It is possible to have two car insurance policies, and there are various scenarios where different cars — or even the same car — might have different insurance needs, leading to two separate policies. This includes if you have a personal and work car or if you have cars garaged indifferent states, for example.
You can also have two car insurance policies on the same car, but it’s often more complicated than it is beneficial. It's generally more practical and financially sensible to insure with only one provider and use a multi-car policy if you have multiple cars.
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If you drive another classic car or have another home out of state, you may need two separate policies.
You can have two insurance policies on one car, but it can make claims confusing and doesn't give extra benefits. If you file the same claim with two different insurance companies, it's considered fraud, which is illegal.
It's usually smarter and easier to have one insurance policy tailored to your needs or to use multiple car insurance if you have more than one vehicle.
Can You Have Two Separate Car Insurance Policies?
Some scenarios may require one driver to have to separate car insurance policies for two different cars, such as:
You Have a Personal and a Work Car
A driver who owns both a personal car and a commercial vehicle might need separate policies for each. Personal auto insurance typically doesn't cover commercial vehicles, so a commercial auto policy would be necessary.
Type of Insurance
Who Should Get It
What It Covers
Can it cover personal/commercial use?
Personal Auto Insurance
People using cars for personal activities
Everyday personal activities like commuting, errands or leisure travel
Limited business use, such as commuting to work or occasional deliveries
Commercial Auto Insurance
Businesses or people using vehicles for commercial purposes
Business purposes like transporting goods, providing services or carrying employees
Some policies may cover personal use
Some commercial auto insurance policies may extend coverage to personal use of the vehicle. This means that the vehicle is covered even when it's not being used for business-related activities. The extent to which personal use is covered can vary widely between policies. Some might offer full coverage for personal use, while others might have restrictions or exclusions.
For example, if you hit another car and were using the vehicle for business purposes, the commercial auto policy would typically cover the damages to the other driver's vehicle and any liability claims. If the policy covers personal use and you were using the vehicle for personal reasons, the commercial policy would still apply, covering the damages and liability as it would during business use.
However, if the policy doesn't cover personal use, you would be on the hook for those damages. If you're a business owner using a company car for personal trips, or a contractor driving a work truck for errands, knowing how your policy works is key so you can ensure you have the right protection, whether you're on or off the job.
You usually can't insure a personal car and work car under one policy, as personal policies often exclude business use. Insurance companies see business driving as riskier, so an accident while working might lead to a rejected claim.
However, there are exceptions. Some policies might cover limited business use, like commuting or occasional deliveries. It's wise to check with your insurer to understand what's covered.
If you frequently use your personal car for work, think about a commercial auto insurance policy. It's tailored for business use and offers more protection, including higher liability limits and coverage for property or cargo damage.
Another option is hired and non-owned auto insurance (HNOA), which covers you when driving a vehicle not owned by you or your business, such as a rental or company car. It's a specialized option that might fit your needs.
You Have a Daily Use Car and a Classic Car
While standard auto insurance suits the daily use car, a classic car often requires specialized coverage. Separate policies ensure that both vehicles are appropriately protected, reflecting their unique values, uses and risks.
Type of Insurance
Who Should Get It
What It Covers
Personal Auto Insurance
Individuals using a car for daily activities
Accidents, theft, liability insurance and common risks of everyday driving
Owners of classic, antique or collectible cars
Specialized needs of classic cars, agreed value coverage, unique care and parts
Personal and classic car insurance are different and don't overlap. Daily use cars are on the road often, while classic cars might only be driven for special events. This difference in usage means they have different risks and need different insurance. Also, classic cars can be unique or valuable collectibles; standard auto insurance might not cover their full value.
Classic car insurance can protect the car's full worth. Classic cars may also need special care or parts, which standard auto insurance usually doesn't cover, but classic car insurance can.
While it might be possible to find a provider that offers a multi-car policy covering both daily use and classic cars, it's generally more common and practical to insure the classic car under a separate, specialized classic car insurance policy. This ensures that both vehicles have the appropriate coverage tailored to their specific needs and risks.
You Have Cars Garaged in Different States
If your vehicles are registered in different states, you'll likely need separate policies to meet each state's specific insurance regulations. Each state in the U.S. has unique legal requirements for minimum coverage levels, and cars must be insured in the state where they're registered.
If you own cars that are garaged or primarily kept in different states, you may encounter unique challenges when it comes to insuring them. Here's why separate policies might be required:
Different legal requirements
- Each state in the U.S. has its own laws and regulations governing auto insurance. These laws dictate the minimum levels of coverage required, such as liability limits, uninsured motorist coverage and other specific coverages. What might be legally sufficient in one state could be inadequate in another.
Registration and address considerations
- Typically, a car must be insured in the state where it's registered. If you have cars registered in different states (perhaps due to having residences in multiple locations), you'll likely need separate policies that align with each state's registration and insurance requirements.
If you have two different addresses, your insurance provider may ask you to choose one primary garaging address for the policy. This would be the location where the car is kept most often. It plays a significant role in determining your car insurance rates, as it helps the insurance provider assess various risk factors such as local crime rates, weather conditions and traffic patterns.
Alternatively, the insurer may take both addresses into account when determining your coverage and rates, especially if the car is used equally between the two locations.
You Offer a Ridesharing Service
Personal auto insurance is designed to cover the everyday use of your vehicle for non-commercial purposes. In contrast, rideshare car insurance is tailored to the specific needs of drivers who use their personal vehicles to transport passengers through services like Uber or Lyft.
Type of Insurance
What It Covers
Is It Required?
Personal Auto Insurance
Covers personal driving, such as commuting, errands and leisure travel
Yes, in all states except for New Hampshire and Virginia
Rideshare Car Insurance
Covers the commercial use of a vehicle for transporting passengers for a fee; may include additional liability and coverage for gaps between rides
Some states, like California, require additional coverage for ridesharing
Many personal auto insurance policies specifically exclude commercial activities, including ridesharing. If you're involved in an accident while ridesharing without proper coverage, your personal auto insurance may deny the claim, leaving you financially responsible for damages.
Some insurance providers offer specialized ridesharing policies or endorsements that can be added to your personal auto insurance. These options are designed to bridge the gap between personal use and commercial ridesharing activities, ensuring continuous coverage.
The best rideshare insurance includes robust coverage, especially between phase two and three of the rideshare process. The commercial policy offered by Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber or Lyft often has limited coverage. Getting your own insurance can help fill gaps and keep you covered, especially while you haven’t gotten a passenger yet.
Can the Same Household Have Different Car Insurance Policies?
It’s fine for different household members, each with their own cars, to carry separate car insurance policies. This is not the same as double insuring the same car. Even if each driver has their own coverage, your own car insurance provider may still ask you to add other members of your household — whether your relative or roommate — to your policy. Otherwise, if a household member drives your car and gets into an accident, your provider may deny your claim since they’re not a listed driver.
There are a few good reasons for household members to have different car insurance policies:
- Different Coverage Needs: Individual household members may have varying coverage needs based on the type and value of their cars, driving habits or personal preferences. Separate policies allow for customization to each person's unique situation.
- Different Insurance Providers: Household members might find better deals or specific benefits with different insurance providers that cater to their individual needs, such as specialized coverage like classic car insurance.
In addition to extending financial protection to potential drivers, adding more drivers and cars to your policy can lead to significant savings.
What Is Multiple Car Insurance?
A multiple car insurance policy is a standard insurance policy that insures two or more cars. It’s often cheaper for households to insure all cars under one policy, especially for families looking for the best cheap car insurance for teen drivers.
Insuring all your cars in a multi-car policy is great for:
Insuring multiple cars with the same provider can lead to significant savings. The average savings for a multi-car policy is about $500 per year, and some providers offer larger discounts for insuring multiple cars together.
Handling all insurance matters with the same company simplifies the process, making it more straightforward than dealing with multiple companies.
Single claims deductible
Some providers offer one claims deductible for multiple cars, meaning if you damage both vehicles on the policy, you'll only pay one deductible for both.
You may have the option to stack coverages, combining coverage limits for multiple cars on the same policy, which can offer increased protection if you are involved in an accident.
Even within a multi-car policy, you can tailor the insurance coverage per vehicle, allowing for different levels of protection based on the value and use of each car.
If you have a teen driver in the family, you may also take advantage of student discounts to offset the cost of adding your child to your car insurance policy.
Signing up for a family policy that includes all drivers and all cars offers a practical solution for households with more than one vehicle, providing potential cost savings and administrative convenience while still allowing for customized coverage to meet individual needs.
Can You Double Insure a Car?
You can legally double insure a car by having two or more insurance policies on the same vehicle. This might occur if you have different types of coverage with different providers or if you have overlapping policies for some reason.
However, beyond the legality of it, most car insurance companies will not allow another insurance company to insure the same car. And if they do allow it, it could complicate the claims process.
If you get into a car accident and need to file a claim, the insurance companies may ask each other to settle your claim. This back-and-forth between the providers could make the claims process very long and may even leave your claim unpaid.
If you have two insurance providers for the same car, you can only claim from one insurance company. If you were to file the same claim with two different providers, you would be committing insurance fraud.
Ultimately, double insuring might do more damage than good. It's generally better — both financially and practically — to insure with only one car insurance provider. If you need to upgrade your level of coverage, you can achieve this with the same provider, tailoring your policy to meet your specific needs without the complications and risks associated with double insuring.
To get more out of your insurance, increase your policy limits and ask your agent for the best coverage for you and your car. Car insurance companies are unlikely to insure the same car twice.
Car insurance works by providing financial protection against physical damage or bodily injury resulting from traffic collisions and other road incidents. When you purchase a car insurance policy, you can choose specific policy limits that define the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for certain types of claims.
If you want more exhaustive insurance, you can include add-on coverage options. These might include comprehensive insurance, which protects against theft or damage from events other than collisions, or roadside assistance for help if your car breaks down.
What Happens if I File a Claim With Two Insurance Providers?
If you intentionally file the same claim with both providers without disclosing the other policy, it could be considered insurance fraud. This is a serious offense that could lead to legal penalties, fines or even imprisonment.
Car insurance companies often use the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) to detect if a claim has been filed twice or to uncover other potentially fraudulent activities.
The CLUE database is a centralized information repository that contains detailed records of insurance claims. Insurers contribute data to this database, including information about claims made on auto and property insurance policies.
Access to claim history
When you file a claim, your insurance company records the details in the CLUE database. This includes information about the date of the loss, the type of loss, the amount paid and other relevant details.
If you file the same claim with two different insurance companies, both claims will be recorded in the CLUE database. Other insurers can access this information when underwriting or investigating a claim. By cross-referencing the details, they can easily identify if the same claim has been filed twice.
The ability to see a comprehensive history of a person's claims across different insurers helps companies detect patterns that might indicate fraud, such as repeated claims for the same loss or other suspicious activities.
Impact on future policies
Information in the CLUE database can also affect your ability to obtain insurance in the future or the rates you pay. A history of filing the same claim with multiple insurers, whether fraudulent or not, might be seen as a red flag.
The CLUE system is a powerful tool that promotes transparency and integrity in the insurance industry. It provides a centralized source of claim information and helps insurers detect and prevent fraud, ensuring that premiums are based on accurate assessments of risk and that the system is fair for all drivers.
Other types of insurance fraud include:
- Staged Accidents: This involves deliberately causing a car accident to file a claim. Participants might include other drivers, passengers and even healthcare providers who collaborate to create a fraudulent claim.
- False Injury Claims: Some drivers might exaggerate or fabricate injuries after an accident to receive compensation for medical treatments they don't need.
- Vehicle Dumping: This occurs when a car owner abandons or intentionally destroys their vehicle then reports it as stolen to collect the insurance money.
- Inflated Repair Costs: Some repair shops might inflate the cost of repairs or charge for services not performed, in collusion with the car owner or independently.
- Fronting: This involves misrepresenting the primary driver of a vehicle to get lower premiums. For example, a parent might list themselves as the primary driver of a car mainly used by a young driver to reduce costs.
- False Registration: Registering a vehicle in a location with lower insurance rates, where the car is not primarily used, is another form of fraud.
It may not be your intention to commit insurance fraud. While it is legal to insure your car twice with different companies, it’s best to let each company know that you’re simultaneously insured with another provider. This may be against company policy and could cost you your coverage.
Double dipping in car insurance claims refers to the unethical and often illegal practice of filing the same claim with two or more insurance providers in an attempt to receive multiple payouts for the same loss or damage.
Double dipping is considered a form of insurance fraud. If discovered, it can lead to serious legal consequences, including fines, cancellation of policies and even criminal charges.
What Are the Drawbacks of Having Two Insurance Policies on One Car?
Having two insurance policies on the same car is usually not a good idea. It doesn't provide extra coverage but doubles the costs and can make managing claims confusing. Additionally, there's a risk of accidental fraud, and single policies can often be tailored to meet your needs more effectively.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have double insurance on a car, it's wise to consult with an insurance professional to understand how the policies interact and whether it makes sense to maintain both. A professional can help you navigate the situation and ensure that you have the appropriate coverage without unnecessary duplication or expense.
Here are some of the drawbacks of double insuring a car:
No Additional Benefit
Having two policies doesn't usually provide additional coverage or benefits. If you file a claim, the insurance providers will typically coordinate to determine who pays what, so you won't receive double compensation.
You'll be paying premiums for both policies, essentially doubling your insurance costs without gaining additional protection.
Managing two policies and understanding how they interact can be complex, especially if you need to file a claim. It may lead to delays or complications in the claims process.
Risk of Accidental Fraud
If you're not careful, you might inadvertently file the same claim with both providers without proper coordination, which could be seen as an attempt at fraud.
Instead of double insuring, you can often achieve the desired level of protection by carefully selecting the coverages, limits and endorsements on a single policy tailored to your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our responses to frequently asked questions explore the topic of having two car insurance policies, providing insights into the legality, practicality and scenarios where multiple policies might be beneficial or necessary. Dive in to understand the nuances of holding two car insurance policies.
About Mark Fitzpatrick
- California Department of Insurance. "New insurance rules for ride-share companies and drivers take effect today." Accessed August 22, 2023.