How does multi-car insurance work?
Many households in Ireland have more than one car on the go. Multi-car cover is one way to save you money and time when you’re shopping for insurance. Here’s what you need to know.
What is multi-car insurance?
It’s car insurance that lets you cover two or more cars on one policy with the same insurer.
You’ll get the same level of cover and all the same benefits as a standard policy, but usually with a discount of around 10%. You can apply for a discount on up to five cars per household, although some insurers may allow more.
It’s ideal for multiple car households that include:
A multi-car insurance policy can save you time as well as money because you only have to deal with one insurer.
How do multi-car policies work?
The way it works may differ between insurers, but generally, multi-car insurance can be offered as a linked or single policy.
This cover is the most flexible and you can tailor certain details, such as renewal dates, for each car and driver.
With a linked policy you can:
- Pick different cover levels for each car
- Set different excess for each car
- Renew on separate dates for each car
- Become a named driver on each other’s car
- Maintain individual no claims bonuses
This is the least flexible but easiest to manage. All cars will be on one policy and benefit from the same cover and renewal date.
If you’ll be the main driver on the cars you want to insure and have a good driving and claims history, then single policy multi-car insurance could be the most cost-effective.
However, a linked policy may work out cheaper if you have drivers under 25 or with less experience in your household.
Do you have to live in the same household?
Yes, cars on any multi-car insurance policy will usually have to be registered at the same address. However, some insurers may offer cover for family members living at separate addresses, for example, if your child studies at university.
Can it reduce the price of young driver insurance?
If you buy linked policy multi-car insurance it could potentially reduce the cost for under 25s. This is because they’ll qualify for the multi-car discount when you add it to your other policies.
However, if you insure all cars in the house on a single policy, it could inflate rather than lower the cost for other drivers over 25 in the household.
Multi-car policies in focus
What if your household cars have different renewal dates?
If your household cars are currently insured with different renewal dates, you can still add them to new a multi-car policy. It can work in several ways:
- maintain separate policy renewal dates, but pay only once per year
- add one car and schedule your other cars to join the policy later when they’re due for renewal
- start your annual multi-car policy on the latest renewal date. So if one car is insured until January and the other is insured until March, then the 12 month policy will start in March, and your new insurer will provide temporary cover for one car until it begins
How do no claims bonuses work with multi-car cover?
It works in the same way as a single policy. Each driver is responsible for their no claims record, so if one person claims on their car, it doesn’t affect anybody else’s bonus.
This also means that every member of the household is responsible for building their own no-claims bonus so they can’t benefit from another household member’s no claims discount.
Can you drive the other cars listed on the household's multi-car policy?
You can become a named driver for other cars in your household, so potentially, you could all be main drivers and named drivers on each others’ cars.
You could also add an open driver benefit, which allows other people to drive your car, providing they have your permission and meet insurance company requirements.
An open-drive policy does not permit you to drive someone else’s car.
Can you have different excesses for each car?
Yes, although, as with a standard policy, the lower excess you pay, the higher the premiums, so if you want to keep costs low it is better to pay a higher premium.
Levels of multi-car insurance cover
Drivers on a linked policy multi-car cover can each choose from three main types of car insurance offering different levels of protection. Drivers on a single policy multi-car cover will be on the same level of cover.
Third Party Only
Compensates third parties if you cause an accident. Damage to your car won’t be covered. It’s the minimum legal requirement.
3rd Party, Fire and Theft
Covers third parties plus protection for damage to your vehicle caused by fire or theft. Damage by vandalism isn’t covered.
Covers all parties involved in accidents, your car and belongings. Plus theft and damage caused by vandalism.
Pros and cons of multi-car cover
If you live in a family or household with more than one vehicle, it’s worth considering multi-car insurance. However, as well as the advantages, some drawbacks exist.
Here’s some pros and cons to consider:
Tips for choosing multi-car insurance
Multi-car insurance can save you money, but before you buy a multi-car policy for your household, here are a couple of things to consider:
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