Many families have more than one car - and that means their car insurance can be expensive.
But does it have to be so pricey ?
Picking a multi-car policy can reduce the amount you need to spend on insurance and give you more flexibility too. You'll get the same benefits as with single car insurance, but you'll get a discount for each car you add to the policy.
Let us show you how to get the right multi-car insurance and get the maximum benefit from it.
We'll talk about how to compare multi-car insurance policies, and we'll show a table of leading providers offering multi car insurance policies.
Table of Contents
What is a multi-car policy?
A multi car policy covers cars which belong to the same household and are kept at the same address.
There are two main types of multi car insurance:
- Linked policies: offer multi car discounts. Separate policy for each car.
- True multi car policies: all cars on a single policy. Single overall price usually will be less than for single policies.
Most of what we'll talk about in this article relates to the true multi-car policies.
What are the best multi-car insurances?
You may find that your existing insurer doesn't offer multi-car insurance. So which companies do multi car policies? There are a number of insurers which are prepared to offer significant discounts to win your business, and we've shown them in the table below.
Leading multi-car insurers
|Insurance providers||Multi-car discount||Our comment|
|15% discount for each extra car|
|10% discount on each car insured|
|Average discount of 20% to single policies|
|15% discount on each car insured|
These are all strong insurers who offer multi car insurance. Some offer multi car discounts while others offer single multi car policies. Lancaster, in particular, offers flexibility in adding new cars to the policy, or removing cars or drivers (for instance, if you replace your car, or if one of the family moves away).
Who’s a multi-car policy for?
Multi-car policies are good for :
- Families with several drivers. For instance a family in which both parents have cars, one of the youngsters is learning to drive.
- Couples who own a car each could also benefit from dual car insurance (that can simplify the admin and deliver a discount, but you'll need to get a 2 car insurance quote to make sure that it's cheaper than two separate policies).
Anyone with more than one car could also benefit. For instance, you might have a 'weekend' sports car and a less valuable car for everyday journeys (Admiral lets its multi-policyholders include a camper van). Insuring two cars with one driver is often cheaper with a multi-car policy. Some insurers will also cover personal and work cars (commercial vehicles excluded).
Remember though, all cars must be kept at your home address.
If you want the cheapest car insurance, multi-car insurance might be right for you. But it's also a boon for families with limited time, as the second type of policy means all the cars have their insurance renewed at the same time.
How does a multi-car policy work?
It's important to understand how multi-car insurance works.
First rule: a single address for all cars
Multi-car insurances cover a number of vehicles at one address.
Although some policies will cover one car kept away from home - for instance when children are at university or if you're working away from home for a few months - it won't cover a car that's kept elsewhere.
Second rule: one main driver for each vehicle
You will still need to choose a main driver and other named drivers for each car, just as you would for a normal policy.
Not everyone in the family can drive all the cars. This is where understanding how insurance operates is crucial. Insurers will offer you a premium rate based on their assessment of the risk that you or your car represent. So the car comparison might be important, but who you name as drivers will also make a difference.
Car insurance premium for a high specification sports car driven by a driver with 20 years' experience and a clean driving licence might still be lower than the one for an inexpensive car driven by someone with very limited experience.
Insurance providers also price on the basis of cover. If you choose fully comprehensive insurance with significant benefits and a low excess, that might be (not even sure) more expensive than just getting the third party, fire & theft. Here's the good news - many multi car insurances will let you choose cover levels for each car separately. So you can still economise where you want to.
For instance, as an experienced driver, you might choose to insure your expensive BMW up to the nines, while the student driver in the family will just get basic insurance to minimise the premium.
While you're thinking about multi-car deals, it's also worth looking at multi-car breakdown cover. Just like multi car insurance, it can give you a big discount.
Is it cheaper to get multi-car insurance?
There are no guarantees that multi-car insurance will be cheaper, because the mix of risks for cars and drivers in each family is different.
Sometimes, multi-car insurance will deliver the cheapest car insurance quote, but sometimes single cover for each car and driver will cost less.
However, speaking generally, multi car should deliver cheap car insurance, with a saving of somewhere between 10% and 15% per car (that's the level of multi car discount proposed by most insurers on separate policies insured at the same address.)
Obviously, your task is easiest if you only have two cars and two drivers. Then you'll be comparing two single policies against a 2 car insurance policy. If you have four drivers and five cars, on the other hand, there's a bit more work involved.
Is multi-car insurance simpler?
Even if a multi-car policy might not be a lot cheaper, it makes admin much easier.
There's only one insurer to deal with. Only one phone number anyone in the family needs to remember in the case of an accident, only one payment to make, and for online account management, a single login and password.
One Hastings car insurance login instead of four different accounts with Aviva, Admiral and AXA could dramatically simplify everyone's lives.
How other drivers and vehicles will impact my multi-car policy?
It's the mix of different drivers profiles rather than the number of drivers, that counts. You might think that adding an extra driver will increase your premiums. But in fact, if you add an experienced, lower risk driver, that could reduce your overall premiums.
It's not easy to predict how any individual car or driver will impact your policy.
Will a young or learner driver in the family push your premiums up? Will cheaper cars in a lower insurance Group pull your premiums down?
Remember that you need to name drivers. So for instance both parents in a family might be named as main and second drivers of each other's cars, but the younger son might just be allowed to drive the cheapest one. That could help keep the overall premiums down.
Don't be tempted, though, to indulge in 'fronting', telling the insurer that someone is the main driver of a car when they aren't. It's illegal, and is considered to be a serious fraud. Saving a few hundred pounds on the family's motor insurance is not worth going to prison for.
What happens to my No Claims Bonus with multi-car insurance?
With multi car insurance, each driver keeps their own No Claims Bonus.
If a driver in the household is involved in an accident, only their own No Claims Bonus is lost - not that of the other drivers.
Of course, that will still affect the cost of the insurance next year as you will have one driver with claim history in the mix. But if you, then, want to switch out to get your own single car policy again, you'll still get your No Claims Discount.
There is a slight problem with No Claims Bonus for those switching into a new multi-car policy, which is that if there's a timing difference between signing up for the new policy and completing your year with your last insurer, you might not receive that year's No Claims Bonus before moving. Check the smallprint of your policy before signing up.
Many insurers will let you add each car as its existing insurance falls due for renewal, so your bonus will be given you at the right time. You will even get a quote at the beginning of the year, so you know exactly what you'll pay when you switch each car into the multi-car policy.
What happens at renewal if I have a multi-car insurance ?
Insurers offering a single policy for multiple cars sync the renewal dates, so you'll be able to renew all your policies at once.
That can really simplify your life.
Insurers offering multi-car discounts on multiple policies keep each car on its own renewal cycle. So if you want the simplicity of a single renewal date, check that this is offered by the multi-car insurer you choose.
How many cars can I add on my multi-car policy?
Most insurers allow up to 5 cars on a multi-car policy.
Some policies go further and allow ten, which will suit larger families. Admiral for example, allows up to 7 cars on a single multi-car policy.
What you will need to get multi-car insurance quotes?
What you will need to get quotes?
You will need all the details you'd need for a single car policy:
- The registration number and details of the car
- Drivers’ names, ages, licence details and history.
Make sure you have all the relevant documentation before you start.
Remember that a car insurance comparison needs to consider factors such as the excess, and benefits like courtesy cars or breakdown cover, as well as simply price. Make sure you are comparing like-for-like cover. You'll also want to compare multi-car insurance policies from two or three insurers against single-car policies for each driver, so that you can get a good feel for how the different prices compare.
Here is a smart trick to help you get the cheapest multi car policy. On multi-car discount deals, insure the cheapest car first. This means your discount will be applied against the most expensive premiums (for a younger driver or more expensive car).
Suppose you have a Ford Ka and a top of the range Audi. Get the Ka insured first. Since your second car insurance will be discounted, you'll benefit from a much more significant discount against the Audi.