How does multi-car insurance work?
Owning a car means you need car insurance. If you're lucky enough to own two or more, or if the members of your household all need separate cars, you'll need to insure all of them. But taking out separate policies for each vehicle could become very expensive very quickly.?
So, what can you do to save money? Well, why not try a multi-car policy??
Multi-car insurance lets you bundle all your car?insurance policies together with a single insurer, either as multiple policies held together?or merged into a single policy. You may even get a discount on your premiums if you do this.
For multi-vehicle households, it's?a convenient way to manage the insurance. However, it's worth pointing out that there's no guarantee it'll be the cheapest option for your circumstances.
What's included in multi-car insurance?
As with a standard car insurance policy, multi-car policies will usually last for one year. You may be able to spread the cost of the policy across 12 months, though this may well incur interest charges.
Depending on your provider, a comprehensive multi-car policy could include any of the following as standard, or as an optional add-on:
- First car discount
- Courtesy car
- European cover
- Windscreen repair
- Stereo cover
- Personal injury cover
- Sat-nav cover
- Emergency helpline
- No claims bonus match
It's worth noting that if you bring several single car insurance policies together under one insurer to gain discounts, they may each contain different benefits and add-ons that can't be shared across all policies.
Compare your multi-car insurance policy
A multi-car policy can cover two or more vehicles, but the number is likely be capped at a specific limit. Always check the terms and conditions from your provider.
So, if you've got a large family who all need cars, it'd be worth checking how many cars you can have covered at once.
At the time of writing in September 2018, some offered cover for six cars, but the majority of providers offered to cover between two and five vehicles.
If you link independent policies together for a multi-car discount, you may be able to insure even more cars on your policy?– up to 10 or more, depending on the insurer.
Double-check with your chosen provider how many cars they'll accept for a multi-car policy.
What's the best multi-car insurance?
Unfortunately, we can't actually tell you which one is the best policy?– that depends on your circumstances and which policy or policies you think best suits your budget.
A multi-car deal may give you greater flexibility and help you spread the cost of insurance across the year, for example.?
However, it may not be cheaper than taking?out multiple individual policies. And there are a number of other factors you should take into account before committing.
As a word to the wise, it's best to review?how the insurer deals with?no claims discounts:
- Read the terms and conditions carefully to see if your no claims bonus?can be transferred to your multi-car policy
- Renewal may need to be at the same time for all policyholders. So, be aware that if you switch to a multi-car policy part-way through an existing policy, you'll miss out on your no claims bonus for that year, and may not be able to get a refund on unused premiums
- There may be problems transferring a no claims bonus accrued on a multi-car policy if you choose to change provider?– or switch to a single-vehicle policy?– in the future
Renewal dates can present another hurdle. If your cars aren't all up for renewal at the same time, you may?be rightfully concerned?about the cost of adding cars at a later date.?
If you've just renewed your policy, but your children both go off to separate universities in two months' time and need their own cars, this could make for an awkward set of renewal dates.
Some providers will let you get a quote for the second car when you take out cover for the first, and guarantee to lock-in this price when the second vehicle's renewal is due.
One common way of dealing with them is to open the policy with one car, and join the other vehicles in when they reach their own renewal dates.
With this method, the cars that join the policy later may be insured up to the original car's auto-renewal date?– on a pro-rata basis?– but this will vary between insurers.
Some will allow each individual policy within the multi-car deal to run and renew on its own timescale. Others will demand that each individual policy renews at the same time.
The latter example could potentially see you losing out on months of cover from an existing policy in order to synchronise all the vehicles into a multi-car deal.
It's also worth being aware of the?administration charges?associated with the policy, especially given the fact that multiple people and vehicles increase the likelihood of changes needing to be made during the course of the policy term.
Potential changes to bear in mind could include a change of address or vehicle. And if the whole household moves, this could result in an admin fee for each driver on the policy.
No claims bonus and your multi-car insurance?
New customers can buy multi-car insurance policies, but always read the small print carefully. There will be different terms and conditions with each provider.?
For instance, it's definitely worth checking if?your preferred multi-car policy will absorb the no claims bonus of other listed drivers. This could be described as 'matching' their bonus.
It is also worth making sure that each car listed on a multi-car?policy?can earn its own no claims bonus.
On the other hand, an incident-free driver on a multi-driver policy may sadly lose out because of a claim made by someone else.
How straightforward is multi-car insurance comparison?
"Comparing multi-car policies can prove quite tricky, given the complex nature of the service. Unfortunately, this also means that there's no single answer as to whether a multi-car policy will prove cheaper than taking out individual policies for each vehicle," says Matt Oliver, GoCompare's car insurance expert.
Whether you save or not?depends on the large number of factors used to calculate an insurance quote, each of which is assessed and rated differently by each different insurance provider.
The only real way to see if you can save is to obtain individual quotes?– which we can help you find quickly and easily here at GoCompare?– then compare the total price to a quote for a multi-car policy.
It might be worth looking at more than one multi-car quote, given how variable the deals offered by different providers can be.
If a multi-car policy is the cheapest and best way for you to arrange your cover in one year, remember that this won't necessarily be the case when it comes to renewal.
Providers are likely to be keen to push the benefits of the ease and convenience of renewing all your motor insurance in one go, but auto-renewal without shopping around is one of the most costly mistakes made by consumers when sorting out their cover.
"Loyalty counts for very little when it comes to insurance," says GoCompare's president, Lee Griffin. "Many drivers would be better off switching rather than sticking with the same insurer."
If you've got a multi-car policy with one provider, it's always worthwhile reviewing the policies other providers offer at renewal time to see if you can continue saving money by switching or sticking.