Married a Bad Driver? Here’s How to Keep Your Car Insurance Premium Low

By Dave Webb
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 the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, there’s a good chance your beloved’s driving record isn’t high on the list of priorities.

Fortunately, your newly hitched marital status can earn you a break on car insurance depending on which province you live in. For example, if you’re married and looking for car insurance in Ontario, you might see a decrease in your premium. Whereas in Nova Scotia, you won’t because the province has banned the practice of using marital status as a factor in determining car insurance rates. Studies suggest that married couples are less likely to be in a collision, posing a reduced risk to insurance providers and potentially resulting in lower rates.

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Many couples choose to share their vehicles and combine auto insurance policies despite the potential savings. However, this process can be enlightening — for better or worse.

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

Multi-vehicle discount

Combining the ownership and insurance policies on multiple cars can save money. While the combined rate may be higher than the safer partner’s premium, it would save money over the riskier driver’s policy.

Insurance companies typically consider the record of every driver living under one roof. Merely having separate policies might not make for much savings.

Excluding a driver

If your partner has a driving record that is so unspeakable, it’s impossible to get affordable insurance, excluding them from your policy might be an approach.

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

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 5-15% on your combined premiums.

Accident forgiveness

If both partners have an accident forgiveness clause in their contracts, they will 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 sins on the roadway, but it can be a good idea if the rate is affordable.

Make road safety a priority

Red lights are not a suggestion. Neither are any of the rules of the road. Abiding by them keeps your insurance rate lower. Don’t abide by them, and that record will follow you for a long time. Tickets will stay on your driving record for at least three years, collisions for six years.

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.