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.
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