This article has been updated from a previous version.
You might not have given much thought to your marital status when getting a car insurance policy, but did you know that in some provinces it can have an impact on your premium?
Depending on where you live and what insurance provider you’re with, your marital status can be used as a factor in determining your rate.
Why does marital status affect car insurance rates?
There are a few different theories as to why and how marital status affects car insurance rates.
The first is that those who are married tend to be older than single drivers, and therefore would have accumulated more years of driving experience and insurance history.
Drivers in their mid-to-late 20s to mid-50s enjoy some of the best rates when it comes to car insurance. This is likely because they have built up a good amount of driving and insurance history, which can help show insurance providers that they are not as risky to insure — provided they have a clean driving record and haven't made a lot of claims. Car insurance for those 25 years old and under is some of the most expensive, as new drivers and their limited (or lack of) driving experience is seen as more of a risk.
Another reason why marital status can affect car insurance rates is that spouses living under the same roof may both drive the insured vehicle, even if only one spouse’s name is on the insurance policy. This changes the risk profile of insuring that vehicle.
Insurance providers may also assume that married people drive more safely. For instance, they might be more likely to have kids in the vehicle with them, which prompts them to drive more cautiously both as a means to protect their children and set a good example for them.
Which provinces use marital status in determining auto insurance rates?
No matter where you live in Canada, an insurance provider can ask you about your marital status. However, there are only some provinces in which your marital status can be used to determine your risk profile and, subsequently, your car insurance rate.
For example, car insurance companies in Ontario can and do use a person’s marital status as part of their risk assessment profile, which is then used to determine and set rates. Insurance providers in Alberta and Quebec also use marital status when determining auto insurance rates.
In provinces like Manitoba and British Columbia, however, insurance companies do not take marital status into account when determining auto insurance rates. And in Nova Scotia, the government has gone so far as to ban insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew auto insurance policies based on marital status.
Keep in mind that not every insurance company uses marital status when determining your rates, which is why it’s so important to shop around when looking for auto insurance.
How to save on car insurance
Of course, marital status is just one of many factors insurance providers in some provinces consider when determining a person’s premium.
The best way to save on car insurance — married or not — is to maintain a clean driving record. Follow the rules of the road whenever you’re behind the wheel and practise defensive driving. And be sure there’s no gap in your insurance coverage.
You can also choose the most basic level of coverage for your specific driving needs and consider going with a higher deductible to help cut the cost of your insurance premium. Also, consider the type of vehicle you drive. Luxury or exotic vehicles, for instance, often cost more to insure as their repairs are more costly than basic models.
Be sure to ask about discounts. Many insurance providers offer savings for those who bundle more than one policy, have taken a driver’s education program, or are students. And finally, don’t be afraid to compare car insurance rates online before your policy is up for renewal each year.
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