If there are two or more cars in your household, you have multiple ways of handling your insurance. You can have each car insured with a different insurance company, each car insured with separate policies from the same company, or all cars insured on the same policy from a single company. The latter option is known as a multi-car policy. These policies offer a variety of benefits, often including a discount.
How Does a Multi-Car Insurance Policy Work?
A multi-car insurance policy works similarly to a single-car policy, with slight differences.
The policy’s declarations page (a document summarizing the policy) will list all of the household’s drivers and each of the insured cars. Some insurers list a primary driver for each car; however, each driver is typically covered when driving any car listed on the policy. (For example, you’re covered for driving your spouse’s car.)
Specific coverages apply either at the policy level or the vehicle level. A policy-level coverage is shared by every person or vehicle on the policy. A vehicle-level coverage applies only to a specific vehicle.
- Liability, PIP/medpay, and uninsured motorist are policy-level coverages. So if the policy’s liability limits are 100/300/100, for example, these limits apply to all the listed drivers and vehicles on the policy.
- Comprehensive and collision policies are vehicle level coverages. So one of the listed vehicles might have a $500 deductible for these coverages, while another listed vehicle might have a $1,000 deductible.
This provides a bit of flexibility. Imagine a multi-car policy for a family with three cars: a brand-new luxury car for one parent, a three-year-old SUV for another parent, and a 10-year-old sedan for a teen. Each vehicle can have comprehensive and collision deductibles that are appropriate for its value. The family could even forego comprehensive and collision altogether for the teen’s car. And remember that each driver will have the same liability limits.
What Are the Requirements for a Multi-Car Policy?
The basic requirement of a multi-car policy is that more than one vehicle is listed. Some insurance companies limit the number of cars listed on a single policy (more about this below).
Insurers typically require all vehicles on a multi-car policy to have the same garaging address — the address where the vehicle is kept for the majority of time. Some insurance companies require all listed drivers to be related, though this is not always the case. Your insurance company or agent can let you know any specific requirements.
How Many Cars Can I Insure on One Policy?
Most car insurance companies have a maximum number of vehicles and drivers that can be insured on a single policy. A typical maximum is five cars and five drivers, though some companies can handle more. This maximum is usually due to limitations with the insurance company’s systems, not terms of their policy contract or legal requirements.
Some insurance companies will offer to set up a secondary policy to help cover any vehicles beyond their maximum. This secondary policy is then linked to the primary policy and priced so the total premium is lower than what you’d pay for separate, standard policies.
If you’re trying to get a car insurance quote online and find that you have more vehicles than a single policy can handle, contact the company or its agent by phone to see if a linked, secondary policy is an option.
How Much Can You Save With a Multi-Car Discount?
One of the most popular benefits of a multi-car policy is its discount. Many top car insurance companies, such as State Farm , GEICO, and Progressive, offer multi-car discounts, though the exact savings vary. GEICO, for instance, currently publishes a 25% discount for insuring more than one car on the same policy, while Progressive states its discount averages 4%.
Remember that the multi-car discount can usually be combined with other discounts from your car insurance company. Typical discounts include those for bundling multiple policies (for example, home and auto), paying the premium in full rather than installments, being a safe driver, and having a car with anti-theft or advanced safety features.
Other Benefits of a Multi-Car Policy
Besides savings, a multi-car policy offers some additional advantages.
- Single deductible. If more than one of your cars is damaged or destroyed in a covered incident (for example, a hailstorm or fire), your insurance company may require you to pay only a single deductible. Check with your insurance company or agent to learn more about the specifics of your policy.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) stacking. Where allowed by law and offered by your insurance company, you can stack your UM and UIM coverages when you have a multi-car policy. This increases the amount of these coverages.
- One-stop shop. Because multiple cars are on a single policy, you’ll have a single set of policy paperwork, a single renewal date, and a single payment.
- It may be the cheapest way to insure a teen driver. If you have a teen driver in the household (or you are that teen driver), you know that insurance costs are steep. Experts recommend adding a teen driver and their vehicle to the parents’ policy to help get the lowest premium. With that said, it’s a good idea to explore all options, including having the teen get their own insurance.
How to Get the Cheapest Multi-Car Insurance Quotes
You can save money on a multi-car insurance policy by following many of the same strategies as with a single-car policy.
Shop between insurance companies
Car insurance premiums vary by company and fluctuate over time. So you owe it to yourself to shop periodically (every year or so) to see if you might be able to save money with a policy from another company. Just make sure you're always quoting policies with the same limits and deductibles, so you're making an "apples-to-apples” comparison.
Ask about discounts
Most major insurance companies offer various discounts, some of which you might not know exist. Contact your company or agent and ask if you can save with any of the following:
- Paying in full or by automatic withdrawal
- Anti-theft devices
- Advanced driver assistance systems
- Completed a defensive driving course
- Safe driving record
- Good student
- Student away at college
- Customer loyalty
- Active, reserve, or retired member of the U.S. military, or a federal employee
These are just a few of the discounts insurance companies commonly offer.
Audit Your Policy
Do you still carry gap coverage for a car you've already paid off? Have a $500 collision deductible on a 12-year-old sedan? Or maybe you’re inadvertently doubling up on roadside assistance by having the coverage on your policy while you’re also a member of AAA. The bottom line is that as your needs change, your policy may also need to change. Give your policy a regular once-over to see if you could save by cutting or adjusting coverages.
Contact an Independent Insurance Agent
Independent agents represent multiple insurance companies and know the ins and outs of the products they sell. They can ensure you get a multi-car policy that meets your coverage needs at the lowest possible cost. Find an independent insurance agent near you.
You Owe It to Yourself to Look Into a Multi-Car Policy
Multi-car policies offer a variety of benefits, including savings. If you live in a household with multiple cars, you owe it to yourself to explore this policy option.