Married people often share a lot of things— and finances is no exception. In fact, even though millennial couples keep their finances separate at a higher rate than previous generations, 72 percent of them still combine their money, according to a recent report from Bank of America. And that can include cars and car insurance.
But is it always a good idea to add your spouse to your auto insurance policy? In the end, it depends on your situation. Here’s how to figure out if it makes sense to add your spouse.
When to Add Your Spouse to Your Car Insurance
“First of all, realize that, whether or not you add your partner to your insurance, you’ll still need to report them as members of your household,” said John Espenschied, the agency principal and owner of Insurance Brokers Group. “But actually adding them to your insurance policy is a different matter.”
Espenschied said that if your spouse drives your car, you need to make sure they’re covered as a driver.
“If you have more than one car, you should both be on those vehicles, especially if there’s a chance you’ll be driving them at least occasionally,” he said.
You can even add a non-spouse partner to your insurance in some cases—and you might even save money thanks to the multi-car discount.
“Check with your insurance company. Many of them treat domestic partnerships the same as marriage, and you can benefit from that,” said Espenschied.
While putting another driver on your policy can result in an increase in car insurance rates, depending on the driving record of the new addition, Espenschied pointed out that you might be able to offset that cost with the help of a multi-car discount or a multi-policy discount. If you have different insurance providers, Espenschied recommended getting car insurance quotes from each to see which will give you the best deal and then combine your insurance to take advantage of the lower rates.
>> Read More: Car Insurance for Multiple Cars
However, even if you don’t put your spouse on your policy and they end up driving your car, they’re still likely to have car insurance coverage.
“In most cases, coverage follows the vehicle, so if someone borrows your car, especially if they’re listed as a driver in your household, the car will still be covered by the policy,” said Espenschied. “But having a frequent driver on the policy is a good idea to remove any doubt.”
When to Keep Your Spouse Off Your Car Insurance Policy
If you know you won’t be sharing a car with your spouse, there’s not much reason to add them to your insurance policy. Additionally, if your spouse doesn’t have a driver’s license, there’s no reason to list them as a driver.
“Many married couples where both people drive benefit by having shared car insurance, though,” said Espenschied. “After all, you can get discounts when you have multiple vehicles as a couple or if you add homeowners insurance and life insurance in the mix.”
>> Read More: Best Home and Auto Insurance Bundles
The only time to definitely keep your spouse off your insurance policy is if they have a bad driving record that can cause you problems and raise your insurance rates, according to Espenschied. In order to make this happen, you need to make a specific driver exclusion to your policy.
“When you let your spouse borrow your car, or if they take it as a member of your household, your insurance company might still be on the hook, even if the driver isn’t on your policy,” said Espenschied. “You’ve got to ask to exclude your spouse from the policy and make it clear that they aren’t a permissive driver.”
Follow up and make sure your spouse has their own policy for their own vehicle, Espenschied suggested. In the end, it’s up to you, as the car’s owner, to decide who’s on your policy. But make sure your spouse is covered, even if it means having separate policies.
“In general, even if your spouse is a poor driver, you have a better chance of maintaining insurance together,” said Espenschied. “However, if you’re really concerned, get that exclusion and insist your spouse get their own separate coverage.”
Adding People Other Than Your Spouse to Your Car Insurance Policy
You might also decide to add other licensed drivers to your auto insurance policy, including a child, roommate, fiancé, domestic partner, or someone else who regularly drives your car. Ideally, the people you add to your policy should have a good driving history—meaning no speeding tickets or other serious driving violations.
“Carefully think about how often they’ll be driving your car,” said Espenschied. “And then decide whether you want them added to your policy. If they’ll only drive it once or twice, though, you’re probably fine not to worry about adding them.”
Talk to Your Insurance Company
Every situation is different, and it makes sense to consider your finances and your circumstances while deciding whether to add your spouse to your auto insurance policy.
However, if you plan to let anyone use your car frequently, it’s probably a wise idea to include them on your policy. Talk to a knowledgeable insurance agent to review your options and come to a decision that makes sense for you.