Whether you’re getting married, putting your teen behind the wheel for the first time, or buying your first home, a big life change can have a ripple effect on your finances.
While it might not be top of mind, one of those effects could be your car insurance. There’s a lot more that goes into calculating your rates than the standard questions about age, gender, and driving record. When you hit a major milestone in life, your new status can impact those rates in unexpected ways.
Here are five events that might trigger a change in your insurance.
1. Getting Married
Good news for honeymooners: in most cases, being married will lower your car insurance rates! Adding a partner to your insurance could spell savings for your household, especially for younger couples. It turns out that married people are less likely than single people to get into accidents. Ah, the perks of true love.
2. Buying a Home
One of the biggest milestones in life is buying your first home. While homeowners coverage is a must, becoming a homeowner might actually affect your car insurance, too.
Like married people, homeowners tend to see better rates on car insurance. Those savings could be even higher when you bundle your auto and homeowners policies with the same insurer (not to mention more convenient).
Buying a home also means that you might want to take a look at boosting your auto coverage. Look for polices that protect your assets and take care of legal costs-bodily injury, uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury and property damage are your best options. As you build up equity in your home, you’ll want to make sure your investment is safe, no matter what happens.
3. Adding a Teen Driver
As nervous as you may be to see your teenage child in the driver’s seat for the first time, you’ll feel better when they’re protected under your insurance policy.
Teen drivers need to be covered as soon as that driver’s license is in their hands. Your rates will probably increase, because this age group has much higher accident rates than older drivers, which makes them riskier to insure.
However, there are a few things you can do to help keep your rates low. For instance, when you add your teen to your policy, check to see if you qualify for a multi-driver discount. Likewise, if your teen has his or her own car, you could get the multi-car discount. Good students can help lighten the load as well. Many insurers offer discounts to young drivers who keep their grades up.
4. Getting Divorced
If you and your spouse are parting ways, it’s important to make sure both of you-and any dependents you might have-are still covered.
Once you’ve divvied up the cars, you and your ex will need to get separate policies. The change in circumstances makes this a good time to comparison shop, especially because you may be losing out on discounts you enjoyed as a married couple (for instance, a multi-car discount).
If you’ll be sharing custody of teen drivers, check with your insurance company to find out whether you both need to list your teen on your policy-and factor that into any quotes you get.
5. Getting a Raise
Now that you’ve got a little extra cash in your pocket (and perhaps some financial benefits, like stock), it’s time to take another look at your policy. Consider upping some of your coverages, like bodily injury and property damage, to make sure that if an accident happens, your income (and growing savings) will be protected. These policies cover medical bills as well as legal fees if someone involved decides to sue. Putting a little extra money toward your premium today can pay off big time down the road.
During a major life event, there’s a lot to think about. If you need help figuring out how to handle the big changes (insurance-wise, that is), talk to your insurer to make sure you’re adequately protected-and getting the best deal possible.
Eric Madia is Vice President of Product Design at Esurance, where he is responsible for designing the company’s personal lines products. Eric has 23 years of experience in the industry, focused primarily on underwriting, pricing, and product innovation. You can follow him on twitter @Erictheactuary.