Married a bad driver? Here’s how to keep your car insurance premium low

A bride and groom on their wedding day

Ah, true love. It's the most wonderful thing in the world to meet your soulmate. But when you’re in love, there’s a good chance of turning a blind eye to your beloved’s faults. And as you cruise along the highway of love, your speedy sweety’s driving record might not be high on your list of priorities.

Fortunately, your newly hitched marital status can earn you a break on car insurance (depending on which province you live in).

Your marital status can impact your auto insurance rate

Among other factors like age, gender, where you live, your driving habits and history, insurance companies also use your marital status to determine your insurance premiums.

In the eyes of insurance companies, spouses are less likely to get into a collision, and consequently, are less risky to insure. The reasoning behind this is that most people marry when they’re older and therefore, are more experienced and safer drivers than their younger counterparts. Another reason might be that they drive with children in the car and hence, are more cautious and responsible drivers.

The Insurance Act defines “spouse” as either of two people who:

  • Are married to each other.
  • Have entered into a void or voidable marriage in good faith.
  • Have lived together in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage either continuously for a period of at least three years and are in a relationship of some permanence.
  • Or if they are the parents of a child.

For purposes of auto insurance, common-law partners may qualify as spouses if they meet certain requirements set out in the Insurance Act and the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.

Historically and anecdotally, married women don’t see much of a difference in their insurance premium once they get married. While married men have a lower auto insurance rate, as compared to their single counterparts.

Gender is another factor that insurance companies use to set rates; and men are generally considered to be riskier drivers.

Which provinces use marital status to determine premiums?

If you’re married and looking for car insurance in Ontario, for instance, you might see a decrease in your premium from when you were single. Insurance providers in Alberta and Quebec also factor in marital status when determining insurance premiums, whereas Manitoba and British Columbia do not.

In Nova Scotia, you won’t see a change in your premium when you get hitched because the province has banned the practice of using age, gender, and marital status to determine insurance premiums.

How a married couple can save on car insurance

What if your partner is a train wreck on the streets and has a string of at-fault collisions, suspensions, and speeding tickets? Here are some strategies to help lower your premium even if you’re married to a bad driver.

Multi-vehicle discount

Insurance companies typically consider the record of each driver living under one roof. If there is a high-risk driver in the household, they may have no other option other than to take out an auto insurance policy with a high-risk company. However, if the riskier driver is still eligible for insurance with the same company as their “clean” partner, they may be able to reap some savings with a multi-vehicle discount under the same policy.

In general, combining insurance policies on multiple cars in the same household can save money.

Excluding a driver

If your partner’s driving record is such that few insurance companies will agree to insure them, it may be very difficult for either of you to get affordable insurance. One option worth exploring might be excluding them from your policy.

An excluded driver endorsement means your partner cannot drive your car for any reason. If they do, your own insurance will be voided.

There may be some more affordable options, like usage-based insurance, which encourages good driving habits. But if your partner exhibits high-risk driving behaviour, they could see a surcharge in Ontario.

Bundling your home and auto policies

There’s an old English proverb: What you lose on the swings, you make up on the roundabout.

Essentially, if one thing costs you more, it may result in something else costing less. If both partners keep their auto policies and purchase a home policy from the same provider, they may find that they’ve saved enough on their home policy to almost offset the increase in car insurance.

Bundling your home and auto insurance can save you anywhere between five to 15% on your combined premiums.

Accident forgiveness

If both partners have accident forgiveness clauses in their contracts, they can each escape one at-fault collision — their first — without complicating their premium.

The collision is forgiven but not forgotten; it will still appear on your driving record for up to six years. So, if you switch insurance companies within that timeframe, the at-fault collision will still play a part in determining your premium.

That doesn’t excuse speeding tickets, careless driving, or other major roadway sins, but it can be a good idea if the rate is affordable, and your partner has a history of reckless driving.

Prioritize road safety

Following the rules of the road doesn’t just keep you and those around you in one piece, it also keeps your insurance rate low. Fail to abide by them, and that record will follow you for a long time. Tickets stay on your driving record for at least three years, and collisions for six.

Taking a ministry-approved driver education course is sensible, no matter how long you’ve been driving. You’ll learn driving strategies to keep you safe and out of trouble, and the course can reduce your premium if you graduate.

Married? Single? On a break? Whatever your status, make sure you’re getting the best rate on auto insurance by taking a few minutes to compare car insurance quotes.

Quick Car Insurance Quote

Find your best car insurance rate by comparing car insurance quotes from 50+ providers in a single search. Start saving today!