When you first get married, there are so many exciting new experiences to look forward to as a couple. Insurance likely is not on that list. Couples, however, are often able to access better rates and better coverage than either spouse would have individually. Some of the benefits of combining insurance policies include discounts for having multiple policies with the same company and getting the same coverage for less. Here are the most common types of insurance and some of the marital benefits. (Waiting to marry has become the norm, but do you know what to consider before saying "I do"? See 5 Things To Consider Before Late-In-Life Marriage.)
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1. Car Insurance
You might not think that a 25-year-old single man is any different than when he gets married the next day. In the eyes of insurance underwriters, however, he is a completely new man and a much lower insurance risk once he says "I do." Married men attract much lower car insurance rates than their single counterparts. Statistically, they get into fewer accidents. When you get married, one of the first telephone calls should be to the insurance agent to obtain a new quote.
If both spouses have vehicles and have insurance policies with different companies, bringing them both to one company may also reap benefits. Many insurers offer discounts for multiple-car families. Be sure to ask for several quotes, both from your existing insurers and from their competition to get the best price.
2. Life Insurance
Life insurance premiums are also based in part on marital status so renewals may be less expensive after marriage. Your combined income replacement needs may also change. For example, if you each owned a home with a mortgage while you were single, after marriage you may choose to sell one of the houses and pay off that mortgage. That leaves you with less overall debt to pay off if one of you dies. If either of you came into the marriage with minor children, your life insurance needs may also decline as the spouse's income will help contribute to the financial needs of the kids. When you get married, it is important to sit down with your insurance agent and review both of your policies together.
3. Health Insurance
If you and your new spouse both have group health insurance plans at your places of employment, they are likely to be very different in their coverage and their premiums. It is often less expensive to add a spouse to a group health plan than to maintain separate plans. Compare both plans and choose the one that most closely matches your needs. For example, your policy may include regular physician checkups and, once you do the math, you may realize that the premium increase due to that coverage is higher than what the doctor charges for an office visit. If either you or your spouse is self-employed and the other works for an employer, covering the self-employed spouse under the group plan will usually be less expensive than maintaining an individual plan. (Getting your own policy isn't easy or cheap but in some cases, it's well worth the effort. Check out Buying Private Health Insurance.)
4. House Insurance
House insurance consists of both insurance on the structure itself (if you own the home) and insurance on the contents - all of your "stuff." Contents insurance is needed whether you own or rent. The first way that you and your spouse may save money on house insurance is if you go from two homes down to one. One entire policy goes away. The second reason why it may be less expensive is because it is cheaper to cover your combined contents than it was under separate policies. Let's say that you have about $200,000 in furniture, clothes, kitchen equipment and everything else that is in your home. The contents portion of your insurance policy may be $300 per year. Your spouse may have $50,000 in contents and is paying $75 per year. Combining the $250,000 in contents into one policy may only cost $325, saving you $50 per year.
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5. Multi-line Discounts
Many property and casualty insurers that offer different types of insurance, such as car, boat, house and business, give clients a discount if they have more than one type of policy. That means that if, between you and your spouse, you have two cars, a motorcycle, a camper van and a house, holding all of the policies with one company can result in a 5-20% discount.
The Bottom Line
It may not be the best part of getting married, but saving money on insurance is one of the best financial benefits of matrimony.