Why does my car insurance premium go up when I remove my wife?

I was messing around with my car insurance policy to see if I could get my premium to go down a little bit, so I was just curious; How much is my wife making my premium go up?

As it stood, my premium was at about $425/6 months, so I removed my wife….. Guess what happened? It went up to $550/6 months. Why is that? Do insurance companies think I’ll be more foolish if I don’t have a wife? Could it be beneficial to insure another person with a perfect record? Could that make your premium go down?

3 thoughts on “Why does my car insurance premium go up when I remove my wife?

  1. Noah

    Source: I worked as an IT consultant for a major US multi-line insurance company, working on policy rating – Property and Casualty.

    A few notes:

    • You can’t simply remove your wife if she ever drives; she needs to be insured. She may need to be insured if she doesn’t drive, but has a driver’s license. She will be if she’s a named owner of any of the vehicles listed on your policy. (Varies by State)
    • “Do insurance companies think I’ll be more foolish if I don’t have a wife?” – Yes… Yes, they do. And they have statistics to back it up.
    • Women are statistically less likely to get into accidents, so companies charge a lower premium
    • “Could it be beneficial to insure another person with a perfect record? Could that make your premium go down?” – In general, adding more people means adding more liabilities. Marital status, gender, and age happen to be a major calculating factors in policy premiums.

    Somewhat Off-Topic, but Major Note about Insurance Policies

    • Insurance company base rates are not actually controlled by the company, they’re controlled/approved by the state’s Department of Insurance (DOI)
    • Insurance companies submit specs to the DOI for their proposal for a base rating structure for insurance policies in that state.
    • The Department will either accept (unlikely) or reject with suggested revisions. Rinse/repeat 4-12 times until the proposal is finally accepted.
    • It’s important to note that because of this process, and the difference in employees at the DOI, every company that can issue policies in a state are operating with a slightly (or drastically) different set of rating rules.
    • Aside from the base rate, the insurance company may charge modifiers, and slowly lower them over time (under the guise of a loyalty discount). So your additional markup may start at 15%, then slowly lower to a 7% markup.
    • A mathematically-adept underwriter will then use a set of rough guidelines for how they want to rate any policy quote coming in.

    To address the root of the issue

    If you want to get a lower insurance premium ($425 semi-annually isn’t that bad, by the way), get an independent insurance agent, and ask for 3 to 5 quotes for car insurance (selecting your coverage and options). Independent insurance agents aren’t tied to any single company, and if you ask for multiple quotes, you know they’re providing you with actual insurance data (rather than just an email summary). If you’re able to get a lower premium, your insurance agent will be able to find it.

    If you find one that’s about the same, you may want to consider having a cancellation letter drafted, and call your current insurance company, notifying them of your intent to cancel because you found better coverage elsewhere. They will usually max out your discount modifiers (as allowed by the state) to keep you, particularly if you have a good driving record.

    WARNING: Don’t do this unless you’re prepared to actually cancel your account and switch. Some companies don’t care, and would rather push the ‘risk’ on to somebody else. I lowered my premium from $698/6mo to $440/6mo like this (felt bad for my insurance agent, though, he lost his commission).

    P.S. Insurance agents don’t cost you any money. They get a commission from the insurance company (a sort of “finder’s fee”) that insurance companies aren’t allowed to bill you for.

  2. Laythesmack

    Maybe you have more points, accidents, and or past claims. Maybe her driving record is impeccable, and or been driving longer than you. Switch it around, use her as the primary and leave yourself out of the policy. Most states allow you to be a driver in any insured vehicle, so even if your not on the policy, you’ll be covered in case of an accident. Pro your policy would be low, or lower. Con, you’re not on the policy. It really depends on the insurance company, but worth asking.

  3. MrChrister

    I am going to start with the assumption that actuaries are more scientist that moral guide post.

    Yes. The insurance companies thinks you are less risky as a married person. They are completely convinced your behavior is more risky as a single person. The proof is in the lower premium. As to why? I will have to assume they are statistics and data that show a clear trend.

    Luckily in the US, car insurance is a very competitive market, and therefore price is managed as closely as it can be by Insurance underwriters. To balance the need for profit and the importance of low price, data is a big deal. Data is a key asset for insurance companies.

    Did you know that airbags and seat belts in cars (and lots of safety features) are in no small part to insurance companies getting laws passed to make the vehicle safer? Do you think the corporate people at BigCo Insurance are really concerned about you, or their profit? Safer cars means fewer payouts. Data told them that seat belts save lives and saving lives is good for the bottom line in the insurance industry.

    p.s. No, you can’t just add somebody else to your policy and get the same discount, if that other person isn’t your spouse, they will know and the same discount won’t apply.

    (I assume that last point, I don’t have access to insurance industry data.)

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