Car insurance in Canada is expensive. Ontario auto rates, for instance, are among the highest in the country. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the General Insurance Statistical Agency, the average annual premium in the province was $1,655 in 2020.
But it’s not just where you live that can affect your premium. Insurers may also look at your relationship status before offering you a quote – so here’s how your marital status can impact your car insurance bill.
Why does marital status affect car insurance?
When you fill out a car insurance application, you’ll be asked a series of questions, including whether you’re married or common-law. Premiums can be lower for those in committed relationships, living under the same roof. The thinking is that the driving activity of this group will be less risky than a single person living on their own. Married people tend to go out less and participate in fewer dangerous situations, like speeding or drunk driving.
And the average age that a person in Canada gets married is about 30 years old, so most married couples are also well past the years when insurance premiums are elevated – they would most likely have many years of driving experience already.
How does marital status affect car insurance?
Because married couples tend to share one car, the cost of insurance per person can be lower as only one person can drive the vehicle at a time. The person who drives more would be the primary driver and the spouse would be the secondary. Adding a secondary driver who has a clean driving record is relatively inexpensive. Insurers see married couples as more likely to drive cautiously since they may have young children in the car and be more on alert.
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Which provinces look at your marital status to calculate car insurance rates?
Any insurers in Canada can ask you about your relationship status, but only some actually include it in their risk assessment. In Ontario, Alberta and Quebec your marital status will typically be taken into consideration when determining your premium. On the other hand, insurance companies in Manitoba and BC won’t this factor into the rate calculation.
In Nova Scotia, rules have been in place for nearly 20 years in an effort to protect auto insurance consumers against discrimination. The regulations prohibit providers from refusing to issue or renew a car insurance policy for an existing or potential customer on many grounds, including age, gender, vehicle age, and marital status.
Combining your car insurance after marriage
It makes sense for both partners to be insured through the same company. This will allow the insurance company to provide you with the best rates. Combining policies is usually cheaper than getting two separate policies for each car. There may be exceptions, however, such as if one of the drivers does not have a good record. In this case, getting separate policies could make more sense.
The bottom line
When you get married, always shop around to see which insurance company is offering you the best rate as you may receive a so-called “marriage discount.” Start with the providers you are already with. As well, combining your auto and home insurance could save you more too.
And while being married can you save you money, it’s not always the case, so don’t tie the knot just to save on your insurance premiums. A driver with a bad driving record will always be more expensive to insure, regardless of marital status.