Millions of homes up and down the country house more than one driver, and many of those drivers have their own cars.
With older children staying at home longer due to high rents and house prices, it is not unusual for a family home to have three or four cars on the drive. And households of flat-sharing young professionals could even have five cars registered to them.
The good news for homes of this kind is that insurers have started offering discounted multi-car insurance policies that cover all the vehicles registered at an address in one go.
You could get up to a third off by going for a multi-car insurance policy, while there is also the potential benefit of everyone in the group having just one renewal date and one premium to worry about.
What’s more, many firms offer discounts of up to around a third if you insure more than one car on the same policy.
What is multi-car insurance?
A multi-car insurance policy, which can usually cover up to five cars, offers all the same benefits as regular policies.
The only difference is that the same policy covers more than one car, and insures will give you a discount for insuring multiple vehicles with them. The same logic applies when it comes to multi-car breakdown cover- with discounts being offered to those who purchase cover for multiple vehicles under the same policy.
You can usually choose different levels of multi-car insurance and different excesses for each of the vehicles, all of which must be registered at the same address. The 12-month policy generally kicks in on the date that the last car insurance is up for renewal – short term cover will be given on other cars in the interim.
For example, say you have one car that needs to be insured in February and another in June, although the February car will be the first to be re-insured, your multi-car insurance policy will and in June the following year once the second vehicle has been insured for a full 12 months.
The vehicles covered must generally be for private use only, though, while the drivers covered by the policy can only drive all the cars insured if they are registered as named drivers for them.
Will a multi-car insurance quote be cheaper?
Before choosing a multi-car insurance policy, it is also a good idea to check the terms and conditions of the no-claims discount
Despite the attractive discounts available, a multi-car insurance policy will not be the cheapest option for everyone.
Consequently, it is always worth comparing the overall cost with the quotes you get for insuring each vehicle separately as you may find that individual policies still offer better value for money.
Often, this will depend on the value and performance of the cars concerned, as well as the experience and safety record of the drivers.
The impact of other motorists
As mentioned above, the age and experience of the motorists covered by the policy will have a significant impact on the overall cost.
If, for example, the drivers needing insurance include a 40-year-old woman with a clean licence and a 17-year-old boy who has only just passed his test, it is safe to say that a multi-car insurance policy will increase the woman’s premium and lower the new driver.
Whether it is worth doing will therefore depend on your individual circumstances.
An individual policy, perhaps including one of the older, lower risk drivers living in the household as a named driver (as long as he or she does sometimes drive the car concerned), could be a better bet if the younger driver is covering his own costs.
But the multi-car insurance policy may still work out cheaper if the woman, or another older driver, is footing the whole bill.
The best idea is therefore to shop around to find out whether opting for a number of separate policies would be cheaper than one multi-car policy before committing.
Before choosing a multi-car insurance policy, it is also a good idea to check the terms and conditions of the no-claims discount.
After all, you do not want all the motorists losing their no-claims discounts just because one of the people named as a driver on the policy has an accident.
The impact of vehicles
All vehicles are assigned to car insurance groups numbered from 1 to 50, with those in group 1 costing the least to insure.
Motorists keen to pay as little as possible for their insurance should therefore chose cars in the lower groups – whether they are going for a multi-car policy or not.
With multi-car insurance policies specifically, meanwhile, it is important to consider the different vehicles that need insuring.
If, for example, one of them is a high performance sports car, you might be better off buying a separate policy from a specialist insurer and looking at multi-car policies for the remaining vehicles.
Other things to check include that you can add cars to the plan as and when the cover they have now comes up for renewal. Otherwise, you could end up paying twice to insure the same car.
Finally, make sure that you can arrange cover on the same policy should anyone in the household change cars during the term. Most insurers will do this, although again your choice of vehicle could affect the premium.