If you have more than one vehicle to insure, you can save on your coverage. Multi-car discounts are easy to qualify for, and can trim up to 25% of your car insurance rate, though how much less you pay depends on your insurance company. Among insurers CarInsurance.com reviewed, Geico had the biggest multi-car discount. Here’s how companies compare:
- Geico: up to 25%
- State Farm: up to 20%
- Travelers: up to 8%
- Progressive: average savings of 12%
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about a multi-car discount.
What is a multi-car discount?
It is simply a discount offered by most insurance companies to policyholders that insure more than one vehicle with them. Almost all car insurance companies will offer a multi vehicle discount once you insure more than one automobile on your car insurance policy with the insurer. On average, the multi-car discount is between 10% to 25% off the liability, collision, and comprehensive portions of each vehicle.
So, if you have one car on your policy already and you’re buying a weekend car for yourself or a car for your newly licensed teen to drive and add the vehicle to your current auto insurance policy, then you would normally get a multi-car discount applied to each vehicle’s premiums.
If you add a third vehicle to your household car insurance policy, it, too, would receive a discount. Your first two vehicles would continue to get their current multiple-vehicle discounts, but not an extra discount.
How much is a multi-car discount?
The answer varies by insurer but in general, you should shave 10% to 25% percent off of your premium when adding a vehicle to an existing insurance policy. When shopping for a new policy, get premium quotes from at least three insurers to find the best rate. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to coverages as well as deductibles.
You should always be aware that a big discount percentage doesn’t always result in a lower overall rate. That’s because the base rate of policies differ from one insurer to the next. So, for example, if one carrier’s rate is $800 for coverage, and offers a 20% multi-car discount, you pay $640. But if you get just a 10% discount on a policy of $600, you pay $540, so it’s a lower discount amount but you still pay a lower rate overall.
Do the discounts stack?
A multi car insurance discount doesn’t compound as you add more vehicles to your policy. This means that your first car doesn’t go from a 10% discount to a 20% discount if you add more cars to the policy. Instead, if you have three cars on your policy, each may get 10% off its portion of the premium.
The coverage may stack
In many states, you can stack your uninsured or underinsured bodily injury motorist (UM/UIM) coverage when you insure multiple vehicles on the same policy.
As an example, if you are carrying uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage with limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident (100/300) on two cars on the same policy and opt to stack your UM coverage, your coverage limits would double to 200/600.
There is usually a small fee to stack your coverage. In most cases, the more cars you insure, the higher your stacked coverage goes.
Eligibility varies by insurer
Different auto insurance companies have different eligibility rules — so some will give a multi vehicle discount only if all cars are owned by the same party, in the same household, and on the same policy while others can be a bit more flexible.
Some insurance companies will only offer a discount if the insured autos are in the same household and insured by parties that are related, as in spouses or even parents and children.
Other insurance companies may only require that the owners of the vehicles be at the same address and do not care if you’re related or not. A good example of this would be roommates sharing a house or apartment.
There are some insurance companies that stretch the boundaries even further, giving multi-vehicle discounts to residents at the same address even if you have separate car insurance policies. As long as both residents at the same location have an auto insurance policy with the same insurer, they may qualify for a discount. For instance, if your adult child is living with you and has a separate policy with the same car insurance company as you, the multi-car discount may still be applied to both of your policies.
In some cases, there can be a limit to the number of cars you can have on a single policy, the discount may max out around four or five cars.
Ask your agent about car insurance for two cars or more to see if it would result in a discount. If you’re shopping around for auto insurance rates, then most insurance provider’s websites give information on their eligibility rules for discounts.
Do I have to carry the same coverage on each vehicle?
The answer to this question varies depending on what type of insurance we are talking about. In most cases, insurers (and state law) requires that you carry the same amount of liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage on each vehicle.
However, with collision and comprehensive coverage you can usually change up the coverage between vehicles.
With most insurance companies your liability, uninsured motorist, and other state law required coverage limits must be the same on all vehicles. As an example, if you are carrying liability limits of 100/300/50 on your first car, you will need to have the same limits on your second (third and more) vehicle as well. They do this so there is no confusion regarding your liability limits if you’re in an accident.
Collision and comprehensive come with more flexibility. In most cases you can have collision and comprehensive on one vehicle but not carry it on another. This is also true for other coverages such as rental reimbursement or custom car coverage.
What information do I need to add vehicles to my policy?
When adding a car to insurance or a new driver, you will need to give your insurance company the following information:
- Make, model, and year of the vehicles you are adding
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Odometer reading
- The name, date of birth, and driver’s license numbers of other drivers
Can you add a car to your insurance online?
While the answer to this varies by insurance company, in most cases you will be able to add a vehicle to your policy online. You will still need to provide the required information mentioned above such as the details of the vehicle and drivers you are adding. It is always a good idea to check in with your agent when adding a vehicle to your policy to make sure you are getting all of the discounts available to you.
How do I get multiple car insurance quotes all at once?
It is always important to shop your insurance coverage at least upon renewal of your policy, and if you are adding a car or driver to your policy, move, or buy a home. The reason this is important is that insurer’s rate risk differently and this can result in dramatic differences in premiums. To get more details and tips from our experts, you can read our guide on buying car insurance online. You can also use our car insurance estimator tool to find out how much coverage costs for your driver profile and be matched to carriers in your area to buy a policy.
You will need to fill out a short questionnaire that asks questions about yourself and any other drivers on the policy as well as your location, driving habits, and vehicles. Always be truthful as insurers will pull your driving and insurance record which will reveal any tickets or accidents.
Once the form is submitted you will get car insurance quotes from multiple insurance companies, allowing you to compare the various policies and prices. Be sure to read through all quotes you are seriously considering, checking coverage levels and deductibles.
Once you have reviewed all of your quotes, try to narrow it down to two or three before making a final decision. If you come across a policy that you like but the premium is too high, consider adjusting the deductible higher to see if it brings the rate down to an affordable level. You may also want to consider contacting an agent to see if they can lower the premium through additional discounts.
Always choose a deductible that you can easily afford in the event you have to make a claim.
Research your options
Once you have narrowed it down to a few policies it’s time to do a bit of research on the insurers. Here are just a few things you may want to check out before signing on the dotted line:
- Verify the insurance company is licensed to write policies in your state.
- Is the insurer in a strong financial position, do they have the resources to pay all of their claims?
- Read reviews and look for comments on their claim process and customer service. If there are numerous complaints for the same thing, consider another insurer.
- Look at sites such as the Better Business Bureau to check out complaints and their rating as a business. You can also check A.M. Best, Fitch, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
If the company you are considering has numerous complaints or a rating lower than B with the BBB, you should move on to a different insurance company.
After you have conducted your due diligence, the only thing left to do is make a final decision and purchase a policy.
Can a child away at school still be on a multi-car policy?
Like many scenarios with a multi-car discount, it depends on your insurer. If your child is attending college in your home state and takes a car with her, in most cases you can keep her on your insurance policy as long as your home address is considered her primary residence.
On the other hand, if your child has finished college or just moved out on their own, your insurer will probably want your child to get their own policy and drop off of yours.
Is a multi-car discount ever a bad idea?
While a multi-car discount can be an excellent idea in most cases, there are situations where it may result in a higher premium. If you try to add a driver that has a less than stellar driving record or cruises a vehicle that is much more luxurious than yours (think Audi while you drive a Ford) you could end up paying more than you would for just your own policy.
Insurers consider a number of factors when setting a premium and your driving record and the type of car you drive are big ones. The best advice is to get a number of multi car insurance quotes for both you and your roommate and then compare them to policies that keep your vehicles separate.
Can I still get a home and auto insurance bundle discount?
When you contact your agent to add a new car or move to a new insurance company it is always a good idea to make sure you are getting a bundling discount if you also insure your home with the same insurer
Some insurers do cap the number of discounts you can have applied to your policy. Most car insurance companies however will allow you to have both a multi-car discount and a home and auto insurance bundle discount.
Are cars located at a vacation home out of state eligible?
In most cases, your cars should be insured in the state where they are kept.
As an example, if you have a second home in Arizona that has an Arizona title and plate, it has to be insured by a company that is licensed to write policies in Arizona. If your main house is located in Colorado, any cars there would have to be insured by an auto insurer licensed in Colorado.
However, if your insurance company is licensed in both states (most major insurers are licensed in all 50 states) you should be able to purchase policies for all of your vehicles through one insurer and even though the cars are located in different states many insurers will offer a multi-car discount in this scenario.
A couple more advantages to the multi-car premium
Here are a couple of more benefits to putting your vehicles on one policy:
Single deductible for all vehicles: If more than one of your vehicles is damaged in the same incident you will only have to pay one deductible. As an example, a windstorm knocks a tree onto your garage, damaging both cars. When you have a multi-car discount, you only have to pay one deductible to fix both vehicles. This is only true if both cars were damaged due to the same incident.
One renewal date: When you put all of your vehicles on one policy you only have to deal with one renewal date and one payment date, making life a bit easier. If you have separate policies for each vehicle you not only miss out on the discount but have to deal with multiple bills and due dates each month.
The bottom line on multi-car discounts
Now that we have shown you how to add a car to your insurance and the savings you could see thanks to a multi car discount it’s time to get to work. Ask your agent about your current car insurance company’s eligibility requirements. If you’re shopping around for auto insurance rates, then most insurance provider’s websites give information on their eligibility rules for discounts.
Our guide to car insurance discounts describes a multitude of additional discounts that auto insurance companies also offer and is a great resource to find the best multi car insurance quotes. Review it to see what other discounts you should be looking for, such as good driver discounts, discounts for taking a defensive driving class, and even a discount for the type of job you have.
No matter what discounts insurers may offer you, remember that it’s the bottom line that’s important. An insurer that offers you fewer discounts may end up offering the best overall price. However, make sure to ask about multi-car discounts if you have more than one car in your household.