/ Money, Motoring

Can multi-car insurance really save you money?

Car insurance claim

We’ve all seen those TV ads about multi-car insurance – they claim to save you money on your car insurance if you have more than one car. But do they?

It’s simple in theory – if you have two or more cars you can put them all on the same policy, avoiding the cost and complication of taking out single policies for each one. But it’s not quite as straightforward as that.

Higher car insurance premiums

Some insurers will charge a higher premium for a multi-car policy than separate single car policies for each vehicle, depending on your circumstances.

And Which? members have told us that some multi-car policies won’t allow you to transfer the no-claims bonus you have accrued over to another policy.

One member’s daughter, who was on the same policy, lost three years of no-claims bonus she had built up after the member was involved in a ‘not-at-fault’ accident.

Another, who was eligible for a discount on his premium, had to call his insurer repeatedly to get them to apply it to his policy after it initially told him the offer was only available to new customers.

Differing terms and conditions

We’ve also found that there’s a big difference between the policies available. If you add two or more cars to your policy, some insurers will allow you to keep your renewal dates. However, others require you to renew them all at the same time, meaning you have to pay your premium in a big lump sum.

Other issues we found include named drivers not being ineligible for a no-claims bonus on some policies or discovering they weren’t fully covered after being involved in an accident.

I’m keen to hear about your experiences with multi-car insurance and whether you have fallen foul of some of the pitfalls. Do you think they offer good value compared to single car policies, or do the downsides outweigh the benefits? And what can insurers do to make the terms and conditions of their multi-car policies clearer?

Gabrielle Shepstone says:
20 June 2014

We had a Multicar policy for three cars for several years with Admiral, and all retained our own NCBs. This was by far the cheapest policy I could find when insuring my son’s first car, and he built up his own NCB as well. We never had to make a claim so I can’t comment on Admiral in that respect, but administratively they were a nightmare: changes (such as my son going to and returning from uni each term) were never properly confirmed in writing (all three of us would get a letter saying there had been a change but not what it was!) so we were never sure that the data they held was correct (vital for insurance) and often at renewal we would find it wasn’t, partly because all their telephone operators were off-shore and there were communication problems. In the end I couldn’t stand it any longer and switched to DirectLine, also Multicar. They were fine, and dealt with the only claim we had very efficiently and fairly.

jackb says:
14 July 2014

Why is it necessary to buy Legal Insurance when insuring 2 cars with the same Insurance company?? They charge about £30 per car.

I queried this with my insurer, esure, and they said to me that the legal protection is per policy holder and not per car. As I was on a multi-car policy with two cars I took it off one of the car’s policy. Yes, that’s £31. How many other drivers are therefore being overcharged on this. Seems like a massive con-trick to me and they are ripping off customers with unnecessary charges,

James Culbert says:
19 July 2014

I have a six wheel policy through Carol Nash. Car + motorcycle. Great value for money and includes breakdown cover Europe also.

FWIW been with Admiral on multi car for 6 years.
Not had the same problems with Admiral.
Paperwork on changes always been exact, and one copy only, by 1st class next day (or 2).
For example, taking daughter off and on policy when away at university (just noticed she is still down as full time school student, but I’ll fix that in a moment.)
Calls always answered with Welsh accent.
Claims been handled well, but had to fight to maintain paint warranty on our Mini – which BMW claimed would be invalidated by third party paint shop, but Admiral paid in the end.
Maybe we have been lucky, so far.

Suspect we could do individual cars cheaper as both parents now over 50, and one sports car.
But Named Driver NCD appears not to be transferable, so suspect it acts as an anti-competitive lock-in.

As a family we have THREE cars insured through Aviva on seperate policies, and one car insured at this time through Admiral. Three are due for renewal, and individually for two of them I was given quotes of £758 & £264. Total cost of £1022.
I did the exact same quote using their multi-car system and was quoted £1201.01, but they would give me £36 discount!!!!
This cost’s a whopping £132 EXTRA
According to their adverts 23% of customers are expected to receive 20% saving.
I have done this year on year and have never had any form of saving, and as can be seen it cost’s a lot more.
As NONE of the family have ever had to make any claims, I just wonder who actually gets any discount?
I did the same quotes with Admiral and got individual prices of £550 & £758, but the multicar quote was £977.87 and £1450.53 an UNBELIEVABLE £1119.45 EXTRA.
I get sick of hearing these adverts on TV saying how much money you can save.
As we are an average family with no claims (so far touch wood), and years of no claims bonus, this whole scenario is a con! As NONE of the family have ever had to make any claims, I just wonder who actually gets any discount?