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Second car insurance guide 2024

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According to the Department for Transport, 36 per cent of households own two or more vehicles. If you’ve just acquired a second car or are considering getting one, it’s still possible to get cheap car insurance. Owning two cars won’t necessarily result in higher insurance costs.

While there’s no specific second car insurance product, the insurance industry offers a multi-car insurance solution. Our experts explain this policy option’s ins and outs and how it could be a financial game-changer for multi-car households.

Is second car insurance a real thing?

Specific second car insurance doesn’t exist; instead, what many people refer to when insuring multiple vehicles is termed multi-car insurance. 

Multi-car insurance is a policy designed for households or individuals with more than one vehicle. Instead of having separate policies for each vehicle, multi-car cover allows you to bundle them into a single policy. Most providers offer cover for up to five cars registered at the same address, and typically, you have the option of different cover types –  comprehensive, third-party fire and theft, or third-party only, and named drivers for each vehicle. 

By insuring multiple cars under one policy, many insurers offer discounts, which can lead to cost savings compared with taking out individual policies for each vehicle.

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Why should I take out multi-car insurance?

Multi-car insurance is designed for specific demographics or situations, including: 

  • Families with multiple cars: Households where several family members have their own vehicles can benefit greatly. This includes parents and their driving-age children
  • Couples: Even if there are only two drivers in the household, bundling both vehicles under a single policy can be cost-effective and convenient
  • Housemates: Individuals who share a home, such as roommates or friends, might be able to consolidate their vehicle insurance
  • Owners of several cars: Some individuals own several cars. For them, multi-car insurance can be a more streamlined way of managing their vehicles
  • Car enthusiasts with multiple vehicles: Collectors of specialist vehicles, such as classic or sports cars, could benefit from multi-car insurance

What are the benefits of multi-car insurance?

There are many benefits to be gained from insuring your second vehicle under one policy, including:

  • Potential savings: Many insurers offer discounts for multi-car policies, which can result in a cheaper premium than if you insured each vehicle separately
  • Convenience: Having all your vehicles insured under one policy means less paperwork and only one renewal date to remember, reducing the administrative hassle
  • Flexibility: If you add another car partway through your policy term, insurers often accommodate the addition and then sync up the renewal date with the rest of the vehicles
  • Accommodating multiple drivers: Many multi-car policies allow different drivers for each vehicle, making it suitable for households with multiple drivers
  • Streamlined claims process: If more than one of your insured vehicles is involved in an incident, you’ll be dealing with a single insurance company, which can simplify the claims process
  • Loyalty benefits: Some insurers offer further benefits or discounts for customers who consolidate their vehicle cover with them. You might also gain better leverage when negotiating terms or addressing concerns
  • Potential for additional discounts: Providers sometimes offer further discounts if you have other types of cover, such as home insurance, with them.

However, multi-car insurance might not always be the best option for everyone. Depending on individual circumstances, such as the type of car, driver’s age, and driving records, it could be more cost effective to have separate policies. As with any insurance product, shopping around and comparing quotes is essential to ensure you get the best deal for your situation.

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What is the cheapest way to insure a second car?

As we’ve already outlined, one of the primary benefits of multi-car insurance is potential savings on your premiums. By bundling multiple vehicles under a single policy, many insurance providers offer discounts, and the more cars you insure with them, the higher the chances of getting more significant savings on your premiums.

However, while consolidating and saving might be appealing, it’s essential to consider situations where a separate policy for each car might be more economical.

Insurers often consider young drivers at higher risk due to their limited driving experience. Adding a young driver to a multi-car policy could increase the overall premium. In such cases, it could be worth exploring whether a separate young driver insurance policy might be more economical. 

Insurers group cars based on several factors, including repair costs, safety features, and potential risks. Those in higher car insurance groups typically cost more to insure due to increased risk or higher repair costs. If one of your cars falls into a higher insurance group, it might influence the price for all cars on a multi-car policy, making a separate policy a cheaper option for that vehicle.

The premiums will likely increase if a driver included in the multi-car policy has a criminal conviction or has been involved in accidents. Their driving history can impact the cost for all cars under the policy, making separate policies more cost effective.

Classic or vintage cars may require specialist insurance because of their unique maintenance needs and potential for increased value over time. While some mainstream insurers offer classic car insurance as part of a multi-car policy, a dedicated classic car policy from a specialist provider could provide better coverage and rates.

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Will insuring a second car with a no claims discount reduce my premium?

A no claims discount cannot be applied to multiple cars with separate policies. The exception is when all the vehicles are insured from the same policy start date, ensuring the no claims duration remains consistent if there have been no claims during that period. However, some providers offer a solution known as a mirrored no claims discount that can reduce your premiums. 

A mirrored discount allows you to use the discount you’ve accumulated on more than one policy at once. It’s important to note that insurers offering mirrored discounts often set specific eligibility criteria. For example, they might impose a minimum age limit or require a certain number of driving years, potentially excluding younger drivers.

If you possess a multi-car policy that allows for insuring several cars at a single address, each vehicle maintains its individual no claims bonus. Consequently, if you claim on one vehicle, it shouldn’t affect the no claims discount of other drivers covered under the same policy.

Frequently asked questions about second car insurance

Yes. There are two usual methods of insuring two cars under the same name. You can take out individual cover for each car, having two distinct policies, each with its own premium, terms, and conditions. This can be more straightforward regarding management; however, it might not always be the most cost effective option.

Many insurance providers offer multi-car policies, allowing you to insure multiple vehicles under a single policy. Typically, these policies provide a discount for each additional vehicle you add. While this can often be more cost effective and convenient than having separate policies, it’s essential to understand the terms. For instance, while each car might accumulate its own no claims bonus, a claim on one vehicle might affect the premium for all the cars under the policy at renewal time.

When insuring multiple cars, syncing renewal dates can be crucial for simplifying management and ensuring continuous coverage. If you have individual policies for each car, each will have its own renewal date based on when you initiated each policy. These dates will only align if you deliberately coordinate them. With multi-car cover, it’s typical for renewal dates to be aligned for all vehicles under that policy. This means you’ll only have to remember one date for renewal; typically, this is a year after you added the last vehicle. 

Always carefully review the terms of your policy or policies, especially the start and end dates, to prevent any problems. Proper management of renewal dates ensures you’re consistently covered and avoid unexpected gaps or financial surprises.

Katharine Allison

Energy Saving Writer

As Independent Advisor’s energy saving expert, Katharine, a keen advocate for sustainability, is an authority on solar panels, double glazing, and cutting-edge renewable energy technologies. Her dedication merges with a commitment to enlighten and steer readers toward embracing eco-friendly solutions and the latest trends in sustainability.

With over 10 years of experience, she has worked with some of the UK’s leading companies and publications, including the Federation of Master Builders, Architectural Digest, and Denon Construction. 

Katharine is particularly passionate about consumer causes and animal welfare and has art, philosophy, and psychology degrees. She lives with her sled dogs in East Sussex.

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.