When you’re married, you share insurance policies with your spouse. When you’re separated or divorced, you need to make changes to all of your financial documents, including insurance.

You will want to contact your insurance company when a separation or divorce is beginning. Here’s a quick guide to navigating your auto and homeowner’s policies during this challenging time. 


Auto Insurance

Where you live will determine whether you can stay on the same car insurance policy while separated. 

    • If you’re at the same address, and that’s where your cars are parked at night, then you can keep the car insurance together for the time being.
    • Make sure your insurer has both spouses’ contact information. However, note that any correspondence, such as a copy of nonpayment information and a legal notice, will only be sent to the address on the policy.
    • If you have different addresses, because you are separated, that’s the time to get separate policies. As a side note, even if you are married and you keep the car at separate addresses, you may need separate policies. Your insurer sometimes can add a separate “garaging location” but you do need to notify the insurance company whenever addresses and vehicle locations change.


When you divorce, you will need individual car insurance policies.

    • That may mean that one person takes over the current policy and the other gets a new one, or you both get new ones and the original policy is canceled. There may be cancellation fees involved.
    • If both spouses are residing in the same household, both are still named insureds and only one person’s authorization is needed to cancel or change a policy. Once the ex is removed, the ex no longer has any input into what the insured does with the policy.   
    • If you share ownership of a car, you will need to get that car titled in one person’s name. You may need to revisit financing options as well if it is still being paid off.
    • Make sure you get the new policy before you cancel the old, or you could be penalized for a gap in coverage.


There may be a difference in price with the new policies.

    • Don’t be surprised if your rate goes up or down after divorce, even if you took over the original policy. For example, you will likely lose the discount given for being married. You may lose a multi-car or multi-policy discount. However, if your spouse’s driving record is worse than yours, your rate as a single person may be lower than it was as a couple.
    • Refinancing a house or buying a new car also can change your credit score, which is used to determine your rate.
    • Your new zip code will likely change the amount that you need to pay. Location is often factored into the insurance rate whether auto or home.


Teen drivers have to be included on the policy.

    • The car that your teen drives can only go on one policy. You will need to pick who is responsible for paying the insurance and that is where the teen/car will be rated.
    • If your son or daughter lives mostly at one location, your teen may be listed on the policy at that home. 
    • While insurers list everyone age 14+ on the policy, they only charge a premium if the teen is not insured elsewhere.  They don’t want to double insure any person or car.  
    • If your son or daughter regularly parks his or her car at both parents’ homes, your teen will still be covered at both locations.
    • Your divorce agreement can determine if your spouse contributes to the payment of the policy that covers your teen.


Homeowner’s Insurance

A homeowner’s policy can be maintained during a separation, but should be changed as soon as the divorce is finalized. At California Casualty, we typically wait until the divorce is final and/or the policy renewal date to move property policies from one account to another.

    • Only a named insured on the policy is authorized to make changes. Ideally, the changes should follow the separation agreement.
    • The effective date the change takes place depends upon your policy.
    • The spouse who moves out, but is still on the deed, should be named as an additional insured.


You will want to get renter’s insurance if you are moving out of your house.

    • Renter’s insurance is like homeowner’s insurance but for tenants. Starting at about $10 a month, it protects your personal belongings.
    • It will include personal liability coverage, an important safeguard if you’re found at fault for property damage or injuries at your place (and even around the world). 
    • It also can help if your apartment or home is unlivable, due to a covered loss. Insurance can cover the increase in living expenses. 


Your homeowner’s policy should be listed under whoever keeps the house.

    • If one spouse gets the house in the divorce, the homeowner’s policy must be transferred to their name.
    • Your insurer will rewrite the policy based on updated personal property coverage and the current needs of the homeowner. Any umbrella policies should be reviewed.
    • Ask for ways to keep your rates affordable, such as bundling home and auto, or buying a home security system.
    • Ask about discounts, too. California Casualty offers discounts to nurses, educators, and first responders.




This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

California Casualty

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