Guide to multi-car insurance
- Multi-car policies may help you save, but remember that this isn't guaranteed - it may prove cheaper than arranging individual policies, or more expensive
- Each multi-car policy is different so read the terms and conditions and be wary when it comes to things like no claims bonuses, administrative charges and renewal dates
- Don't let convenience tempt you into auto-renewing a policy - shop around every year
- Read more about the multi-car service offered by esure
Multi-car insurance policies are heavily advertised by car insurance firms and can seem like an attractive and convenient way of arranging cover for you and those close to you.
Logic would seem to tell us that buying more than one policy from a single provider would lead to some sort of preferential treatment and a discount.
Insurers are keen to highlight the latter aspect and may offer extra discounts for each additional car that's put on a policy.
You may also be able to choose different cover and excess levels for different vehicles, and some policies allow you to include vans as well as cars.
But it's important to note that the pros and cons of multi-car insurance are not necessarily as straightforward as they initially appear.
Depending on your unique circumstances, a multi-car deal isn't necessarily a cheaper way to take out cover than arranging multiple individual policies, and there are a number of other things you should take into account before committing.
Above all else, it's important to remember that the terms and conditions of every provider's cover will vary significantly.
How many vehicles can go on a multi-car policy?
A multi-car policy can cover two or more vehicles, but the number will be capped at a specific limit.
When this article was researched in October 2015, the majority of providers would cover between two and five vehicles.
Other providers can add more vehicles to a multi-car policy; Churchill, for example, could offer a policy for 10 cars in October 2015.
Whose car can be included on a multi-car policy?
Again this will vary between insurers, but definitions of those eligible for a multi-car policy tend to be a household and/or a family. This means that there's the potential to cover a wide range of circumstances.
Some insurers will, for example, cover a couple who each have their own car but who live at different addresses.
They may also be able to offer options for families who have car-owning children living away from home at university - read more about student car insurance in our guide.
Will taking out a multi-car insurance policy save me money?
Unfortunately there's no single answer as to whether a multi-car policy will prove cheaper than taking out individual policies for each vehicle.
Some people will save money one way, some the other, depending 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 tell is to obtain individual quotes - which you can do quickly and easily through a site such as Gocompare.com - then compare the total price to a quote for a multi-car policy.
You may also want to get more than one multi-car quote, given the fact that the deals offered by every individual provider will vary significantly.
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," said Gocompare.com's Lee Griffin. "Many drivers would be better off switching rather than sticking with the same insurer."
Other things to watch out for on multi-car policies
The complicated world of no claims bonuses and discounts is worth keeping in mind if you're considering a multi-car policy.
Depending on the terms and conditions, an incident-free driver on a multi-driver policy may lose out because of a claim made by someone else.
What's more, 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.
Remember also that different companies will treat renewal dates in their own way.
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 worth being aware of the administration charges associated with the policy, especially given the fact that multiple people and vehicles increases the likelihood of changes needing to be made in the course of the deal. Potential changes to bear in mind could include a change of address or of vehicle.
Multi-car insurance on comparison sites
The more complicated nature of multi-car policies - and the fact that the terms of the policies offered by different insurers varies so widely - means that you may struggle to find a genuine comparison service available for them.
This is one reason why insurers like to push multi-car policies; it's a way of attracting customers directly to a provider rather than through a third-party comparison site.
If you do find a multi-car option on a comparison website, bear in mind that it's probably a policy that's offered by a single provider - you're not comparing it against other multi-car policy options in the market. Gocompare.com introduces you to such a single-provider service through esure.
As an alternative, remember that you can compare and buy multiple individual car insurance policies through Gocompare.com.
Multi-car insurance from esure
If you click the 'Get Quotes' button at the top of this page you'll be taken to the multi-car service offered by esure.†
This is available for cars owned by you and your spouse/partner; this could be a husband, wife, civil partner or another person that lives with you permanently and shares financial responsibilities. Children's policies can't be included, although it may be possible to add them as named drivers on your policies.
The benefits of the esure multicar service include:
Defaqto's highest star rating
The esure multicar policy has a Defaqto five-star rating.
Discounts on both policies
Both policies will be eligible for a discount of up to 10% (depending on any discounts esure will have already given).
Matched no claims discounts
The bonus of the policyholder with the most years of no claims discount will be applied to the policy of the second policyholder (although this will be limited to the number of years that the driver has held a full UK licence).
Separate claims records for policyholders
The policies are kept separate, meaning that if one policyholder makes a claim it won't make an impact on the policy of the other policyholder.
Guaranteed quotes for up to six months
If you need to take out insurance but your partner/spouse's renewal isn't yet due, you can get a multicar quote which will be guaranteed for the second policyholder for up to six months (assuming that their details don't change).
By Sean Davies