Can you get two different insurance policies on one car?

Auto insurance companies don't allow customers to purchase more than one policy for a vehicle. Carriers can refuse your claim if you try to profit from insurance.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you buy a car, you’re required by law to buy and manage an auto insurance policy on the vehicle. The requirements are set by state officials where you reside
  • You’re expected to buy auto insurance in the state where the vehicle is registered to comply with the mandatory insurance laws
  • Your coverage will follow you when you go over state lines. In most states, you must have a garaging ZIP code in the state where your vehicle is registered
  • It’s important that your name on your registration and your name on your auto insurance ID card match.
  • If the vehicle is owned by two or more people, you don’t need two different policies. Having two policies on one vehicle is not allowed because of the unjust enrichment rule

State laws are in place to protect drivers, pedestrians, and passengers. One of the most common laws passed by state officials makes auto insurance a mandatory requirement when you own a vehicle.

Vehicle owners are required to purchase coverage that protects their assets and also protects others so that they can pay their bills and rebuild.

You are required by law to buy insurance, but you can’t buy as many policies as you want. Auto insurance carriers have their own rules surrounding who can and can’t buy insurance, and one of the deal-breakers is carrying two or more policies on the same car.

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What does state law require?

 

It’s the vehicle owner’s responsibility to buy insurance to comply with compulsory insurance laws. If the car is registered in your name, the policy that you purchase needs to be in your name as well. Being a driver on a policy isn’t the same as owning a policy as the named insured.

You’re only legally required to buy as much insurance as is required under the state’s vehicle code.

It’s important that you buy auto insurance from a carrier that’s licensed to sell personal auto insurance in your state. If you buy insurance in another state, the coverage that you’re carrying will pay for a loss, but it won’t meet the state requirements.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Where do you buy insurance if you live in two states?

If you’re a snowbird or you travel back and forth between two home states, it might be tempting to buy two insurance policies. This is not an option because you only need insurance in the state where the vehicle is registered.

In most scenarios, you keep your registration in the state that you live in more than 6 months out of the year.

If you end up transferring your registration to another state, you need to then switch your insurance. You can’t just change your address on your policy because the policy must be written on the provisions that are required in the other state.

It’s still important to cancel your other policy instead of keeping both policies active.

Do you need multiple policies if there are multiple owners?

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If you buy your vehicle with a spouse, a family member, or an adult child, that doesn’t mean that each owner needs to have their own insurance policy.

One of the requirements to buy insurance on a private passenger vehicle is that you must have an insurable interest. This means that a loss to the vehicle would affect you financially.

While this requirement is met when a borrower or legal owner owns a policy, you still don’t need separate policies for each of the owners with a financial interest in the car. You can either buy the coverage in the primary owner’s name or you can add the co-signer to the policy as an additional named insured.

Carriers Have Rules Against Unjust Enrichment

Insurance companies have their own rules and you should educate yourself on them before you have a claim. If you unknowingly violate a hidden rule, you could have your claim delayed or denied. One of these rules prohibits unjust enrichment by prohibiting vehicle owners from buying two policies on a single car.

Unjust enrichment is a very big problem for an insurer.

The purpose of insurance is to help you restore your vehicle to its pre-loss condition after you get into an accident.

If you have two policies, you could attempt to make a claim against both and get double the money. You are not meant to profit from insurance and if you do, you could face large penalties.

Insurance companies have the ability to put your claim on hold if they find out that you have another policy in place. It’s possible that the two companies will go back and forth trying to classify the other policy as primary.

It’s best to avoid this by comparing insurance policies and then choosing the best one. Use an online rate comparison tool and cancel your old policy if you decide to make the switch.

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