Martin Lewis: Confused about whether to take a multi-car policy? Here are my tips
- Credit: Archant
The multicar conundrum – is it better value or not? Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert explains all.
If you have two or more cars in your household, you may be able to save £1,000s using a multi-car policy.
But, then again, doing that may leave you paying £1,000s over the odds. Frustrating, isn't it?
There's no law as to when it's cheaper, but I have come up with a rule of thumb that can help.
Multi-car insurance really is marmite. In a Facebook poll of 2,100 people I did recently, 40% with more than one car said multi-car won for them, 60% said separate policies did. And the differences can be startling.
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Check the alternative
This is the simple rule of thumb. If you're at renewal and are in a household with more than one car, and you've got a multi-car policy, then start by looking for the cheapest separate policies for each car.
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If you've got separate policies then start by checking multi-car insurance.
This is because what tends to happen is multi-car newbies get hot offers to suck them in, then that advantage usually erodes at renewal.
The top multi-car deals
Frustratingly, you can't use comparison sites to do multi-car searches. (Some look like they do, but they just forward you to one insurer rather than doing a comparison.)
So instead, you have to do this manually as trial and error. Try as many of these as you can stomach...
• Multi-car policies: Here all cars are on one policy. The big name in multi-car is www.admiral.com which would always be my start point, yet it's not alone as both www.aviva.co.uk and www.lv.com are players in this area as well.
• Multi-car discounts: Here you get a discount on the cost to insure each 'additional' vehicle. There's www.morethan.com (15%), www.axa.co.uk (10%), www.esure.com (10%), www.priviledge.com (% varies) and www.sheilaswheels.com (10%).
There is also a range of firms that in one way or another potentially offer those with multiple cars discounts.
Yet here the cars aren't all in one policy. They are separate policies where you get a discount.
Therefore, the easy way to do this is to use a comparison site (see below) for each car and just keep a note of these firms' prices for each vehicle.
Plus as the discount is off each additional policy, insure the car with the cheapest premium first because you'll usually get the discount on the next 'additional' (and subsequent) cars – and if they're most expensive you save more.
This can be especially useful for example if one car is for a young driver, and far more expensive than others.
• Multi-policy discounts. Here the discount is for getting an additional policy. For example, it could be a car policy and a home policy, but two cars also counts. For this www.churchill.com – the discount varies.
The cheapest standalone policies
There's a whole art to getting cheap car insurance for individual cars, including haggling, cashback sites, homing into the perfect policy requirements and more.
In brief, for each car, just use a comparison site for each vehicle. Yet as they don't search identical insurers, and can have different prices for the same firm, it's best to do a few checks for a wider spread.
Do I have to be at renewal to do this?
If you have different cars in the home they may be up for renewal at separate times – which may make you think you can't switch to a multi-car policy. The first thing to do is get a quote and see if it's likely to be saving you substantial cash.
If you find it's likely to be much cheaper, then provided you haven't claimed (or reported an incident in that insurance year) on the policy that's not at renewal since its last renewal, then for £50ish admin fee you can normally cancel your policy, and get the rest of the year refunded (you won't earn that year's no-claims bonus) and switch to the deal.
Martin Lewis is the founder and chair of MoneySavingExpert.com