Perhaps you just bought a car and need to add it to your insurance, or your teen has started driving, or your sweetheart just moved in. A multi-car insurance policy could help you get a cheaper auto insurance rate per vehicle.
In addition to a lower rate, there are a few surprising benefits—and potential pitfalls—where multi-vehicle policies are concerned. Let’s look at the definition of a multi-car insurance policy, how to get one, how much they could save you, and more.
- Multi-vehicle insurance reduces costs by bundling auto insurance for more than one car under one policy.
- Insurers may have different requirements to qualify for multi-vehicle discounts.
- Compare multi-car rates with different insurers to see if you can score a deeper discount for two or more cars on one policy.
- Parents of teens might want to ask their insurer how vehicles are “assigned” to drivers in the family and how that impacts the insurance rate.
What Is a Multi-Car Insurance Policy?
A multi-car insurance policy is a policy with several cars, trucks, or other vehicles on it. When you bundle vehicles, you can save money.
This may also be called a multiple vehicle policy or a “schedule of vehicles” policy. Typically, these policies are available for “passenger” vehicles only. However, your insurer may offer discounts when you combine other types of vehicles—such as RVs, boats, motorcycles, and scooters.
How Do I Get a Multi-Car Insurance Policy?
To get a multi-car insurance policy, call your insurance company’s toll-free number and ask, “Can I add another vehicle to my insurance policy?” You might also be able to add a new vehicle by using your insurer’s online portal. To be clear, you’re only updating your existing policy to add a car, not getting a new policy (unless you’re shopping for auto insurance).
Before calling or logging on, you’ll need to have on hand the vehicle identification number (VIN); the registration; and potentially other information such as make, model, and mileage. If the car was covered under a previous insurance policy—say your fiance’s policy—make sure you have information on the prior insurance carrier.
To qualify for a multi-car insurance policy, insurance companies might require some or all of the following:
- All cars to be registered at the same address
- A limited number of vehicles on the policy
- Vehicles to be owned by the same individual
- Cars to be parked overnight at the same address regularly
Multi-Car Insurance Policies and Other Drivers
Some insurers may allow you to combine policies for cars with family members even if they don’t live with you. But you probably can’t add your friend’s car to your policy, and they probably can’t add your car to theirs. Insurers usually expect the multi-car policy autos to be driven only by immediate family members.
Most insurance policies will allow others to occasionally drive your car as long as they have your permission. Ask your insurer to find out any conditions around lending your vehicle to others.
Adding the car of a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend, roommate, or even fiance to your policy may or may not be possible. Ask your insurer to find out and be honest about how regularly you drive each other’s car.
If you’ve recently married or entered a domestic partnership, you might compare insurance policies to see whose is more affordable and customer-oriented. Then ask the two separate insurers about multi-vehicle policies to see which makes the most sense for your situation.
How Much Is a Multi-Car Discount?
When you add a vehicle in the middle of a policy year, your rate will likely change, just as it would if you’d added a driver or changed your coverage.
Adding a second (or third) car to your auto insurance mix could provide deep discounts with some insurers. For example, in Michigan, most insurers offer a multi-vehicle discount, usually in the 4%-30% range, although discounts can go up to 64%. These savings can be equal to policy savings for having a car equipped with airbags or anti-theft systems.
Because the discount varies so widely, if you’re considering adding a car, you might compare insurance rates before updating your own policy.
You’ll likely be required to carry the same amount of liability insurance on all vehicles for bodily injury, damage to others’ cars, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (when required). However, you may choose different collision and comprehensive coverages for different vehicles. You may also choose different deductibles for different cars.
In addition to saving money, the multi-discount makes policy management a little easier, with just one bill per month.
As well, some states and insurers allow you to “stack” your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage when you have a multi-car policy. With stacking coverage, you can multiply the coverage amount by the number of vehicles on your policy. Choosing this option could increase your coverage in an accident, but it may also cost extra.
Are There Downsides to Multi-Car Policies?
While you’ll receive a policy discount for insuring multiple vehicles, you’ll still pay more to insure two vehicles than one. However, due to the discount, you may not pay much more than you would for a single car.
If you have a teen driver, you should discuss multi-car policies with your insurer. Ask about teen driver discounts, especially if your teen has their own car. Sometimes, insurance companies assume teens are the driver of your most expensive vehicle, which could raise your premium. Other insurance companies will assign the teen to the car they’re actually driving.
If you have multiple cars in different states, you may need to get separate policies, perhaps even with separate insurers, as states differ regarding insurance rules and regulations. For example, minimum requirements for coverage can vary considerably, and some insurance companies don’t provide coverage in multiple states.