A Newlywed's Insurance Guide to Marriage

secure Editorial Standards

SmartFinancial Offers Unbiased, Fact-based Information. Our fact-checked articles are intended to educate insurance shoppers so they can make the right buying decisions. Learn More

Newlyweds can begin budgeting for the future together, and their insurance policies play a big part in keeping a couple financially healthy. Even before you consider making changes to your insurance policies, there are a few things you may want to decide ahead of time. Here are common life choices that affect insurance rates:

Key Takeaways

  • Certain lifestyle choices you make as a couple will require you to revisit and review your insurance policies.
  • In most instances, you can add a spouse to your insurance policy very easily.
  • You can share many policies with a spouse and save money. Or, you can buy separate policies and add one another as named insureds.

6 Life Choices That Affect Insurance Rates for Married Couples

  1. Having children. You may have entered the marriage with children. Having life insurance is a must for couples who have children, in case the unforeseeable event happens. It’s the best way to protect young children. If you know you won’t be having children, you may decide to forego life insurance, especially if you both work full-time, unless you want to help the other carry on paying a mortgage or you simply want to cover burial expenses so the survivor doesn’t have to pay for funeral costs out-of-pocket. How much and what type of life insurance you buy will determine how much is left behind to a designated beneficiary.

    Even having a life insurance policy on a stay-at-home parent will help pay for childcare and housework if something happens to that parent.
  2. Retirement age. You may need to budget for private health insurance if you’re aiming to retire earlier than age 65, the age when you’re eligible for Medicare coverage. The same goes for a life insurance policy, unless it’s a whole life policy that accrues enough of a cash value that it pays its own premiums down the line. Or, if you’re a business owner, note that you’ll be freeing up some cash in the future by not paying for commercial insurance coverage after you retire.
  3. Changing names. If one or both of you decide to change names, it’s a good idea to do so before you make changes to your insurance policies. Otherwise, you’ll have to make changes again.
  4. Lists of named insureds. If you plan to have separate car insurance policies, it’s a good idea to add one another to your list of insureds, in case either of you are involved in an accident driving the other one’s car.
  5. Credit scores. Your credit scores will affect each other’s insurance rates, especially if you share a policy and also if you are financially intertwined with a joint banking account or even a mortgage. So, one of you may be pulling the other down in terms of getting a low insurance rate. You can always compare car insurance, for example, with a separate policy and with a multi-policy shared with your partner to see which one ends up being cheaper.
  6. Buying a home. Once again, your credit score will play a huge part in determining how much you pay for a mortgage. You’ll have to decide if you want to buy together, like many couples do, or make other arrangements if one of you has a very low credit score. You’ll also have to decide who takes out the homeowners insurance policy. Don’t forget to also add homeowners insurance to your retirement budget, because even if your home is paid off by that time, you’ll want to remain fully insured in case your home is severely damaged and requires rebuilding. Otherwise, you’ll be left to pay for all major fixes on your own.

Health Insurance After Marriage

When you get married, you have the option of becoming the dependent on one another’s health insurance plans. If you have a work-sponsored health insurance policy, see what it would cost to add a dependent. Have your spouse do the same to see which plan is more comprehensive and less expensive.

Next, compare health insurance plans on the marketplace to see if you can find a better deal. If you qualify for a subsidy, you may pay a lot less for a private health insurance plan.

How Does Marriage Affect Health Insurance?

When you get married, you become eligible for a family health plan, even if it’s just the two of you. This is beneficial because you’ll pay less than buying two separate plans. While many employer-sponsored plans cover a spouse and other dependents, employers are not required to do so, so ask questions.

In most cases a work-sponsored plan is the cheapest, but with so many state-subsidized plans on the market today, a private family health insurance policy may actually end up being more economical, as long as you are looking at the out-of-pocket costs with premium costs combined.

Some couples like to keep their health insurance plans separate, and you always have the option to do so. You are never required to share a health insurance plan with a spouse.

Adding a Spouse to Health Insurance Policy in 7 Steps

After you figure out who and what insurance policy offers the lowest rate for you both to be insured, find out how to add that spouse. Sometimes, it’s by adding that person as a dependent. Or, the insurer may offer a family floater, which is an add-on for dependents. Here are some basic steps:

  1. Notify Your Employer or Insurance Provider: If you have employer-sponsored health insurance, notify your HR department or benefits administrator about your marriage. They will provide you with the necessary forms and instructions for adding your spouse to your plan.
  2. Complete the Enrollment Forms: Fill out the required enrollment forms for adding a spouse to the health insurance plan. You may need to provide a marriage certificate.
  3. Choose a Plan: If your employer offers multiple health insurance plans, decide which plan best meets both of your needs. Do the same with marketplace plans. Consider coverage amounts, premium cost, copays and coinsurance cost-share and deductibles. If you have doctors you want to continue seeing, check out the network of providers or choose a PPO plan that allows for out-of-network coverage.
  4. Compare Health Insurance Plans on the Marketplace. See if you can get the same, if not superior, coverage for the same price or less by shopping in the marketplace. Your combined income may qualify you for state subsidies, which lower the cost of a policy.
  5. Submit the Forms: Submit the completed enrollment forms to your HR benefits administrator or the marketplace plan of your choosing within the specified timeframe. Include all required documentation.
  6. Wait for Confirmation: Wait for confirmation from your employer or insurance provider that you are both on the health insurance plan. This confirmation may come along with an insurance card or cards. If you don’t hear anything after a couple of weeks, contact your provider and have your insurance information handy.
  7. Update Your Information: Inform your current health care providers that your spouse is now covered under your health insurance plan or find new healthcare providers in your network if you switched insurers. Provide them with the new insurance information to ensure that claims are processed error-free.

Is Marriage Counseling Covered by Health Insurance?

While most health insurance plans cover mental health, they do not provide coverage for marriage counseling or therapies, unless the underlying source is a medical reason. For instance, if a spouse suffers from erectile dysfunction, which is a medical issue, a provider may provide coverage for talk therapy for the couple.

Car Insurance After Marriage

There are so many ways to save by combining insurance policies. You will earn a multi-policy discount if you bundle all your cars with one carrier. Both of your credit scores will be taken into consideration to do this, but the policyholder’s will be weighed more heavily. Credit score, driving history and location are the most heavily weighed factors when rating car insurance policies so make sure that the person taking out the policy as the primary policyholder has the best insurance profile.

All you have to do next is compare car insurance rates every six months. You may see your rates drop if you keep your driving histories clean and your credit scores high.

You may get a discount on homeowners insurance or renters insurance if you add that to your policy.

If you decide to keep your policies separate, add your spouse to your list of insureds, in case they are in an accident while driving your car.

How Does Marriage Affect Car Insurance?

Marriage actually makes you less risky to insurance companies, so you’re likely to see rates drop after you marry, as long as you notify the insurer about your change in status and remain accident-free.

Single people are more likely to see higher rates because they exhibit more risky driving habits. Just compare rates and see for yourself.

Life Insurance After Marriage

If you already have a life insurance policy, it’s important to re-evaluate it, especially if you now have new financial responsibilities. You may have a new mortgage or a second home, which means that you may need to increase your coverage, if you want to make sure that your end is covered if you were to have an untimely passing.

Make sure to add your spouse as a beneficiary, if you have not done so.

If you have a term life policy and wish you’d bought a permanent life insurance policy, you may be able to convert yours to match your needs. A permanent life insurance policy accumulates a cash value, which you can borrow against or cash out down the line.

Add a disability rider to your life insurance instead of buying disability insurance as a supplemental policy. It’s cheaper and provides all you’d need if you become unable to work for covered reasons.

If you plan to have children, keep them in mind when selecting the amount of coverage you want. Also, note that if you select a permanent life policy, borrowing against its cash value and not repaying the loan may affect the amount left behind to beneficiaries.

Joint Life Insurance

Joint life insurance is a type of life insurance that covers two individuals under a single policy. The death benefit is paid out when one of the insured individuals passes away. Joint insurance can be more cost-effective than purchasing two separate life insurance policies, with lower premiums than two individual policies combined. However, it's important to note that joint insurance only pays out once, typically after the first insured individual dies, and the policy then becomes inactive.

Buying Homeowners or Renters Insurance as a Couple

When buying homeowners or renters insurance as a couple, it's essential to understand the coverage options available and choose a policy that meets both of your needs. Consider the value of your possessions, the cost of having to rebuild your home and replace both of your belongings in the event of a covered loss.

You may also need flood insurance, depending on where you live. You'll need to buy a standalone flood policy if you’re in a high-risk area.

If one of you is moving into the other’s home, it’s important to review an existing home insurance or renters policy to ensure adequate protection for two people’s belongings. You'll need to decide whether to purchase a joint policy or separate policies. A joint policy typically covers both individuals under a single policy, while separate policies provide individual coverage.

Additionally, it's important to review the deductible and premium costs for each option to determine the most cost-effective choice.

Like car insurance, it’s wise to compare home insurance rates every six months.

Insuring “The Ring”

If you plan to keep the special diamond engagement ring or any other valuable in the home, it may not be covered with the personal property protection in a standard homeowners or renters insurance. It’s a good idea to itemize valuables like this with a separate rider or floater for each valuable. Your agent will simply add it to your existing property policy.

Do Married Couples Need Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance provides coverage beyond liability limits on a homeowners or car insurance policy. Married couples with significant assets or higher incomes may have a greater need for umbrella insurance to protect their wealth in the event of a lawsuit.

Umbrella insurance provides coverage for legal fees, medical expenses and other costs associated with a liability claim, offering peace of mind and financial security for married couples.

Umbrella insurance is inexpensive and a wise investment for people who do not live in a no-fault state because lawsuits and medical bills can be expensive and easily go beyond coverage limits on a car or home policy.

Adding a Spouse to an RV, Boat and/or Motorcycle Insurance Policy

It’s always important to add a spouse to our recreational vehicles insurance policies too. An RV, boat or motorcycle will pose liability issues if a spouse is the one behind the wheel. You never want to find out after a claim is filed that they are not covered or excluded from coverage.

In order to put your partner on the policy, you may need to provide personal information, including their driver's license number, date of birth, and driving history.

Insurance Checklist for Marriage FAQs

Can you stay on a parent’s health insurance policy after marriage?

You can stay on a parent’s health insurance policy until you turn 26, even if you get married.

What happens to life insurance policies after a divorce?

If you divorce, you may need to update your life insurance policies and beneficiaries. The cash value from a joint policy is added to the common assets that are then divided during a divorce settlement.

Will getting married affect eligibility for subsidies on the health insurance marketplace?

Your combined household income will be considered when determining your eligibility for subsidized health plans and may impact the amount of financial assistance you receive, if you are eligible at all.

Does marriage affect life insurance?

Certain considerations, like a mortgage or children, will determine how much life insurance you need. Married people tend to have more financial obligations than unmarried people and they buy life insurance to ease the burden on the surviving spouse.

Get a Free Insurance Quote Online Now.