Multi-Car Insurance Explained
Since car insurance is all about the car, it’s logical to assume that one vehicle equals one policy. That’s probably technically correct, but there’s a grey area, particularly in provinces with competitive private insurance programs, such as Ontario, where insurance companies make it easy for consumers to protect more than one vehicle. While each vehicle does have a separate policy, with its own options, coverage limits and premiums, the consumer deals with this multi-car situation as one account, so it may seem like a singular policy
What is a multi-car discount?
Since competitive insurers want as much of a driver’s business as they can get, discounts for insuring more than one vehicle are easy to find. The insurance company adds policies, but without the need to open new accounts or any of the other administrative tasks associated with new business.
The industry term is “multi-line” discounts because it doesn’t necessarily refer only to cars. A driver could combine more than one car on a multi-line policy, of course, but home insurance, boat, motorcycle or another recreational vehicle could be combined as well. It may be clearer to see the distinction when looking at policies from a multi-line angle. Each line item has its own policy, but these sit collected under the owner’s master policy.
Note that not all insurers offer coverage for all these areas. It’s up to the insurer to determine what they cover and what level of discount applies to each item. Expect 5 or 10 percent per item, but it depends which company you’re using.
Four provinces have public auto insurance systems that may or may not have private insurance options as well. You may have multi-line discount options in provinces where there is a private auto insurance top-up system in place.
How to Insure Multiple Cars on a Single Policy
Adding other lines to your original policy is simply a matter of letting your company, agent or broker know. You’re guaranteed a warm welcome since you’re bringing hassle-free new business to their doorstep. Computers make it simple to add additional vehicles or home insurance products.
Keep in mind that not all private insurers offer the same products or discounts.
How many cars can you have on your insurance policy?
This is up to the insurance company in question. Using Ontario as an example, private insurers have a good deal of freedom to establish rates and procedures, as long as they follow provincial legislation and receive approval from the auto insurance oversight body, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.
Insurers across the country do have to abide by legislation for their region, but where they have flexibility, it’s unlikely they would limit the number of vehicles you could add, since, as mentioned, it’s a way to build the business value of your account.
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- Financial Services Commission of Ontario
- Insurance Bureau of Canada: How Car Insurance Premiums are Calculated