move will be to always ask for a quote before you proceed with your decision to combine policies or not. If your quote reveals that you won’t be able to save on the premium, you can just list your spouse on your policy and let them continue on with their own insurance.

Don’t forget to update your policy according to your needs

As your family grows and your financial standing improves, you’ll want to update your policy to ensure your family and assets are covered. Should your coverage prove insufficient, you leave yourself open to the damage that a car accident or lawsuit could cost you, and you can end up losing more than just your vehicle.

When it’s time to update your coverage, shopping around is the simplest way that you can save money. You may be happy with your current rate, but there may be another policy from your provider that can provide you with a rate that’s better for both you and your spouse now that you’re married. Or perhaps you’ll be better served by choosing a different company altogether. When renewing your policy or shopping for a new one, don’t hesitate to ask for discounts that you may qualify for. Most companies will adjust and lower your premium once you’ve informed them that you’ve the knot. Others will even give you a discount outright.

The bottom line

On most occasions, it will be beneficial for a newlywed to merge their policies. Even it doesn’t make sense for your situation right now, you should try to revisit the possibility down the line, as it can lead to great savings for the both of you. As always, shopping around and obtaining quotes from multiple providers can help you land the best deal.