Individual states have different rules about the practices of insurance companies. Although most require insurance, state policies vary on whether husbands and wives must be on the same insurance policy. In addition, insurance companies have their own specific rules about spouses. Some may not cover you if you don’t tell them about all the licensed drivers who live with you. However, unless your husband has significant problems on his driving record, such as a DUI conviction or several accidents in the past, it may be best to add him to your policy.
Matrimony and Car Insurance
Some car insurance companies will give you discounts when you get married and join your policies, by adding your husband to your policy or opening up a new policy. If you have different insurer from your husband, review both policies and talk to your insurance companies to see which will offer the better deal. Many companies offer a lower rate just because you are married, and you may get a discount for covering more than one vehicle under the same policy.
There is no formal reporting mechanism to let your insurance company know when you get married other than you calling to do so. There are legitimate reasons to hold off on adding your husband to your policy. For example, his policy may be fully paid up to the renewal date. If you are newlyweds, he may still be covered under his parents’ policy. But a prominent reason to avoid adding your husband is that his driving history could hurt your policy.
State Regulations Vary
Your state has an insurance bureau or insurance commission that can tell you what the requirements are with regard to adding your husband to your policy. Some states, such as Pennsylvania and Virginia, allow spouses to maintain separate coverage. Others may allow separate coverage, provided your husband has his own insurance policy. No state law leaves room for a spouse to be a licensed driver and remain uninsured in a home where there is a registered vehicle.
Insurance Company Requirements
Typically, the major insurance companies require you to report all the licensed drivers in a home. This is because they will all have access to the insured vehicle. Covering everyone, including a husband with a bad driving record, could severely increase your premium. But if your husband isn’t on your policy and he simply moves your car from the driveway and gets into a minor accident, you run the risk your claim won’t be covered. Read your policy carefully to determine whether the insurance company reserves the right to deny a claim based on your husband’s accident in your car, if you have not yet combined your policies or added him to yours.
You may be able to put your husband on a document called a “named driver exclusion.” Essentially, it says the insurance company is not liable to pay for any claims that occur if your husband drives your car and gets into an accident. It is an endorsement that is added to your policy and usually cannot be removed without approval of the insurance company’s underwriting department. In some states, like Texas, having this exclusion would also prevent your husband from benefiting from the state’s uninsured motorist coverage, which pays for damages caused by people without insurance. Not all states allow a named driver exclusion, so talk with your insurance specialist to determine whether you can get one.
Risks of Not Adding Your Husband
If you omit your husband from your car insurance policy, avoid telling your insurer about your spouse or fail to get a named driver exclusion, your insurance company can cancel your policy for these omissions. A canceled policy may affect your ability to get other insurance and can cause you to experience a rate hike. If your husband’s record will cause you severe financial burden, another option in addition to named driver exclusion is for him to surrender his driver’s license. If he does not own a car, this may be a worthwhile option to consider. You must ensure, however, that he never drives your car.
Angela Ogunjimi has been a prize-winning writer and editor since 1994. She was a general assignment reporter at two newspapers and a business writer at two magazines. She writes on nutrition, obesity, diabetes and weight control for a project of the National Institutes of Health. Ogunjimi holds a master's degree in sociology from George Washington University and a bachelor's in journalism from New York University.