Multi-car insurance explained

Multi-car insurance is a cost-effective option offered by most car insurers that typically covers up to five vehicles on a single policy.

While it wasn’t always so, today it’s a very common occurrence for a household to have more than one car registered to it. In many married couples and partnerships these days, both individuals need access to their own car for work or to handle the school run and pick up supplies. In some cases, families have an older child living at home still, who also drives their own vehicle. With house prices rising, adults staying at home with their parents into their twenties and thirties is becoming far more common.

It’s not just families that have multiple vehicles parked outside either – groups of friends or flatmates that drive and share accommodation are another example. The number of cars attached to one property can quickly add up in these situations and you might be wondering if one insurance policy could cover all the cars and cut back on costs.

Multi-car insurance was developed for just this purpose, with car insurance providers offering opportunities for cost-saving measures via discounts, when more than one vehicle is registered at a single address.

If you’re interested in how this kind of cover works, who offers it and whether it’s worth it, read the following passages, where you’ll find multi-car insurance explained in full. We’ll also delve into just how much of a saving you could make and whether multi-car insurance can be a cheaper choice when you’ve got more than one vehicle you’d like to protect.

What is multi-car insurance?

In simple terms, multi-car insurance will typically cover up to five vehicles while offering the exact same benefits a standard car insurance policy will provide. The only real difference between standard car insurance and a multi-car policy is the discount your insurance provider will give you for insuring more than one vehicle with them.

On a single policy, described in just one set of paperwork, you can manage your insurance for multiple vehicles with ease. As the renewal date for each car will be the same, you can simply keep all your insurance up to date in one stroke. You’ll also discover that some car insurance providers will offer you discounts for each extra car you add to your multi-car policy.

Ideal for families with several drivers, multi-car insurance is also suited to couples each with a car of their own. This kind of cover is also a great match for a car owner with more than one vehicle. If your family has an older child studying at university and living away, some car insurance providers will even offer you cover for individuals at different addresses, although this is not across the board.

How does multi-car insurance work?

Providing the vehicles are all registered to one address, you’ll typically be able to select a different excess and level of cover for each of the vehicles on your multi-car insurance policy.

As a rule of thumb, a 12-month term policy will begin on the same date your last car insurance is due to be renewed on, with protection in the interim provided for your cars with short-term insurance cover. If you have a car, for example, that requires insurance from January and another that needs cover from April, the January car will be insured first, but the policy will in fact renew later in April when both vehicles are covered. After the last car on the policy has been insured for its full 12 months, your policy will renew every year until you opt for a different deal.

Generally, all the cars covered by the policy must be for your private use only. If you’ve got another vehicle you use for work, like a van for example, it can’t be added to a multi-car insurance policy.

It’s also worth noting that drivers insured by the multi-car policy can only drive the cars covered if they are registered as being their named drivers.

Is multi-car insurance cheaper?

When you’re seeking quotes for multi-car insurance policies, you should not only compare them to each other but against what it would cost you to insure each vehicle separately on its own policy. While multi-car insurance can offer discounts, it still might be possible to find individual policies that are more cost-effective.

The impact of other drivers on your policy can have a bearing on whether your multi-car insurance policy is cheaper or not. Age and experience of additional drivers can affect the overall costs significantly and your circumstances can influence whether a multi-car policy will be affordable.

An example of this would be a house with two adults and their son. Both adults are over 40 with clean driving licences, while the boy is 17 years old and has just passed his driving test. If they’re all on a multi-car insurance policy, the adults’ premium will increase with the addition of their son’s car to the policy as he’s a new driver, but he’ll benefit from their experience and his will lower.

If the son is covering his insurance costs himself, it could be cheaper to take out a policy on his own but add one of his parents to the policy, but only if they’ll use the car. However, if his parents are paying the bill for both car insurance policies, a multi-car option may work out to be a cheaper option.

Always shop around and conduct thorough research before committing to any policies and check out the no-claims discount and terms and conditions. You want to ensure that all drivers don’t lose their discount for no claims in the event that one of the drivers named on the policy is in an accident.

The vehicles on a multi-car insurance policy can also affect the financial value of a policy. New cars are designated car insurance groups and numbered on a range of one to 50. A vehicle assigned to group one is the cheapest to insure, with those in group 50 being the most expensive. Drivers wanting to pay as little insurance costs as possible should always opt for cars in lower groups even if they’re not using a multi-car insurance policy.

When you’re making a decision on whether multi-car insurance is a good fit for your household, consider the kinds of cars you’re planning to insure. If one of the vehicles is a sports car that’s expensive to insure, it might be worth taking out an individual policy for it with a specialist insurance broker, then find a multi-car policy for the rest of the cars registered to your address.

Remember to find out if it’s possible to add vehicles to your plan when your insurance expires to avoid paying to cover the same car twice. It’s also important to ensure you’re able to arrange insurance on the same policy if anyone in your household changes vehicle during the policy term. While most insurance providers will do this, the new vehicle that’s selected can have an impact on the premium.

Who offers multi-car insurance?

Multi-car insurance policies are readily available at a wide selection of insurance companies offering cover for automobiles. A quick search online will give you a list of top-rated providers to pick from and you can start to compare prices and what’s covered. Remember to look at the costs of different combinations of cover as well, along with standard car insurance policy prices too, as mentioned above.

Is multi-car insurance worth it?

Deciding whether a multi-car insurance policy is right for you will depend on several factors. Ask yourself what kind of drivers live at your address, how old are they, and what their experience is when it comes to driving? Consider the cars that you want to list on your policy – are they expensive to insure like a high-performance Porsche 911 in group 50, or more affordable group 10 vehicles like a Ford Fiesta?

Multi-car insurance is not a one-size-fits-all kind of cover. Look at your individual circumstances for your household and carry out some research to see what kind of policies are available.

For example, a family with an older child with multiple years’ driving experience, all with clean licences and owning three cars in a low insurance group, might benefit from multi-car insurance. A group of professional adults who share a house together, all drive, and run modest cars that don’t cost much to insure may also gain an advantage with this kind of cover.

However, if one of the drivers in your household is inexperienced, this will raise the premiums for others, meaning it might be worth putting them on a separate policy. The same is true if one of the cars at your address is in a high insurance group.

Always conduct comprehensive research on all policies available - both multi-car and standard policies - before committing and remember that a policy’s value will be determined by your household and the cars used within it.