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Can you have two insurance policies on one car?

For most drivers, insurance is one of the least enjoyable parts of owning a car – so you might wonder why anyone would insure a car twice. In reality, if a car is insured twice, it’s usually because of an oversight or error – rather than a desire to pay two premiums! 

Here, we’ll look at why you might end up with two insurance policies on one car if you’re a UK driver; what can happen if you do have double insurance; and what to do if two people want to insure the same car with cheap car insurance.

Can you have two car insurance policies?

It’s actually not uncommon for two insurance policies to be running at the same time for a vehicle. For many people, this will just happen for a short time – perhaps as you switch providers and there’s a day or a week where you’re still covered by your old insurer, but your new company’s policy is also in force.

In some cases, a car will have two insurance policies running because of how automatic renewals work. Insurance companies usually require notice if you do not intend to renew your cover with them for the subsequent year. If you miss this notice period, you might find the insurance starts again automatically – even if you’ve taken out a policy with a new company.

Does double insurance mean double pay-outs?

If you’ve been paying a second insurance premium for the same car and you’re involved in an accident, you’ll get a double pay-out, right?

As appealing as a double pay-out might sound, this isn’t how the law around insurance works.

Car insurance in the UK is based around the principle of ‘restitution in full’. So, if your car is involved in an accident, your insurance company will aim to put you back into the position you were in before the accident. Usually, that means getting a new car or having your damaged car repaired, as well as settling any personal injury claims or additional cover you might have.

If you were able to claim from two insurance companies, you’d be in a better position than before your accident. If, for instance, your damaged car was replaced with two new cars, you go beyond restitution in full – and into a position known legally as ‘betterment’. 

A great deal of insurance fraud is based around this idea of betterment. If your garage was broken into and you claim for tools you never owned, you’re in a better position than before the incident – defrauding the insurance company. If two car insurance claims were made for the same accident, this would therefore also be considered fraudulent. 

Since insurance companies communicate with one another to prevent fraud, you’ll never end up with two pay-outs. As such, having two insurance policies in place isn’t illegal – as you’ll only ever receive the full insured amount, never more.

What happens in the event of a claim?

While we’re on the subject of communication between insurance companies, it’s worth exploring what happens in the event of a claim when you’ve got two policies in place.

In some cases, you may simply be able to choose which insurer you wish to claim through. However, some insurers work with ‘contribution clauses’ – stating that if two or more parties protect the same vehicle, they will only be liable for part of the pay-out.

This is when things can get tricky. 

It’s not uncommon for different insurance companies to decide on different valuations for your car. If you’re insured through two companies and they don’t agree on the valuation, they won’t be able to agree on how much should be paid out – and a dispute between the providers will result. Although this kind of dispute will be dealt with professionally with no input needed from you – it can take a long time. 

During that time, your car is likely to be waiting for repair or replacement – and since courtesy car cover generally only runs for so long, you might find yourself without any transport, simply because you’d doubled up on your insurance cover.

Quite simply, since there’s no benefit to being insured with two companies, it’s worth avoiding.

Can two people insure the same car?

As car insurance is linked to both the person driving and to the vehicle, two people insuring the same vehicle is a little different to one person having two insurance policies for the same car.

The claims process becomes far easier. After all, even if there are two insurance policies, only one person could be driving the car when the accident occurred. As such, the driver’s policy will be used, and the other policy will carry on unaffected. 

If you plan to drive someone else’s car, either using temporary cover, or a full annual policy of your own, you’ll simply need to let your insurer know that you do not own the vehicle. There are some insurers who will only let you insure a vehicle if it belongs to your spouse or partner, a parent, your employer, or a lease company – but others are more flexible. 

It’s worth noting that insurers can sometimes consider you a greater risk if you don’t own the car you’re insuring. Rightly or wrongly, there’s an assumption that you would be more careful with a car that you’re financially responsible for – so you may find quotes are slightly higher if the car’s not yours. Don’t worry though; with, you’re unlikely to have this problem – since our comparison service means you can pick the quote that’s best suited to you and your budget.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

The level of cover you need when it comes to car insurance depends on what you want to be able to claim for.

There are many factors that determine the price of car insurance, and some drivers find that the cost of their premiums starts to decrease once they hit a certain age.

In general, the earliest you can get an insurance quote is around 30 days before you need the cover to start.

Although it will be registered, getting car insurance quotes does not have an impact on your credit rating, so it won’t be taken into account if you apply for a loan or other form of credit in the future.

Comparing car insurance quotes is quick and easy, especially if you use a broker or comparison website. Simply enter your details and you’ll be able to browse and compare quotes from different providers.

Many insurance companies will price match – especially if you’re renewing your insurance with them. It’s not uncommon for providers to offer exceptional prices if you’re a new customer – but not be quite as competitive when you get your auto-renew price. There’s no harm in asking for a price match – the worst they can say is no!

If you’re using your vehicle for anything related to the work you do, then you’ll need to let your insurer know and pay for the right level of cover. If you don’t – you may find you’re driving illegally.

Your job can be a factor when an insurance company is working out how much to charge for your premium - and this can mean that there are certain good occupations for cheap car insurance.

Generally, car insurance payouts are not taxable. The only exception to this rule is if any repair done to your car actually boosts its value – but the way insurers work means this is unlikely to happen.

Yes - a car insurance provider can find out if you have any penalty points on your driving licence, even if choose not to disclose them during the application process.