It used to be the case that almost every household had a family car. Dad would use it to drive to work every day, then on weekends and holidays, the whole family would jump in and set off on a road trip, be it to visit the grandparents or head to the beach.

Nowadays, that traditional model seems sightly old-fashioned. Not only is dad no longer the sole bread-winner in the household, but the family car that’s parked in the driveway has been augmented by at least one other model. Mum probably has her own car, while the kids, if old enough to drive, may also have their own vehicles. With the inexorable increase in the number of cars owned by the average household, there has come a steady increase in the cumulative cost of insurance.

Even with a competitively-priced policy, there’s no denying that insuring three vehicles isn’t cheap. It is for this reason that there has been a surge in demand for multi-car insurance. Multi-car, as its name would suggest, involves putting all your cars onto a single policy. By trusting a single insurer to take care of all your insurance needs, you are rewarded with a discount for doing so. Just as it’s possible to bulk buy groceries and save money on the unit price in the process, multi-car insurance enables households to save money and simplify their policies by aggregating them into one. It’s a simple concept, but one that can be very effective.

Due to the increasing popularity of multi-car insurance, most of the major insurers now provide this service. While some companies appear to have tagged multi-car onto their conventional policies as an afterthought, others have made it an integral part of their motor insurance. Those insurers who take multi-car cover seriously will often offer attractive discounts in an effort to woo households that own more than car. One company that specialises in multi-car insurance is Aviva.

Existing Aviva customers can expect to save around 15% by transferring the single car policies in their household onto a multi-policy. New customers who purchase multi-car insurance via Aviva’s website will receive an enticing discount of around 20%. Another company who provide an extensive range of multi-car policies is Admiral, whose multi-car options can impart discounts of anything from 10 to 23% depending on the number of cars involved.

Direct Line, meanwhile, will grant a multi-car discount if you are a named driver on another Direct Line policy – even if it’s registered to a different address. With each insurer, always remember to the check details of the policy to see what exclusions come with it. The policy that offers the most generous discount might not necessarily be the one that’s right for you.

As a general rule, multi-car insurance tends to be cheaper than the equivalent cost of taking out separate policies for each vehicle. Indeed, given that multi-car insurance was conceived in order to save motorists money, it is in the interests of insurers to make multi-car policies as competitive as possible. Nevertheless, it should not be automatically assumed that switching to a multi-car policy will save you money; as with any policy, prices can differ substantially between insurers.

There are also instances in which multi-car insurance could end up costing you more. One of the benefits of multi-car insurance is that it makes it easier for every motorist in the family to be insured for every vehicle in the household. If the kids have just passed their test however, having them insured to drive dad’s executive car could work out very expensive indeed. Much of this comes down to common-sense: if it’s advantageous to be insured to drive multiple cars, by all means request this as part of the policy. If it’s not required however, you could find yourself throwing money away. While multi-car insurance usually works out cheaper, the cost of insuring three or more cars simultaneously will nevertheless prove to be substantial. The prospect of having to purchase 12 months’ multi-car insurance may deter some from even investigating it as an option.

It should be pointed out however that most insurers will allow you to spread the cost rather than have to pay an annual lump sum. Paying for your multi-car insurance in monthly installments is likely to work out slightly more expensive, but it is a practical way of spreading the costs. When purchasing any form of car insurance, the price you are quoted will often rely on the number of years’ no-claims bonus you have accrued for safe driving. Motorists may be reluctant to bundle their various insurance policies into one if their no-claims bonuses are going to be wiped out in the process. Thankfully, many insurers will make provision for this, and allow you to transfer your no-claims bonus across. Moreover, if a member of your household does have an accident and subsequently files a claim, it goes without saying that they forfeit their no-claims bonus.

With most multi-car policies, the other drivers will not be penalised for this, and will still retain their personal no-claims bonuses. It is worth checking that this is the case prior to purchasing the policy however. It is also worth noting that the definition of a household isn’t necessarily limited to a family who live under the same roof. If one of the children has left home and gone to university, for example, some insurers will still permit the family to have a multi-car policy. Due to the flexibility of multi-car insurance, most families with two or more cars should be able to save money on their insurance.

Shop around, see what offers are available and check the policy details to ensure that you’re obtaining the level of cover you require.

There are a number of things you can do to save money on car insurance. As with any insurance policy, it is prudent to do some research and see what deals are out there. Some companies will offer attractive discounts on your first year’s premium for insuring a second car with them.

After the first year however, the annual premium will default back to the standard rate. It makes sense therefore to select a multi-car policy that will not only save you money in the short-term, but will continue to save you money year after year. The multi-car policy that offers the most generous discount initially may not always prove to be the cheapest. To obtain any sort of multi-car discount, many insurers will require you to book the policy online – doing so by phone may not attract the same level of discount. Once you’ve purchased multi-car insurance, bear in mind that you’re not locked in to that policy for life – there’s nothing to stop you shopping around for a better deal when your policy’s due for renewal.

If there are young drivers in your household, there are additional steps can be taken to reduce the cost of insurance. Many insurers will offer a discount to drivers who participate in accredited schemes such as Pass Plus. Given the high cost of insuring a young driver, even a 10% discount for completing such a course can prove to be substantial. Finally, it is worth reiterating that it is probably not cost-effective to pay for young drivers to be insured for every car within your household.

Obtain cover for the vehicles they’ll need to drive on a regular basis and don’t worry about the rest. While there are numerous considerations to factor in when choosing a multi-car policy, the process is not as daunting as it may sound. With the details of the drivers and vehicles in question to hand, it’s possible to obtain an online quotation quickly, easily and hopefully for far less than you could have imagined.

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