How to Separate Auto Insurance After a Divorce

Last Updated on September 4, 2021

When you get a divorce, you need to separate many aspects of life – including car insurance.

Separating car insurance after a divorce should be straightforward. However, if you own multiple vehicles or have bundled multiple policies together, then things could get complicated.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about separating auto insurance after a divorce.

The First Steps

Generally, the first step is to contact your insurance company to verify any state-specific and insurer-specific policies on divorce.

How to Separate Auto Insurance After a Divorce

The first steps vary depending on your state and your insurance company. Some states allow you to separate financial policies immediately after separation. Other states or insurers require you to wait.

The first steps also vary depending on your personal situation. Some couples are ready to start separating financial matters immediately. Other couples remain on the same car insurance policy for years after separating.

On most insurance documents, you and your spouse are listed as named insured individuals. As a named insured individual, you cannot remove another named insured without written permission. Even if you contact your insurance company to remove your ex from your policy, your insurer may deny your request.

After the Divorce is Finalized

Most insurance companies allow you to remain on the same policy until the divorce is finalized.

You can separate the policy before the divorce is finalized. However, you are not required to do so until the divorce is finalized.

Other insurers allow you to remain on the same policy until the renewal date. If your divorce is finalized in October 2022 and your car insurance policy expires on November 30, 2022, then you may be able to remain on the same policy until the renewal date.

Rules vary between insurers. Contact your insurer to verify any divorce-specific restrictions.

Who Gets a New Car Insurance Policy?

After a divorce, you no longer share a car insurance policy. Instead, you have two separate policies. In this situation, one spouse effectively ‘receives’ the current policy, while the other spouse takes out a separate policy.

However, some insurers cancel the joint policy and issue new, separate policies for either person.

Remember: your insurer already knows information about you, your ex-spouse, your vehicles, your driving histories, and other factors that impact car insurance. Based on these factors, your insurer should be able to quickly issue a new policy with similar features to your old insurance policy.

How Divorce Impacts the Cost of Car Insurance

Divorce could cause the cost of car insurance to go up or down. Insurers use hundreds of factors to calculate the cost of car insurance. Divorce affects several of those factors, which means you could pay more or less for your car insurance.

Let’s say you have a clean driving record but your spouse has multiple DUIs and speeding tickets. In this situation, you have been paying thousands of extra dollars per year through your joint policy. You are a safe driver to insure, while your spouse is a risky driver to insure. After you get a divorce and separate insurance policies, you can expect to save thousands of dollars per year on car insurance.

If you both have clean driving records, then other factors could impact car insurance. Typically, married drivers pay less for car insurance than single drivers. Because you’re no longer married, you could pay more for car insurance.

Your location also matters. Insurers use your ZIP code to calculate insurance premiums. Some ZIP codes have riskier roads and higher crime rates than others. If you moved to a new address after the divorce, then this new address could significantly change your insurance premiums.

Insurers give discounts when bundling multiple policies together. If you bundle car insurance policies with a home insurance policy, then you could be saving hundreds per year across all policies. When you get divorced, you separate this bundle into individual policies, which could raise premiums.

How to Separate Auto Insurance After a Divorce: A Step by Step Guide

Separating auto insurance after a divorce can be straightforward or difficult, depending on your situation. Here are the steps to take when getting started.

  • Step 1) Call your Insurance Company: Start by contacting your insurance agent or insurance company. Explain the situation. The agent may ask for the date of separation or the date the divorce expects to be finalized. The agent can explain the next steps to take, including when you need to separate policies (like on the date of separation, the date the divorce is finalized, or the date the policy expires). The agent will need to know a new address for one spouse (assuming one spouse is moving to a new address).
  • Step 2) Swap Vehicle Titles: Many couples own vehicles that are titled in both spouses’ names. During a divorce, you need to retitle the vehicle to be in one person’s name. Contact your insurance company and your state’s DMV to sort out vehicle titles. It should be easy to remove one spouse’s name from a vehicle title, assuming you have permission from both parties. If one party is changing their last name during the divorce, then you may need to update state registration and title records with the DMV.
  • Step 3) Separate Insurance Policies: Most insurance companies try to separate insurance policies as closely as possible to the vehicle retitling date. If you just retitled your vehicle, then it’s an ideal time to swap insurance policies. Contact your insurer to ensure each vehicle is insured in the correct spouse’s name.
  • Step 4) Sign a Removal Request: Once your new insurance policy is in place, you can remove yourself from the previous, joint insurance policy (if your insurer hasn’t already done so). Most insurers require you to submit a signed removal request to complete this process.
  • Step 5) Cover Dependent Drivers: If you have teenaged children on your insurance policy, then make sure the teenagers are covered before canceling your old insurance policy. For divorced parents, most insurers only require the teenage driver to be listed on one insurance policy, even in joint custody situations.

That’s it! Divorce is a complicated process, but separating auto insurance policies should be straightforward.

Other Things to Know About Car Insurance and Divorce

Getting a divorce and separating car insurance policies can be complicated. Other things to know about car insurance and divorce include:

It’s a Great Time to Compare Quotes: Insurance experts recommend comparing quotes whenever you go through a major life change – including a divorce. Compare quotes to ensure you’re paying the lowest possible rates for your insurance policy.

You May Be Able to Stay on a Joint Policy Post-Divorce: Some insurers allow you to remain on the same policy after a divorce, at least until your insurance policy’s renewal date. Other insurers require separate insurance policies as soon as the divorce is finalized.

Insurance Premiums May Go Up or Down After a Divorce: After a divorce, most people pay higher insurance premiums. Instead of bundling multiple policies and vehicles together, you’re paying for individual policies. Similarly, going from ‘married’ to ‘single’ can affect risk regardless of your driving habits. Expect insurance premiums to rise anywhere from 10% to 30% after your divorce.

Avoid a Lapse in Coverage: A lapse in insurance coverage can be devastating. Make sure your new insurance policy starts the date your old policy is scheduled to expire. Otherwise, you have a lapse in coverage.

Final Word – Separating Auto Insurance After a Divorce

Divorcing a spouse requires a lot of paperwork – including car insurance paperwork. Fortunately, you’re not the first couple to get divorced, and most insurers have plenty of experience dealing with divorced couples.

Contact your insurer to verify the steps required for separating your auto insurance policies during a divorce.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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