Whenever we talk about marriage and auto insurance, it's usually to remind people of discounts - married people get a lower insurance rate, after all, and often qualify for multi-car discounts, since most people bring their own cars into a marriage.
We also remind people that marriage comes with a host of administrative changes, including last names, addresses, and status changes, all of which must be addressed with each auto insurance company, as well as with employers, and - mainly for women - the Department of Motor Vehicles.
When it comes to auto insurance, however, there is also darker aspect of marriage: what if your new spouse has bad credit, a bad driving record, or even a DUI. These things can all affect you now, as well.
When a married couple shops for car insurance, especially if that couple already has a homeowners policy together, they are often considered to be one household rather than two individuals. If credit scores play a role in pricing insurance, the lower scores will be the determining factor. If your spouse has a DUI history, it may be difficult for you to get insurance as well.
There are a couple of things you can do to mitigate these situations.
First: Talk about all the scary financial stuff before you ever get married. It may take both of you to fix those credit scores, but more importantly, the stress of having a financial skeleton in your closet is going to taint your marriage.
Second: Shop around for auto insurance. Comparison shopping is always the best way to get the cheapest rates, but if you have a challenging situation (like a DUI, which stays on your record for up to five years, or too many tickets), some insurers may be willing to work with you more than others. Depending on where you live, state laws may allow two separate auto insurance policies within the same household, which means one of you will have less expensive insurance, at least.
Marriage is a wonderful thing, but getting married shouldn't mean risking your good standing with your insurance company, or your clean driving record. A little honesty and a lot of patience can help both of you find the right coverage at the right price, without worrying that you're not right for each other.