It's not uncommon for someone to own more than one vehicle. You may need access to multiple vehicles if you have other drivers in your household, like teens or a spouse. If you’re a car collector, you may be working to restore multiple vehicles at any given time.
No set laws specify the number of vehicles you can own at one time. But other factors can affect your decision to own more than one vehicle, including financial implications, car insurance, storage, and need.
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How many cars can you register in your name?
Federal law doesn't limit the number of vehicles you can register in your name. Depending on state and local laws, you could register as many cars under your name as you’d like, provided you have the financial means to purchase them and ample parking space to store them.
Another factor to consider is auto insurance. Policies vary between insurance providers, but most companies allow you to have four or five cars under one policy. If you have more cars than this, you might need to take out an additional insurance policy.
Leasing more than one vehicle
Many drivers prefer to lease vehicles rather than buy them outright. Depending on the dealer, you may be able to lease more than one vehicle at the same time. Leasing two vehicles at once comes with considerable costs, but it's not much different from having more than one car payment on new or used vehicles you’re financing.
Getting approved for two leases can be challenging, though, depending on your credit and financial history, employment status, and income. Some automakers or third-party lenders may not want to fund more than one auto lease at a time due to the financial strain multiple car payments may put on your monthly expenses.
Leasing multiple vehicles can also affect your credit by increasing your debt-to-income ratio. That's your total monthly debt payments compared to your gross monthly income. Adding multiple debt payments to your monthly budget may cause your credit score to drop or make it harder to get approved for future financing.
Check Out: How Car Swap Leases Work (2022)
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Car insurance for multiple vehicles
Most auto insurance companies allow you to insure multiple vehicles. Auto insurance protects you financially if you’re involved in an accident. If you get in an accident without insurance, you may be liable for costs, including property damages, medical expenses, legal fees, and more. Liability coverage can help cover all or some of these costs.
Having liability insurance can also keep you on the right side of the law and insurers you might want to apply to in the future. A lapse in coverage can occur if you fail to make on-time payments or your insurance company drops you for any reason. You may sometimes be eligible for a grace period if your insurance coverage lapses. Insurance companies are required by law to provide ample notice for you to make a payment before canceling a car insurance policy — typically 10 to 20 days.
You’ll face severe consequences if you’re caught driving without insurance, regardless of the reason. Possible outcomes include:
Impounding of your car
Insurance coverage requirements and registration guidelines vary by state. Contact your state's department of motor vehicles for more information on state minimum auto insurance requirements.
Variations by state
Almost every state requires drivers to have some level of car insurance coverage. Liability insurance isn’t mandatory in New Hampshire, but drivers must pay for any injury or property damage caused by their vehicles. In Virginia, you can opt out of minimum coverage requirements if you pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee each year, but you’ll bear full financial responsibility if you’re at fault in an accident.
Florida only requires liability coverage for property damage but also requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
All U.S. states require vehicles to be registered and titled with the state’s transportation agency or department of motor vehicles. Motor vehicle registration and title fees vary by state.
Check Out: Vehicle Registration Rates by State
Parked car insurance
What if you have a vehicle sitting in storage or don't plan to drive for an extended period? Do you still need car insurance for stored vehicles? Not necessarily, although if you’re leasing or financing the vehicle, some lenders may require you to keep collision and comprehensive coverage as a condition of the auto loan.
One option to consider is parked car insurance, also known as comprehensive-only coverage. Parked car insurance helps pay for vehicle damages due to certain events, like vandalism, theft, fire, hail, or a fallen tree. Getting comprehensive-only coverage for your vehicle can help you save money on a vehicle you aren’t using while still protecting it against damages.
Things to consider before owning multiple cars
Before you decide to own multiple vehicles, you’ll want to consider several personal and financial factors. Ask yourself these questions when determining whether you should own more than one car:
Why do you need multiple vehicles? You may need more than one vehicle, depending on your situation. Perhaps you and your partner both work and need transportation. If you have teenagers, they may need access to a vehicle for school or work.
Does it make financial sense? Consider your financial situation before deciding to own or finance multiple vehicles. Taking on too many auto loans could strain your budget and leave you financially vulnerable.
Do you have enough parking space? You’ll need room for any vehicle you own, whether it's on your driveway, in a garage, or storage.
Will your neighborhood’s homeowners association care? If you belong to a homeowners association (HOA), it may have specific rules and regulations you must abide by as a member. Those rules may include parking policies, including where, when, and how you can park vehicles you own. Your HOA may prohibit certain types of vehicles or having a broken-down car in front of your home.
Benefits of owning more than one car
Owning multiple cards can be a godsend, especially if you have a considerable need. Beyond necessity, owning multiple vehicles has several other benefits.
Good for credit history
One of the most significant factors in credit scores and positive credit history is your payment history. Financing multiple cars can help your credit if you make your payments on time. But late or missed payments have the opposite effect on your credit.
Relying on a single car can be difficult if you have multiple drivers in your home. Availability for the car may depend on other people's schedules, not yours. Owning more than one car means it's more likely a car is available to use when you need it.
Satisfaction as a car collector
If you're a car collector, you may have several vintage or collector cars you want to own or restore.
Preparing to sell
You can make good money reselling vehicles. Some people may buy multiple vehicles to fix up and resell for a profit. Just keep in mind that you may need to get a dealer’s license if you’re selling multiple vehicles each year.
Guidelines for selling vehicles without a dealer’s license
You may be required to obtain a dealer's license if you sell multiple vehicles annually. The Federal Trade Commision (FTC) set specific guidelines on what constitutes a used vehicle dealer:
"Dealer means any person or business which sells or offers for sale a used vehicle after selling or offering for sale five (5) or more used vehicles in the previous twelve months, but does not include a bank or financial institution, a business selling a used vehicle to an employee of that business, or a lessor selling a leased vehicle by or to that vehicle's lessee or to an employee of the lessee."
Specific limits on selling vehicles may depend on where you live. Check state guidelines to ensure you're not breaking laws by selling automobiles.
See Also: The Most Popular Cars in America (2022)
Registering cars in your name FAQs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about how many cars you can have in your name.
Insurance companies generally allow you to have four or five cars on the same auto insurance policy. Specific guidelines vary between insurance providers. Depending on the number of vehicles you want to insure, an additional policy may be required, so be sure to check with your insurance company about how many vehicles you can have on the same policy.
The average U.S. household owns 1.9 vehicles, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data. And approximately 90% of households in the U. S. own at least one vehicle.
Many lenders require you to carry comprehensive and collision insurance on financed cars until they’re paid off. You may not need auto insurance on cars you own outright if you don't plan to drive them for extended periods. However, carrying at least comprehensive coverage can protect your vehicle from damages from covered events and help you avoid a lapse in coverage.
You may be denied a second car loan even if you have the financial means to pay for it or an acceptable credit score. Lenders take a deep dive into your credit and financial history when you apply for a loan. Other factors could set off red flags for a lender, including a high debt-to-income ratio or high loan-to-value ratio.
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- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What is a debt-to-income ratio?." Accessed December 15, 2022
- Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. "Uninsured Motor Vehicle Fee." Accessed December 15, 2022
- National Conference of State Legislators. "Vehicle Registration Fees by State." Accessed December 15, 2022
- Bureau of Transportation Statistics. "Household, Individual, and Vehicle Characteristics." Accessed December 15, 2022