If you’re part of one of the 26 million households in the UK that owns more than one car, multi-car insurance could be for you.
Your cars may be registered in different names – perhaps you and your partner each own a car – but you can insure them together with a multi-car policy.
That’s not only convenient, but it might even save you money.
What is multi-car insurance?
Multi car insurance is exactly what the name suggests. It is car insurance that covers more than one vehicle.
These policies offer the same benefits as standard car insurance, including a no-claims bonus available on each car, but they cover all the cars at a single address. In some cases, you may even be able to include family members living elsewhere – a child away at university with their own car, for example.
Broadly speaking, multi-car insurance can be set up in two different ways:
A policy for each car
You can have a policy for each car; these are linked, but each policy offers different levels of cover and benefits, and beyond the first policy, each new one attracts a discount.
This might be useful if you’re insuring children, where you might want to keep costs down by opting for lesser cover when they’re driving. It also means policies can start and finish on different dates.
A single policy for all cars
Alternatively, you can have a single policy for all the cars, which will usually offer the same level of cover for each driver and each vehicle.
While the policy will start and renew for all cars on the same date, don't get too hung up on timing.
If you want to move to a multi-car policy but currently have policies on vehicles that are up for renewal at different times, most insurers will make that easy for you. They just add each new car on to your policy as the previous insurer expires; in year one, you’ll pay a premium that reflects the fact that at least one car wasn’t insured for the whole year.
- Find out more: how to get cheap car insurance
Is it cheaper to insure multiple cars?
Not necessarily. While you should expect a discount on your premium for adding multiple cars, if the premium was far more expensive than for an equivalent individual policy to start with, you could still be paying more.
For this reason, it’s important to do your research before opting for a multi-car policy.
Start by finding out what it would cost to insure cars in your household individually; use several price comparison sites to get a quote for a new policy on each car, being careful to compare like with like policies and insurers (find our tips on comparing car insurance here).
Once you’ve got a total figure for paying separately, you can get quotes for multi-car policies, to see if they come in cheaper.
If you’re intending for your multi-car policy to start at different times for different cars, insurers should still give you an 'annual equivalent price', showing you what it would cost to insurer each vehicle for the full 12 months. This is the figure you need to compare with the total cost of standalone policies.
Which insurers offer multi car insurance?
Insurers that offer multi car insurance policies with the 'single policy for all cars' approach include:
There are also a growing number of insurers that offer discounts on additional cars you insure with them once you have one policy with them. These include:
Even if you’re not currently a customer with one of these insurers, there’s nothing to stop you taking out two policies a couple of weeks apart in order to secure the discount.
- Find out more: the best car insurers
How can you save money on multi car insurance?
Insurers price multi-car policies using the same factors as they apply to single policies. Important considerations include your age, your occupation, where you live and the vehicle itself.
The more drivers you have on the policy, the more variables there are to consider – and this can help you reduce costs.
- Provide an accurate mileage for all cars - if one car is driven infrequently, making the insurer aware of this may bring down the cost
- Different cover for different drivers - If you’re including a young driver, for example, consider insuring them on a third-party basis, rather than fully comprehensively, to bring down costs.
- Opt for a higher voluntary excess - this will bring down your premium, but make sure you could afford to claim if one or more of your cars was involved in an accident
- Haggle on renewal - look for multi car insurance quotes from other insurers and use them to negotiate with your current insurer, even if you've got no intention of moving
Many of the money saving strategies that work for individual car insurance policies also work for multi car insurance. We've put together a list of tips on saving on car insurance in our guide.
Multi car insurance and no-claims discounts
Typically, multi-car insurance considers no-claims discounts on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. So, if you make a claim for a problem with one car, it should not affect the no-claims discount you enjoy on other vehicles on the policy.
This is important, since a no-claims discount built up over a number of years can reduce premiums by a third or more.
The same principle applies as you build up no-claims discounts. Each car on the policy gets its own no-claims discount for each year it remains claim-free.
Keep in mind that not all insurers treat no-claims discounts in the same way and you could find more generous terms with an individual car insurance policy.
- Find out more: no-claims discounts and bonuses explained
Your questions about multi car insurance answered
What are the disadvantages of multi-car insurance?
With a multi-car insurance policy you’ll move to paying for all your cover at the same time. That might be a sizeable sum, even if it is less than standalone insurance combined, so having policies that come up for renewal at different times of year may be helpful.
It’s also important to recognise that putting a driver considered more risky – a young driver or someone with driving convictions, say – on a multi-car policy will increase its cost. Of course, that driver would pay more for standalone cover too.
If one person pays the premiums of everyone on the policy, this may not be a consideration, but if you pay individually, it’s something to consider.
Can you have multi-car insurance for cars at different addresses?
Yes, with certain insurers, but you’ll need to check. This can be useful for a student away at university, for example.
Can I add another car on my policy?
Yes, you don’t need to put all the cars on your household on your policy at the same time. As your existing insurance on a vehicle expires, you can add it to the multi-car policy at this point. The same applies if the household acquires a new vehicle.
Is it better to have joint car insurance?
For many households, the convenience of multi-car insurance is appealing, plus there is the potential to net a saving. But that will depend on the policy and your individual circumstances, and you’ll also need to consider the disadvantages.
How many cars can you have on multi-car insurance?
That depends on the insurer you choose, with different policies applying different rules. But most people should be able to find as much cover as they need. LV, for example, will allow you to hold up to six different cars and 12 different drivers on its multi-car insurance policy.