What features should I look for in a car insurance policy?

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Most third party car insurance policies come with little in the way of expensive extras, making them easy to compare by price. However, if you decide on comprehensive cover there are a lot of additional options to consider. The best* policy for you should have all the extras you want, and nothing you don’t.

  • Damage to your vehicle.
    Some comprehensive insurance policies let you choose which hazards you want to be protected against. Select the hazards that are more likely to happen, and try to exclude the ones that definitely won’t.
  • Damage to other people’s property.
    This is the core of non-compulsory third party car insurance and typically offers up to $20 million worth of cover. It also comes with comprehensive insurance and you may be able to choose different limits for different prices.
  • Roadside assistance.
    A lot of people are happy to pay more for this extra, but some people prefer not to. You must decide if the convenience is worth the cost.
  • Choice of repairer.
    If you have a modified, classic, luxury or otherwise unique vehicle then this could be vital for you. More typically, however, it’s more a matter of convenience.
  • Lifetime repair guarantee.
    Many people prefer to have repairs done by the insurance company and be guaranteed for life.
  • Hire car after theft or damage.
    This is a common add-on recommended for people who are absolutely dependent on being able to drive and can’t rely on public transport as they wait for their car to be repaired or replaced.
  • Cover for personal property.
    Some comprehensive policies offer limited cover for possessions store in the car, usually up to several thousands of dollars. If you normally park on the street with trade tools, electronics, jewellery or other valuables in your car then this can be a valuable. Always check personal property cover for exclusions and limits.
  • Cover for baby capsules and child seats.
    If you don’t have children you should probably opt out of this extra.
  • Change of vehicle cover.
    If you plan on changing cars in the near future, this is worth looking for as a way to reduce or eliminate extra fees down the line.
  • Damage to your trailer or caravan.
    If you have a trailer or a caravan, this is recommended. As always, check the limits and exclusions to make sure you’re adequately covered.
  • New-for-old replacement vehicle.
    If your car is written off before a certain number of years, your insurance company will replace it with a new one. If this appeals to you, look for the insurer who offers it for the most number of years (usually between one and three), but first work out whether it’s worth the cost.
  • Towing and storage.
    If you use towing equipment and vehicle storage frequently it’s worth finding a policy to cover it.
  • Recoding of remotes and locks after theft.
    Late model vehicles are tempting targets for thieves and they often have remote control electronic locks. Car manufacturers take advantage of this by charging substantial prices for the recoding of remotes and locks after theft, so you could save by getting a plan that covers it.

What is the best car insurance?

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There is no single best car insurance policy. It all depends on your wants and needs.

If you’re driving a flashy new Mercedes, it’d be a smart idea to take out comprehensive cover as you’ve got a lot more to lose. Imagine writing your car off and being $100k out of pocket. Doesn’t sound ideal, does it?

But if you’re driving a piece of junk, third party property damage could have the cover you need as you’re not paying to replace a car you (probably) wouldn’t miss.

The most important thing when shopping for car insurance is to not be fooled simply by price. Sure, price is definitely a factor as you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for cover. But if you’re opting for a cheaper policy, ensure it’s actually got the cover you need. It’ll save you more dosh in the long run.

What is the best car insurance for those who don’t drive much?

If you’re a pensioner who doesn’t drive much anymore, or anyone else who only uses their car occasionally, Pay As You Drive is an option offered by some car insurers that rewards drivers with lower premiums if they travel less than the average 15,000 kilometres a year. If you think you qualify for this cover, it can be a good way to reduce your premiums. If you aren’t sure or you think you might be on the cusp, here are some ways to cut down on your driving time:

  • Carpool several times a week
  • Catch the train or bus to work
  • Plan your errands for one trip per day instead of taking lots of little trips
  • Take the most direct route, by distance, to your destination

What is the best car insurance for younger drivers under 25?

If you’re a young driver (under 25), or a P-plater, it can be hard to find the best* value car insurance. Due to inexperience, these groups are at higher risk of having accidents. If you’re in this demographic you will be hit with higher costs, but there are still some things you can do to reduce your premiums. These include:

  • Choosing a car that’s cheaper to insure. Remember that a more expensive car not only costs more straight off the bat, but will also cost more for as long as you use it.
  • Taking a defensive driving course, such as the free one offered by AAMI
  • Having a consistently safe driving record, which will gradually decrease your premiums over time
  • Being a nominated driver on your parents’ insurance (although this will likely increase their premium)
  • Increasing your excess to an amount that’s high but affordable

How to choose the right home insurance

Choosing the right home and contents insurance policy is often difficult and time-consuming. A comparison service aims to make that process easier and faster, giving people peace of mind that they have made the right decision. It does this by helping compare policies and shop around for a better deal.

There are two types of home building insurance: total replacement cover and sum-insured cover.

Total replacement cover:

This insurance will cover the cost to rebuild your home to the standard it was before an event.

Pros – Reduces the chance of any shortfalls between what it costs to repair or rebuild your home and the amount you are insured for (also known as ‘underinsurance’).

Cons – Only a few insurers offer total replacement policies. It might also take some time to receive the funds under this policy if you suffer a total loss, as the insurer will need to conduct a full assessment to work out the cost of rebuilding your home. This could also be delayed if access to your property or the local area is restricted due to a natural disaster.

Sum-insured cover

This insurance is more common and will cover you up to a set amount (‘the sum insured’), selected by you, to repair or rebuild your home.

Pros – If you suffer a total loss, your claim can typically be settled once the insurer has confirmed your loss.

Cons – There is a higher risk of underinsurance, where the actual rebuilding costs exceed the estimated costs. Some sum-insured policies offer an ‘extended cover’ policy that provides up to 30% on top of the sum insured in the event of a total loss, but make sure you read and understand the conditions that apply to this type of policy.

Building insurance policies differ between insurers and even between home insurance ‘brands’ offered by the same insurer.

Compare the features and prices of at least three policies before you choose one. This will ensure you shop around for the right level of cover at the best price. It’s as simple as phoning a few insurance companies, or visiting a few websites.

Find out what you would be covered for with each policy and what you are not covered for (exclusions) including any caps or limits. Also, check if the policy offers any additional benefits.

You can get information about policies from the product’s key facts sheet, which will be on the insurer’s website, or you can ask them to send you a copy. The facts sheet summarises important information about the policy including what you are and aren’t covered for.

If you want more detail than what’s in the key facts sheet, read the PDS, which you can also get from the insurer.

How much is home and contents insurance on average?

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The cost of your home insurance policy, aka your premium, depends on a variety of factors beyond the amount of cover you want, such as your claims history and where you live.

Premiums for home & contents insurance – like other forms of insurance – reflect the levels of risk the insurer will take on for insuring that property. In recent years there has been a slight increase in the severity and frequency of natural disasters, as well as smaller weather events like powerful storms. This has caused a higher number of claims being made, leading to a slight increase in the cost of insurance policies in most of the states and regions.