What are multi-vehicle car insurance policies?

If you live in a household with multiple cars, then you may be considering taking out a multi-vehicle car insurance policy. But what is it and what are some of the pros and cons involved?

What is a multi-vehicle car insurance policy?

A multi-vehicle car insurance policy insures two or more vehicles under the same policy. Each car is typically treated separately, based on factors such as the make and model of the car, who drives the car and the level of cover taken out under the policy.

As there is only one policy, there is also only one bill. This may help to reduce paperwork. Some insurers may also offer a discount on premiums for multi-vehicle policies.

Who is eligible for a multi-vehicle car insurance policy?

Anyone who has more than one vehicle in their household can typically qualify for a multi-vehicle policy with an insurer that offers them, even if all of the vehicles don’t belong to the same person. Generally, the owners of the cars only need to reside at the same address to qualify.

You will typically qualify for a multi-vehicle car insurance policy if you fit one of the following scenarios:

  • Single people with more than one vehicle
  • A couple with more than one vehicle
  • Friends, siblings and relatives who live together and have more than one vehicle between them
  • Families (single-parent and partnered) with children who are old enough to drive and who own their own vehicles

If you are a family with children, keep in mind that some providers may allow you to combine your cars under a single policy, even if your children live out of home.

The eligibility requirements will vary depending on your circumstances and the insurer and policy you choose, so it’s important to check with your provider directly. It may also be worth noting that if you own a number of vehicles for your business or company, there are other insurance options which may better suit your needs.

What are the benefits of multi-vehicle car insurance policies?

The main advantage of having a multi-vehicle car insurance policy is the convenience and potential savings it can offer. Some people may find bundling all their household’s vehicles into a single policy from the same provider simplifies the process as there’s just one set of paperwork and one payment that needs to be made.

In addition to this convenience, some insurers may offer discounts on premiums if you take out a multi-vehicle car insurance policy. However, receiving a discount doesn’t mean you are necessarily getting good value overall. It’s important to shop around to make sure you are getting the right price and features for you.

There are also some potential disadvantages of having a multi-vehicle car insurance policy. Depending on the number of cars listed, you are likely to be faced with one large total bill each year or month when using a multi-vehicle policy. If the cars on the policy belong to multiple owners, you may need to negotiate how payment of the premiums is split with these owners to help make this bill more manageable. Each car is also treated separately under a multi-vehicle policy, as are the risks associated with insuring it from the provider’s perspective. This means that if you have younger drivers (like your children) on your policy, it may result in a higher premium for you than if you were just insuring your own car. This is because these drivers are generally seen as more likely to be involved in an accident. In this case it may be worthwhile seeing whether your children or the younger drivers included in a multi-vehicle policy can pay a share of the premiums to lessen the burden.

Some of the pros and cons of multi-car policies are summarised below:

Pros

  • You can expect to have one set of paperwork and one renewal date for multiple vehicles, which could be easier to manage than if you had a policy for each car.
  • Your insurer may offer you discounts.
  • Your no-claims bonus likely wouldn’t be affected if a vehicle belonging to someone else on the policy were involved in an accident– each driver on the policy will still have their own claims history.
  • New drivers and cars can be added at any time (in most cases).

Cons

  • You’ll potentially be faced with a large one-off car insurance bill each year or month.
  • Your premiums will be combined with the premiums of other drivers, who may be seen as a bigger risk.
  • If there are multiple owners within the policy, it may be time-consuming for all parties if they choose to leave and take out an individual policy.

How many cars can you add to a multi-car policy?

This will depend on your provider, but typically multi-car policies in Australia offer cover for between two and five cars. This is done to target families or households.

Check with your provider to see how many vehicles you can add to the one policy.

What other car insurance discounts are available?

Having multiple vehicles listed under the one policy isn’t the only way to potentially get a discount on your car insurance. Insurers may also offer the following sorts of discounts:

  • Online discounts: a number of insurers on Canstar’s database offer a discount if you buy your policy online, rather than in person. This may be a dollar amount (such as $100 off), or a percentage discount (such as 10% off your first year’s premium).
  • Multi-policy discounts: this discount may apply if you take out two or more separate kinds of policies with one insurer. For example, if you took out car insurance and home insurance. However, it’s important to check whether you could get better value and/or coverage by taking out policies with different insurers.
  • No claims discounts: this is where an insurer gives you a discount if you don’t claim on your insurance. The discount typically increases each year you don’t make a claim (up to a certain limit).

Check out our tips to save money on your car insurance for more ideas. It’s also a good idea to compare your car insurance options, to see if you could be getting a better deal. Canstar compares a range of comprehensive car insurance policies based on both price and features.

The table below displays a snapshot of car insurance policies on Canstar’s database that can offer cover for multiple vehicles, with links direct to providers’ websites. Please note this table has been sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) then by provider name (alphabetically) and was formulated based on a male aged 30-39 in NSW, without an extra driver under 25 years old.

Use Canstar’s car insurance comparison selector to view a wider range of car insurance policies.

Cover image source: Pirke (Shutterstock)

Original author: William Jolly

This article was reviewed by our Sub Editor Jacqueline Belesky and Senior Finance Journalist Shay Waraker before it was updated as part of our fact-checking process.

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