Multi v single car insurance - what's cheapest?

Updated on 02 February 2015

Insuring two or more vehicles with one company will not always save you money.

What is multi insurance?

Insuring more than one car on the same policy can open you up to all kinds of discounts. For example Direct Line knocks off 15% of the price for additional cars in the first year of the policy.

This is because if there are two or more cars under the same policy this costs the insurer less because it only has to issue one policy document.

However, despite a number of insurers, such as Direct Line and Admiral Insurance, claiming these policies will save you money, this doesn’t apply to everyone.

Is multi-car insurance cheaper?

As with almost any kind of insurance this really depends on your individual circumstances.

However, last year research from Swiftcover estimated that multi-car households could be paying as much as 29% too much for car insurance by buying multi-car policies.

Sarah Vaughan, motor director at swiftcover.com, explains that when it comes to cost multi-car policies can help reduce the price for families, but in certain circumstances households will pay more for this kind of policy, as opposed to having two or more single policies.

The main impact on pricing will be the value and age of the car and the age and experience of the drivers. For some people it will work out cheaper to get this kind of policy.

For example, a 45-year old male and 45-year old women who are insuring a 2009 Ford Focus G-Max Ghia and a 2008 Nissan Micra Activ with a £250 voluntary excess would pay £400.68 for the Focus and £238.50 for the Micra.

If these cars were insured on a multi-policy with Admiral they would cost £363.90 and £225 respectively, which saves the couple £50.28 in the first year.

Separate policies

The following prices are based on a married 36-year old female teacher living in Basingstoke, Hampshire. On the policy there is a Ford Fiesta LX and a Peugeot 206 and both have a £350 voluntary excess and seven years no claims bonus.

Provider

Single policy cost – Ford Fiesta

Single policy cost- Peugeot

Total

Allianz

£273.09

£314.80

£587.89

Onequotedirect

£280.34

£315.12

£595.46

Insurepink

£305.63

£366.17

£671.80

However, if you were to use Admiral and put both of these cars on a multi policy it would be £662.62 – which is more expensive than at least two other insurers. 

Another example of multi-car policies coming out more expensive is with an 18-year old male student who has just passed his test and driving a Ford Fiesta LX. If he were to buy the policy on its own he would be looking at a price of anything from £2,955.42.

When the Ford is put together with  a BMW 318 in the same house and a 50-year old male as the main driver of the second car, the price for a joint policy, with Admiral, is £6,774.

However, as the cost of insuring the BMW on a separate policy is £397.54 this again works out more expensive than choosing two separate single policies.

Where can I get a multi-car policy?

Admiral is probably the insurer you’ve heard about most when it comes to these policies and that’s because it puts a lot of money into its advertising campaigns.

Nearly all insurers will offer discounts if you insure a second car with them, such as Churchill which offers a 15% discount on additional cars in the first year and a 5% discount thereafter.

With Admiral each car is eligible for a discount – so in theory the more you insure the more money you’ll save.  You can list up to five cars per policy, so to get the benefit you really need to own at least two cars per household.

However, as with all kinds of insurance you need to read the small print as even though there may be an attractive discount in the first year, more than likely this won’t be for the entire duration of the policy.  

What’s the best option for me?

As it all depends on your individual circumstances the only way to work out what will be cheapest is by shopping around and getting a few different quotes before deciding.

It may be easier to buy one policy covering two or more cars, but this convenience could cost you hundreds of pounds extra. When getting a policy ignore the headline rates and work out exactly how much it’ll cost you for both a multi and single policy.

Using a comparison table will give you options for both single and multi-car policies and you can compare these against a multi-car insurer like Admiral. However, the cheapest options might not be the best-suited to you so it’s always worth remembering the golden rules of shopping around and reading all the small print before signing up to anything.

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