Summertime means fun in the sun for most. It’s also wedding season, with June and September typically the busiest months. If you’re getting married, or even just considering it, it is worth considering the impact marriage has on many aspects of your life, including your finances and insurance.
Both marriage and the divorce rates are declining, according to the latest census data. The cost of divorce continues to rise, however, between attorney’s fees and settlement costs. Most people may not give too much thought to how their insurance needs change when going through a major life event, such as marriage or divorce. Understanding the impact of combining insurance and households could help save you some financial headaches down the road.
Marital status statistics
- Both marriage and divorce rates have decreased over the years, when comparing 2009 data to 2019 data. (S. Census Bureau)
- In 2009, there were 17.6 new marriages per year per 1,000 women. By 2019, the number decreased to 16.3 marriages per 1,000. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Divorce rates are showing a decline from 2016 to 2020. (Centers for Disease Control – CDC
- The states with the highest marriage rates were led by Wyoming, with 22.3 women per 1,000 in 2019, and Colorado and Washington, both with 20.9. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Delaware had the lowest marriage rate in the country, with 11.4 women per 1,000 in 2019. (U.S. Census Bureau)
- The highest divorce rate was found in Arkansas in 2019, while Washington D.C. and Maine had the lowest. (U.S. Census Bureau)
Auto insurance for married couples
Auto insurance is legally required in almost every state. While most states require you to purchase minimum liability or personal injury protection, the amount you pay for premiums can vary significantly based on lots of personal factors. Consider this:
- The average annual premium for an unmarried driver is $1,771 for full coverage auto insurance. (Bankrate)
- The average annual premium for a married adult decreases to $1,668 for full coverage insurance. (Bankrate)
- If you are married with a teen driver on the policy, you can expect your rates to double in some cases. The average annual premium is $3,852 for full coverage car insurance. (Bankrate)
- Louisiana and Florida are the most expensive states in the country for full coverage and residents also spend a greater portion of their income towards insurance. (Bankrate)
- Maine and Vermont have some of the lowest average auto insurance premiums in the country, with Maine averaging just $876 per year for full coverage. (Bankrate)
Marriage is not the only factor impacting how much you pay in car insurance premiums. Many individual, personal factors are used to calculate the costs. Insurance companies use information such as:
- Credit: Insurance companies often use your credit-based insurance score to calculate your premium. This practice is not legal in all states.
- Driving record: Your driving record affects how much you pay, and at-fault accidents, tickets and DUI/DWI convictions will increase your rates.
- Vehicle: The make and model of your vehicle can impact your insurance premiums greatly. For example, expensive luxury cars often cost more to insure because the insurance company will have to pay more for replacement parts.
- Miles driven per year: Many insurance companies offer discounts or programs to offset premiums for drivers who drive fewer miles per year.
- Coverage options selected: Customizing your policy means adding various levels of coverage and options, all of which impact rates.
Adding a spouse often means combining insurance policies. Many insurers, such as Progressive, require you to add your spouse to your policy. There may be laws surrounding adding a spouse to a policy too, depending on where you live. The best practice is to call your insurance provider when you get married and confirm the next steps. There can be positive and negative aspects to adding your spouse to your car insurance policy.
- You may qualify for more discounts, such as multi-driver and/or multi-policy.
- It might make it easier to keep track of your bills with only one payment for the two drivers.
- You might decrease your chance for coverage gaps, especially if you are driving each other’s vehicles.
- Your policy will likely be less expensive overall, due to a lower risk rating from the insurance company (assuming both drivers have clean driving records).
- Your spouse may have a better insurance provider than you, such as one with a greater number of coverage options or better customer service.
- If your spouse has negative marks on their driving record, it could make your rates more expensive.
- If your spouse’s driving record is considered extremely high-risk, you may risk finding an insurance company willing to insure them.
- If your spouse has poor credit and you live in a state where insurers can use credit to rate your policy, it could cause your rates to go up.
- Age is also a factor for rates, except in Hawaii or Massachusetts, so if your spouse is younger than 25, your premiums may be higher.
Home insurance for married couples
Unlike auto insurance, homeowners insurance is not a legal requirement in any state. However, almost all lenders require a homeowner to purchase coverage when taking on a mortgage. Homeowners insurance not only protects the lender’s investment, but it can be a valuable safeguard for your finances too. Without homeowners insurance, you could be forced to pay repair or replacement expenses out of pocket, which could become a major financial hardship. The average cost for home insurance is $1,383 per year for $250,000 in dwelling coverage.
- Homeowners insurance can only be put in the name of the person who owns the property. If you own the property jointly, your homeowners insurance would be under both names. If only one spouse owns the home, only their name would be on the insurance.
- Your home insurance policy will cover losses for everyone living in your home and related to you by marriage, blood or adoption. (Lemonade)
- Once you get married, it’s important to do an inventory of your combined belongings when purchasing a homeowners or renters insurance policy. (Nationwide)
- You may want to check and see if your spouse is affiliated with a group or organization that can get you an additional discount with your home insurance provider. (Nationwide)
- If a marriage ends, the spouse who stays in the house will need to ensure that the homeowners insurance is in their name. It is also recommended that the spouse staying in the home double-check coverage levels and do a new inventory of belongings following the final divorce settlement. (Triple-I)
When purchasing a home and budgeting for the proper homeowners insurance policy after you get married, it’s important to realize there are multiple factors affecting your cost of homeowners insurance. Comparing several quotes is wise since these factors are weighted differently from one company to another.
- Credit: Although this is restricted in some states, many insurance providers use your credit-based score as an indicator of risk for filing a property claim. A lower score for either of you could mean higher premiums for both of you if you are both listed on the policy.
- Claims history: If either you or your spouse have purchased homeowners policies in the past and have a history of making claims, it can have a negative impact on rates.
- Age of home: An older home may be more likely to have greater problems and cost more for repairs when a claim is filed.
- ZIP code: The location of your property will greatly affect your home insurance premium. So, for instance, if you are moving to an area with more risks after you get married, such as hurricanes or wildfires, you might face higher home insurance costs.
Life insurance for married couples
When you have a significant other in your life, it may be time to think about providing the financial security and peace of mind that comes with a life insurance policy should something happen to you. This is especially true as your expenses increase if you get married and decide to start a family. A life insurance death benefit could be set up to cover your mortgage, costs to raise children, education or other big life goals. Some policies will also offer a cash value account that allows you to access some of the money while you are still alive under certain circumstances, such as long-term care needs or a low-interest loan. Here are a few facts and statistics you may want to consider when buying life insurance after you get married:
- If one partner is the primary breadwinner, you may want to ensure that your life insurance policy would cover that person’s financial contributions if they pass away. (Bankrate)
- As a married couple, you’ll need to decide whether you want to purchase a joint life insurance policy or separate policies. (Bankrate)
- Some financial experts recommend that you and your spouse take three factors into consideration when trying to determine how much life insurance to purchase:
- How much do we need in the event of an untimely death? (Needs-based)
- How much do we need for loved ones to reach financial goals if one or the other of us are no longer here? (Goal-based)
- What are we hoping to leave behind for our beneficiaries? (Legacy) (Brides.com)
- What happens to your life insurance policy if you get divorced can vary, depending on what the court decides in your specific case. Life insurance is typically considered an asset, and you may be required to maintain it to provide for an ex-spouse or children. (MassMutual)
Like auto and home insurance, the cost of life insurance is also impacted by personal rating factors, although marriage itself is not likely to play a role in your rates like it can for home and auto insurance.
- Age: Whereas auto insurance typically decreases as you get older, life insurance becomes more expensive, since the higher likelihood of a health issue may arise. Many experts recommend purchasing life insurance when you are young and healthy.
- Health: Your health history is typically evaluated when purchasing life insurance, including family history too, to determine if you are a higher risk. Some providers require a medical exam, while others do not.
Many have heard of a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup.” You may also hear it referred to as marriage insurance. A prenup, or marriage insurance, is a contract a couple agrees to prior to marriage that spells out each person’s legal and financial rights if the marriage ends in divorce. With the average age of marriage now over 30 for men and age 28 for women, according to the Census Bureau, more couples could be coming into a marriage with debt and assets. A prenup is written to detail the instructions for many situations, but a few examples might include:
- Any debts or assets prior to marriage
- Any assets and debts taken on after marriage
- Family property
- How the property is divided in the case of divorce
- Life insurance policies
- Health insurance responsibilities
While prenups are something we often think of associated with celebrities or people with extreme wealth, they can be designed to protect the interests of any couple. Before deciding if this is something you and your significant other need before walking down the aisle, consider the pros and cons of marriage insurance.
|Planning it can bring you closer as a couple||It can create distrust between each other|
|Protects both you and your family members||Contracts are not 100% ironclad|
|Could reduce the cost of divorce||Costs money up front to draw up|
|It forces discussions regarding finances||Takes the focus off the love between the individuals|
|Protects assets you want to stay within your family||Could feel like you are predicting your marriage will fail|
While some people may look at a prenup as a sign that you think your marriage might fail, they are becoming widely more accepted. You may want to consider speaking with a financial advisor or certified financial planner to determine what’s right for you and your spouse-to-be. An objective third party could help ease any concerns about the process.