- Can you have two auto insurance policies on the same vehicle?
- Duplicate auto insurance coverage disadvantages
- How can two insurance policies on one car cause unjust enrichment?
- Can you have two car insurance policies on two different cars?
- Two car insurance policies can save you money
- What is multi-policy auto insurance?
You may be allowed to have two different car insurance policies on the same vehicle. That’s called duplicate coverage. And you can probably insure two cars registered or titled under your name with two different auto insurers, each one insured by a separate insurance company.
However, unless there is a good reason to do so, either strategy would likely cost you more than if you had a single policy. Plus, some laws and carrier regulations don’t permit duplicate coverage or two auto insurance policies on two different cars.
Here’s what to know about having duplicate car insurance policies.
- You can purchase two insurance policies on one car or duplicate coverage. But each insurance policy should be brought from different insurers.
- If you file a claim, the primary insurance policy pays first. Another company is called the excess policy, which will only make payments after your primary policy has used up all of its limits.
- If you have two insurance policies or duplicate coverage, make sure not to file the same claim with both insurers; that’s illegal and will be considered fraud.
Can you have two auto insurance policies on the same vehicle?
You may want two car insurance policies on the same vehicle if your car insurance company allows it. Here’s when duplicate coverage might be wise:
- You own a classic, luxury or exotic car.
- You and another person who doesn’t live in your household take turns driving the same vehicle.
- Driver No. 2 of that car is excluded from your policy.
“Legally, you are allowed to have duplicate coverage for the same vehicle. But each policy would have to be purchased from different insurance companies,” says Kevin Quinn, vice president of claims and customer experience at Los Angeles-based Mercury Insurance.
Again, assume you are a co-owner of a car you share with another co-owner who doesn’t live with you. Or perhaps that second driver isn’t covered by your policy due to a poor driving record, history of claims or other reasons.
“In either scenario, you may want to ensure the vehicle is fully covered by having each driver get their own policy,” he says.
One way that two drivers can get separate car insurance policies on one vehicle is through non-owner liability car insurance. This policy applies when one driver regularly uses the automobile but doesn’t own it and is liability coverage that kicks in when the owner’s policy reaches its coverage limits or won’t pay out.
Duplicate auto insurance coverage disadvantages
Make no mistake: Getting duplicate coverage will cost you more money.
“Having two separate insurance policies on the same vehicle means paying for two insurance policies, regardless of the number of vehicles included on those policies,” Quinn says. “The amount you pay will be dependent on several factors, including state requirements, the driving record for all individuals listed on the policy and the make and model of the vehicle.”
If a claim needs to be filed on the vehicle, the insurance company for the driver involved with the claim will preside as the primary policy. The primary policy will pay claims first, and the other insurance company — the excess policy — will only make payments once the primary policy has been exhausted.
But that’s the best-case scenario. Experts don’t recommend purchasing two separate car insurance policies from different auto insurance companies. Duplicate coverage may violate either or both of the auto insurance policies.
“If duplicate coverage is allowed, be careful not to file the same claim with both insurance companies — that’s illegal and an act of insurance fraud,” Quinn says.
How can two insurance policies on one car cause unjust enrichment?
When you file claims with two different insurance companies for the same car to profit from a car accident, it is termed as unjust enrichment.
You can have two insurance policies on one car, but it causes unjust enrichment in some cases. This can happen when someone has two different types of auto coverage with separate companies and gets reimbursed by both companies after a collision or theft.
The first company may pay off its policyholder’s claim, and the policyholder also gets reimbursed by the second company. The two companies that are paying for the same car may not have any knowledge of each other. This is one of the reasons insurance providers disapprove of people carrying multiple auto insurance policies on the same vehicle.
Can you have two car insurance policies on two different cars?
Many families have one car insurance policy that covers multiple vehicles. But there are times when you may want separate auto insurance policies for two vehicles driven by household members.
“Legally, you can have two car insurance policies for two different vehicles held in the same household. Each of the cars can also be in one person’s name,” Quinn says.
You may want to do this if, for example, another family member owns his or her own car that you do not drive. Another example is if you’re living with a roommate. You also may want different policies if you need luxury insurance for a classic or exotic car.
Or say you don’t want the increasingly negative driving record of a family member (who drives their own car) factored into your policy’s premiums any longer. If so, you’ll need to exclude them from your policy. This would require that person to get their own insurance policy for their own vehicle.
“A child 16 to 23 years of age on your policy can make your insurance rates extremely high. In this case, your child can acquire their own insurance for their own car, making the policy for yourself and your car much cheaper. But your child needs to be financially stable to obtain and afford their own policy,” says Aurea Colston, a licensed insurance agent with Acceptance Insurance in Sacramento, California.
One advantage of purchasing separate car insurance policies for two cars is that you may find a better deal based on that vehicle’s model, features or usage.
Two car insurance policies can save you money
As with duplicate coverage scenarios listed earlier, separate car insurance policies for two different vehicles will probably cost more money than if you covered both cars under a single policy.
Instead, consider that insurance companies often grant a multi-car discount to auto insurance policies that have more than one vehicle on them.
If you don’t have a reason to hold separate policies, try to find an insurance company that offers multi-vehicle discounts. Remember that multi-car discounts are only available to those who own more than one vehicle at the same address. You must have at least one car registered in the insured’s name if you have multiple cars on one policy. Also, this discount may apply only to coverages applicable to both vehicles.
Finally, many auto insurance companies rate the highest-risk driver with the highest-risk vehicle. So, if you create two auto insurance policies using the same insurance company, you won’t get a multi-car discount. You may also create a situation where the highest-risk driver is rated against both vehicles.
What is multi-policy auto insurance?
If you own more than one car, it is a good idea to get them all covered under the same auto insurance plan from a single carrier so things can run smoothly.
You can customize your auto insurance coverage levels so that each car has the right protection. Make sure you meet state minimum requirements while purchasing the insurance plan.
Having multi-car insurance is a great way to save money. It means that you only pay one company for your car insurance and don’t have to worry about paying anyone else or worrying about any complex paperwork.
— Les Masterson contributed to this story.