Car Insurance During a Divorce or Separation

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Sorting out car insurance during a divorce can seem complicated, especially since most American households own two or more cars. Before getting your car insurance needs in order, you might need to change who has ownership of some vehicles depending on who is getting what car. 

Keep reading to learn the details of clearing up car insurance in a divorce and what being divorced can mean for your auto insurance rates.

What to Do With Your Car Insurance During Divorce

What you do with your car insurance during a divorce depends on who owns the cars and whether they will be kept at separate residences. It also depends on your state and your insurance provider, as rules and regulations vary.

Whether your divorce is amicable or not, you’ll need to notify your insurance company of it. As long as a change of residence or a change of ownership in vehicles occurs during a divorce, both spouses will need to get two separate policies. 

Every company has a slightly different way of moving forward with divorce and car insurance , so you should consult your agent or insurer directly before trying to make any changes yourself. They can recommend the next best steps.

There are two overall possibilities for car insurance after divorce:

  1. You are the primary policyholder and need to remove your spouse from your policy.  
  2. You’re getting new car insurance after leaving your partner.

Normally, both people will end up getting their own car insurance policies after a divorce. When this occurs depends on whose name is on the vehicle’s title. If spouses shared ownership of cars, you’d need to get vehicles retitled.

Retitle Vehicles

A car’s title signifies ownership of the vehicle. If the owner changes, like if your spouse bought a car that will transfer to you after the divorce, you’ll need to transfer the title. And since you can’t insure a car that’s not in your name, your ex can’t maintain insurance on the vehicle after the title transfer. You’ll need to take out your own insurance on the vehicle in your name.

If one of the partners is getting a new plan, make sure the new one is in place before getting off the old policy. You need car insurance at all times to drive legally in nearly every state.

When getting your own car insurance after a divorce, line up the policies’ effective dates, so you don’t have a coverage lapse between getting off the old policy and starting your new one. 

Your insurance company will help you out with this, whether you’re sticking with the same carrier and getting a new plan with them or switching companies altogether. Explain your situation, so they know how best to help.

If you think it would be easier to forego retitling and getting your own insurance, think again. You must retitle shared cars after a divorce. If you don’t take your name off your ex-spouse’s registration, you could be legally implicated if they get into an accident, and you may be on the hook for money or liability. You don’t want to continue having shared vehicle ownership just because it’s more convenient.

Know When to Split the Policies

If you shared a joint car insurance policy on a vehicle that is now going to one spouse, both people would need to consent to change the insurance before adding or removing a policyholder.

If a spouse was just a listed driver on a policy rather than a named insured, then removing that spouse – or that spouse leaving the policy – may not require consent from both parties. A listed driver can often be delisted or leave a policy anytime.

In some cases, insurers will let divorced couples stay on the same policy until renewal time. For instance, if a couple is getting divorced in April, but the current policy doesn’t expire until August, you may stay on the same policy until then if you’re still living together during the divorce proceedings.

But, if a couple separates and vehicles are going to be parked or kept at a different address than listed on the initial policy, then the carrier will likely want separate insurance plans immediately. Your car insurance provider needs to be notified of address changes. A change in address means a change in car insurance premiums.

Can I Remove My Spouse From My Car Insurance?

Yes, you can remove your spouse from your car insurance. You have to have the permission of your spouse to remove them from your policy if you’re both named insureds on the plan. 

Once both parties agree on ownership of vehicles, drivers should retitle cars and remove each other from plans as needed. Both people typically need new policies with updated addresses and vehicles.

If you need your spouse’s consent to remove them from the plan and can’t get it, you can inform the insurance company of your desire to remove them. They can try to reach out. If no one can get permission, it’s up to the insurance company’s rules on how to proceed. They’ll try to grant your wish for your own policy.

If you’re not a named insured on the plan, it’s easier to ask to be removed than to remove your spouse. If you own your car and want to get your own insurance after a divorce, you can ask the company to remove you.

As we mentioned earlier, you should have your own policy in place before removing yourself from your partner’s plan. A lapse in car insurance is bad for premiums and often illegal since you typically can’t drive without insurance

Who Pays for Car Insurance in a Divorce?

If both partners get separate policies, they’ll pay for their car insurance. If the couple has a teen driver, they need to determine who will pay for the teen’s car insurance, which can be addressed in the divorce statement.

If the teen is only going to stay with one parent, then the teen will go on that parent’s auto insurance plan. But, if the parents have joint custody and their teen will be driving both the parents’ cars, then the teen will need to be listed on both plans since, usually, all licensed members of an insured’s household need to be listed on a car insurance policy.

Having a teen driver will likely raise rates since teen drivers cost the most to cover. Splitting the cost of insuring your teen will probably need to be addressed in the divorce settlement. 

Single vs Divorced Car Insurance Rates

Getting divorced can raise your car insurance rates. Divorced and single people both tend to pay higher premiums than married couples. If you’re getting car insurance quotes, you may see a question about marital status, with both single and divorced as options. But, there’s no rating difference between them. You should choose “divorced” if you’re divorced.

Car insurers try to minimize their risk when taking on a policy as much as possible. This includes looking at personal factors like age, marital status, credit history, and more since these factors correlate historically with people filing claims.

So, when you’re getting auto insurance quotes, you’ll likely find a question asking your marital status, with both single and divorced options. Despite the distinction, there’s no difference in rates for choosing single vs. divorced.

There’s no reason to choose one over the other. You need to be honest with your insurance company. Knowingly misrepresenting yourself is fraud and can get your policy canceled.

Single and divorced people tend to file more auto insurance claims than married couples, so they generally pay higher premiums. But, you may decrease your rate after a divorce if your ex had a DUI or several serious citations on their record or if they had a bad credit score. Car insurers don’t like these. Such offenses could’ve been dragging down your premiums.

Car Insurance for Separated Couples

Car insurance for separated couples works similarly to car insurance for divorced couples. If the cars are kept at different residences, you will likely need two car insurance policies. If the pair continues to live in the same house after getting separated, staying on the same policy would probably be easier – if your provider allows it.

If separating from your spouse involves one of the spouses moving out and taking a car with them, your insurance company will want to know. Address is a major factor in car insurance premiums, and changing the insured address changes the policy.

If you’re looking for new car insurance during separation, contact Clovered. You can submit your information for an auto insurance quote with us online in minutes, and one of our licensed agents will get back to you soon. You can also call us at 833-255-4117 or email us at any time with questions about changing car insurance because of divorce.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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