Abstract The Modal Assurance Criterion (MAC) and Normalized Cross-Orthogonality (NCO) check are widely used to assess the correlation between the experimentally determined modes and the Finite Element Model (FEM) predictions of mechanical systems. Here, their effectiveness in the correlation of FEM of two types of multi-physics systems, namely viscoelastic damped systems and a shunted piezoelectric system are investigated using the dynamic characteristics obtained from a nominal FEM, that are considered as the ‘true’ or experimental characteristics and those obtained from the inaccurate FEMs. The usefulness of the MAC and NCO check in the prediction of the overall loss factor of the viscoelastic damped system, which is an important design tool for such systems, is assessed and it is observed that these correlation methods fail to properly predict the damping characteristics, along with the responses under base excitation. Hence, Base Force Assurance Criterion (BFAC) is applied by comparing the ‘true’ dynamic force at the base and inaccurate FEM predicted force such that the criterion can indicate the possible error in the acceleration, displacement and loss factor. The effect of temperature as an uncertainty on the MAC and NCO check is also studied using two viscoelastic systems. The usefulness of MAC for the correlation of a second multi-physics FEM that consists of a shunted piezoelectric damped system is also analysed under harmonic excitation. It has been observed that, MAC has limited use in the correlation and hence, a new correlation method - Current Assurance Criterion - based on the electric current is introduced and it is demonstrated that this criterion correlates the dynamic characteristics of the piezoelectric system better than the MAC.