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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Same-sex couples are slowly becoming more accepted by society. Although gay marriage is a hot political issue in some states, more and more companies are allowing individuals to enjoy domestic partner benefits regardless of marital status or gender. For example, same-sex couples can claim each other on some health insurance plans or take out bank accounts together.
Auto insurance is one area that most same-sex couples can share with minimal difficulties. By default, auto insurance is purchased by the owner of a vehicle to pay for the damage on that vehicle. If two names are on a vehicle’s title, both owners will be protected by the insurance. Additionally, most auto insurance companies will automatically insure all members of a household who have access to a vehicle.
Why should I add someone to my car insurance policy?
Car insurance primarily covers the vehicle, regardless of who is driving the car. This varies from one company to the next, but in most cases if you carry insurance on a vehicle, damage to that car will be paid no matter if the person driving is listed on your policy.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t try to add your partner to your insurance, however. Having your partner listed as a driver on your vehicle extends additional coverage to that individual. For example, if you carry personal injury protection coverage on your vehicle, it will pay for any listed operator or resident relative who is injured by a vehicle. This coverage extends beyond your own vehicles and covers injuries sustained while a passenger in another vehicle or even hit as a pedestrian. If your domestic partner is not listed on your policy, he or she may not be able to obtain those benefits.
The other reason to add your partner to your car insurance is so that he or she can take care of any claims on your policy in the event of an emergency. If you are involved in a car accident and no one else is listed on your policy, your insurance company will not be able to handle the claim until you speak with them; if you sustain serious injuries, this could be extremely inconvenient.
Some car insurance companies do not operate this way. Rather than insuring anyone in a household, these policies require that you name each individual driver by name on the insurance. If a driver is not listed on the policy, he or she will be considered an excluded driver and any accidents he or she causes will be rejected by the insurance company.
The responsibility to pay for a car accident lies on the owner of the vehicle, not the person who caused the accident. If a claim is denied, you will need to pay for the damage out of pocket. If you cannot afford to pay for the damage, you may have your license suspended until the damage is paid off. This is why it is imperative to only allow people to drive your vehicle if they are covered under your insurance policy. If you don’t know whether your insurance company excludes all non-listed drivers, be sure to ask your agent before allowing anyone to drive your car.
Who can be added as an additional driver?
Most car insurance companies will allow you to add anyone you’d like as an additional driver on your policy. This means that you can add roommates, neighbors, relatives or domestic partners without any issues. In some cases, you may not be able to add your partner as the co-owner of the policy unless he or she is the listed owner of the vehicle. The reason for this is because insurance payments can be made to either named insured on a policy, and that named insured must have the legal rights to the vehicle. With married couples this right is implied, but with same-sex couples you may need to add both names to the vehicle’s title. Either way, obtaining car insurance in both of your names should not be very difficult.
If you are purchasing new auto insurance coverage, you should be sure to ask your insurance company whether there will be any problems adding your domestic partner to your policy. The agent or customer service representative will be happy to discuss your options with you and develop a policy that meets your needs.