At a Glance:
Owning a car comes with a handful of responsibilities, including having adequate car insurance. Having more than one vehicle requires you to carry insurance on each vehicle, and while more expensive, this can offer some savings through multi-car discounts from some insurers.
Throughout the United States, car ownership has been a staple for many households since the time vehicles were first introduced. Nearly 95% of all households in the US have at least one vehicle they use to get from one point to the next, although data suggest that this reliance on cars is declining in many urban areas. The most recent statistics from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute state that one car is not enough for many consumers; the average American home owns 1.927 cars.
While this can be beneficial from a transportation perspective, owning more than one vehicle creates additional responsibilities from a financial perspective. Above and beyond ongoing maintenance, gas, and general upkeep, households with multiple vehicles also need to have up-to-date insurance on each car.
Car insurance is a requirement for vehicle owners in nearly all states. It provides a level of protection against financial loss not only for the vehicle owner, but for those who may experience an accident or injury because of that driver.
The amount of auto insurance needed varies from state to state, as each location provides its own minimum for drivers. However, those who have multiple vehicles need car insurance—at least meeting the state minimum—on every vehicle they own. The good news is that auto insurance companies typically provide a multi-car insurance policies if all vehicles are insured under the same plan.
Here’s how car insurance for multiple vehicles works.
Multi-Car Insurance Policy Discounts
Many car insurance providers offer multi-car policies with discounts to those who own more than one vehicle. This discount can be beneficial in saving you money each month and also replaces the need to pay multiple policies with a single policy. The top insurers that give vehicle owners access to a multi-car discount include the following:
- Nationwide - 10% on premiums
- Geico - 25% on coverage costs
- Progressive - 10% on premiums
- Liberty Mutual - Average of 10% on coverage costs
- State Farm - 20% on coverage costs
- Farmers - 10% savings on premiums
- Allstate - 10% on coverage costs
Because multi-car insurance discounts are available from nearly all major insurance companies, it often makes sense for vehicle owners to insure their cars with the same insurance provider to receive a discount. So long as the vehicles stay on a policy with the same company, the discount remains in place. Once a car is moved to a different insurance company, such as when a child takes over his or her own coverage requirements, the discount may be reduced or expire altogether.
Buying Car Insurance for the First Time
Purchasing car insurance can be a confusing task, due in part to the requirements put in place by state laws. The Insurance Information Institute provides a comprehensive list of the state minimums that apply to each state regarding car insurance coverage, broken down into the type of coverage needed and the minimum liability amounts that must be in place. State requirements typically include bodily injury coverage as well as property and physical damage liability. Always be sure to check with your insurance company to see that you are meeting your state’s minimum coverage requirement when getting car insurance for the first time.
While minimum coverage for auto insurance is beneficial in protecting you and other drivers on the road from costly injuries and damage to property, many insurance companies offer additional coverage that could be just as helpful. Add-ons to car insurance policies like personal liability coverage, rental car reimbursement coverage, or new car replacement can all increase the value of your policy. However, these extras with vehicle insurance increase the total cost of your policy. Even with a multi-car discount, having several added insurance benefits will mean you pay more for coverage over time.
If you’re getting car insurance for the first time, it is important to know that insurance companies price policies not only based on the amount of coverage you choose but other factors as well. Your age, driving history, and gender all play a role in how much your policy will cost. Additionally, where you live, the make and model of your vehicle, and the age of your vehicle impact the price of your insurance premiums.
Finding a Multi-Car Insurance Provider That Works for You
Finding the right car insurance provider to fit your needs requires some due diligence on your part. Start by getting multi-car insurance quotes from a few reputable companies. Shopping around with different providers is the best way to effectively compare costs, coverage amounts, and the multi-car discounts that may be available to you.
In addition to checking coverage amounts and the cost after adding in multi-car discounts, ask insurance companies what other savings may be available if you ultimately select their coverage. Some insurance companies offer discounts for having other policies, like homeowners insurance or renters insurance, while others may take a few dollars off after you complete a safe driving course. These discounts can add up to significant savings, above and beyond what the multi-car discount may offer.
Whether you have one, two, or ten cars, having auto insurance is a necessary part of vehicle ownership. While auto insurance coverage is not inexpensive, you can achieve some degree of savings with multi-car discounts offered by most major car insurance providers.
Be sure to take the time to comparison shop for multiple vehicle coverage options before selecting your coverage, whether you are buying insurance for the first time or coming up on a renewal for current insurance. Taking advantage of multi-car discounts can put more money back in your pocket while still providing the state-mandated minimum coverage you need.