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.

Learn what’s allowed and not allowed in your area and if having double car insurance or different car insurance is worth it.

Key Highlights
  • You are allowed to 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 that is called the excess policy, 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 an act of 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 #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 on 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.

Alternatively, imagine you are separated or getting a divorce from your spouse. Sarah George, an insurance analyst for Finder.com, says you may want separate car insurance policies to keep your finances separate. Or you may want two auto insurance policies to make sure both you and your spouse are responsible for your own driving.

"You may need more than one insurance policy if two people drive the car regularly but don't live in the same household," explains George.

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.

"If you're getting a non-owner policy, you typically only get liability coverage that kicks in when the owner's policy reaches its coverage limits or won't pay out," says George.

"But if you and another owner hold two separate policies on the same car, you may still want both policies to have similar coverage. After all, the point of each policy is to pay for damage that may happen with each respective driver."

Duplicate auto insurance coverage disadvantages

Make no mistake: Getting duplicate coverage will likely 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," says Quinn. "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."

George notes that the average car insurance premium costs around $110 per month. That’s around $1,400 annually. A liability-only policy like a non-owner policy could cost $80 a month or $1,000 yearly.

"However, not every car insurance company will insure non-owners. Anyone who doesn't own the car must prove their interest in ensuring it, called 'insurable interest,'" she says. "That driver may need to demonstrate their lack of access to a car or public transportation and indicate clearly when they would use the shared 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, says Quinn.

"The primary policy will pay claims first, and the other insurance company -- known as the excess policy -- will only make payments once the primary policy has exhausted or fully utilized its limits," Quinn adds.

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," cautions Quinn.

How can two insurance policies on one car cause unjust enrichment?

When you file claims with two different insurance companies for the same car in order to profit from a car accident, it is termed as unjust enrichment.

You are allowed to 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 get reimbursed by both companies after a collision or theft.

The first company may pay off their policy holder's claim, and the policyholder also get 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 different 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," says Quinn.

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 may also want different policies for two cars that you own if you need specialized insurance on only one car, such as pay-per-mile coverage or luxury insurance for a classic or exotic car," George points out.

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.

One advantage of purchasing separate car insurance policies for two different cars is that you may find a better deal based on that vehicle's model, features or usage.

"For example, some luxury cars can't get traditional car insurance because of their high-dollar value. But a luxury car insurer can fully insure the car's worth," says George. "Another example is if you switch to pay-per-mile car insurance for a second car you don't drive as much; this strategy could save as much as 40% on that vehicle's premiums."

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 a generous multi-vehicle discount, along with the coverages and features you need or both cars," George says about two car insurance policies.

Be aware, however, 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.

Last, 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 (instead of being rated against just one vehicle).

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 amount of 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.