- Car Insurance
A divorce is one of the most traumatic things you can go through and the longer you have been with that person, the more traumatic it will be. When you share your life with someone for many years, it’s only natural that you’ll feel a sense of loss and uncertainty when they go.
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You need to make some big changes to your everyday life, such as severing all financial ties with your ex, car insurance included. In this guide, we’ll provide you with some top tips for separating your car insurance policy following a divorce, helping you find the cheapest rates as a divorced driver.
Will Insurance Rates Increase Following a Divorce?
Car insurance companies offer cheaper rates to married homeowners. They also provide additional discounts if those policyholders purchase home insurance or renters insurance along with their car insurance.
Following a divorce, not only will your marital status change, but you may also lose those bundling discounts.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can avoid paying high premiums after a split, including:
1. Stay on the Same Policy
If the separation was amicable, consider maintaining the same policy. Turning one policy into two will see you lose several key benefits and could mean much higher premiums for both of you. It’s much better, therefore, to stick with one policy.
Such an agreement probably isn’t possible if the split was hostile, in which case you have no other choice but to get separate policies.
2. Move to a Different Area
The cost of car insurance coverage differs greatly from state to state and even county to county. Your zip code has more of an impact on your rates than your marital status, and if you move from a state like Michigan to one like Maine or Vermont, you will experience a considerable drop in your insurance premiums.
Insurance companies look at the prevalence of weather damage, vandalism, thefts, car accidents, and more in your area, before using this data to determine your risk factor.
3. Get a Different Car
The stereotype of the divorced man is one of someone who immediately sells the family SUV and instead opts for a luxury sports car. This is a bad idea for many reasons.
Firstly, making an impractical choice like this will probably come back to bite you a few months down the line, when the gas bills hit your pocket hard and you realize you don’t have space for your kids, luggage or anything else.
Secondly, you’ll be hit with much higher car insurance rates. Underwriters look at safety ratings, anti-theft devices, safety features, and the cost of repairs, and in nearly all cases, a sensible and practical SUV will score much higher than a luxury sports car.
In some cases, you’ll pay two to three times as much to insure a luxury car, so if you want to save, opt for something a little more sensible.
4. Shop Smart
The best car insurance policy isn’t the one you have right now. There are always better options, and this is especially true when you go through a major change like a divorce.
Your insurance company may offer you competitive rates on a new policy, but you won’t know how good those rates actually are until you shop around and see what you can get elsewhere.
In our research, we got insurance quotes from over 20 providers and found a difference of 150% between the cheapest and the most expensive. All insurance providers were reputable, established brands and all quoted us a price for a middle-aged divorced male driver.
You may get different quotes elsewhere based on your location, driving record, and vehicle, but you’ll likely experience just as much disparity.
Shop around, get as many quotes as possible, speak with insurance agents, and don’t settle until you get a price you’re sure is the cheapest.
5. Get Discounts
If you haven’t renewed your auto insurance policy in a while, you may be entitled to more discounts. This is especially true if you go with an insurer that offers options not available with your previous provider.
Car insurance discounts vary and you may not qualify for all of them, but it’s worth looking into them:
- Good Student Discount: Not a discount that you or your former spouse will likely qualify for, but a substantial one, nonetheless. Often available to teen drivers, this discount is offered to policyholders who maintain a high grade point average.
- Defensive Driving Course: Many providers and states offer these discounts to older and younger drivers, but only if they are taking these courses voluntarily.
- Multi-Car Discount: If you have several cars, you can add them to the same policy to save.
- Good Driver Discount: Maintain a clean, safe driving record to secure this discount.
- Membership Clubs: If you are a member of an auto club you may be entitled to a small discount on your car insurance premiums.
- Payment Discounts: Pay for your auto policy upfront or go paperless and you could receive a small discount.
Don’t Forget Other Insurance Policies
Even if one or both of you live in the same house as before, you will still need to inform your insurance company about the recent change in circumstances. When the divorce has been finalized and two turns into one, the policy may need to be redrafted entirely.
Not changing this policy could render it invalid when it comes time to make a claim, so it’s always worth keeping your insurance carrier in the loop.
As for life insurance, there’s a good chance your ex-spouse was listed as one of the beneficiaries, if not the sole beneficiary. Many divorced couples will immediately write their ex out of the policy, but this isn’t always the best thing to do.
If you have young children with your former partner, you should consider keeping your spouse as a beneficiary. By acting out of anger and removing them from the list of beneficiaries, you run the risk of there being no legal heirs at all. If this is the case and you die before adding another legitimate beneficiary, the money will go to your estate and a legal battle will ensue as your loved ones try to seize control.
Your children will still get the money eventually, but only after fighting for their share with other family members and debtors.
If a death benefit is paid to your estate, all your creditors will be entitled to their share, and if you have a lot of debts, there may be nothing left by the time your children get their hands on it.
Think about your kids before you act to spite your ex-husband or wife.
Bottom Line: Save Where Possible
One of the best things you can do following a divorce is to tighten your belt, try to think sensibly and logically, and don’t make any rash decisions.
There could be some expensive times ahead. You may be required to pay legal fees, child support, and alimony; you may lose time off work while gaining a whole heap of stress. The last thing you want on top of this is an expensive car insurance policy.
Buy the right cars, keep all insurance costs down, avoid spending frivolously, and continue to work on building a safe driving history.
The decisions you make now could impact your finances for years to come, so plan carefully, execute sensibly, and don’t act on impulse.