Comprehensive Car Insurance

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Comprehensive car insurance does what it says on the tin: it provides cover for the widest variety of vehicle damage of any type of insurance policy on the market. It’s worth knowing about the different types of insurance available to you, so we’ve unpacked everything you need to know about comprehensive car insurance in this extensive guide. Read more to find out how it could be the right step for your vehicle ownership and the most effective ways to compare different comprehensive car insurance policies.

What is comprehensive car insurance and how does it work?

Comprehensive car insurance is one of the three optional vehicle insurance services available to Australian vehicle owners. In terms of its meaning, comprehensive car insurance provides the most comprehensive cover in its policies. It’ll reimburse you for certain costs accrued relating to your car that it covers, helping ease what could be a substantial financial burden without it. Every full comprehensive car insurance policy will cover the following:

  • Damage to your car or another party’s car or property in an accident you’re held liable for
  • Damage to your car caused by a fire
  • Damage to or loss of your car due to theft
 

These are the main points that set comprehensive car insurance apart from other types of policies, as none of the others can compete in terms of coverage. Alongside these, though, you’re likely to be able to choose other types of cover in the form of optional extras that can extend the umbrella even further. However, as a result of its wide coverage, comprehensive car insurance is the most expensive cover on the market, so the premiums you’ll pay on a monthly or annual basis are likely to be considerably more than other types of insurance. It’s also important to note that it doesn’t cover any injury or death due to a car accident. This is covered by Compulsory Third Party insurance.

What optional extras can I add onto my comprehensive car insurance?

Some insurers will include extreme weather damage in their coverage as is, but many others will allow you to add it to your policy as an optional extra. The table below lists some of the other common optional extras that customers can add onto their comprehensive car insurance or are added on automatically by the insurer.

Extra Why it might help you
Roadside assist cover
Being left on the road with your engine failing a flat tyre or smoke billowing from your bonnet can be a major concern, particularly if you don’t know the exact problem or solution to the issue. Roadside assistance can be a lifesaver in those situations, so it can be a major bonus when signing up.
Windscreen and window glass cover
Getting a crack in your windscreen can leave you concerned for your safety and wracked with worry. Y ou can cover yourself with windscreen cover as an extra on your comprehensive car insurance policy to ease any potential concerns of major breakage or cover its repairs if it breaks.
Hire car cover
There are a couple of scenarios which could lead to you needing a hire car. This extra on your comprehensive car insurance could be necessary if your car is out of action for an extended period due to an accident or if it’s been stolen and hasn’t turned up.
Replacement keys cover
This one certainly comes in handy if you have a penchant for misplacing your car keys. These days, replacement keys can be surprisingly expensive, so having the backing of your insurer can bring you peace of mind in case you lose them.

Do I have other options for car insurance besides a comprehensive policy?

Yes – there are two other types of insurance that are available to Australian vehicle owners that you may wish to consider. These would be held in place of a comprehensive policy if you decided you wanted to choose one of these.

Third Party Property (TPP) insurance is the most basic of the optional insurance policies. It only covers damage that you cause to another vehicle or someone else’s property with your vehicle. It doesn’t cover any type of damage sustained by your vehicle, nor does it cover any injury caused by an accident you were at fault for. Those who may benefit from a TPP insurance policy could be vehicle owners with an older or less valuable model that are more concerned about covering costs of damage done to another party than themselves and want to pay the lowest premiums.

Third Party Fire and Theft (TPFT) insurance is a step up from TPP insurance in terms of coverage and cost but sit below comprehensive car insurance in these aspects. TPFT insurance, in addition to damage to another vehicle or property, covers you for damage sustained by your own vehicle due to a fire and damage to, or loss of, your vehicle due to theft. These are likely to be the only areas of coverage, though, so any damage to your car in an accident wouldn’t be covered.

It’s not advisable to hold a combination of policies beyond one of the three optional insurance types and Compulsory Third-Party insurance, which is mandatory across Australia and is built into your vehicle registration in most cases.

The pros and cons of comprehensive car insurance

PROS

Best overall cover

Comprehensive car insurance provides its customers with the best coverage of any other type of vehicle insurance, protecting you from a variety of difficult financial situations.

Freedom to add optional extras

Depending on your insurer, there are a variety of bonus extras you’ll be able to add to your comprehensive car insurance policy to increase your overall cover.

CONS

More expensive premiums

The trade-off for expanded coverage is that you’re likely to pay the steepest premiums on the market on your comprehensive car insurance policy.

Top tips for comparing comprehensive car insurance

Know where to look for them

It might seem difficult to navigate the open market on your own, as you’re certainly not short on options. If you’re looking for a good place to start, you can’t go wrong with Savvy. Our insurance comparison tools will help you determine all the areas that you should be looking to optimise in a comprehensive car insurance policy.

Compare the cost of premiums

While premiums will typically be the most expensive of all the vehicle insurance options, they can vary quite significantly between insurers. These premiums can cost anywhere between $30 and $150 per month depending on your cover. It’s always worth getting a few quotes before proceeding with a comprehensive car insurance provider.

See which optional extras you can add

Not all insurers will offer the same optional extras for their policy coverage, so it’s important to know who stands where. If there’s a particular extra you’re looking for, such as replacement keys cover, you can trim down your list by finding out which lenders offer it and at what additional cost.

Common comprehensive car insurance queries

What is an excess on my comprehensive car insurance policy?

An excess is the amount that you’ll have to pay out of pocket when making a claim. For example, if your excess is set at $400 and you get into a car accident that causes $1,000 worth of damage, your insurance policy would cover $600 of that bill and your excess would handle the rest. There are different types of excess, such as for younger drivers, which you may have to pay on top of this. It’s important to note that increasing your excess is likely to decrease your premiums.

What is a no-claim discount and how can I receive one on my comprehensive car insurance policy?

A no-claim discount occurs when you go through your 12-month policy without making an at-fault claim. This discount is likely to increase the more years you build up without making a claim, which can come in handy if your premiums are expensive. To determine how much your discount will be, you’ll be given a rating of 6 at the beginning of your insurance cover and that will drop every year you go without an at-fault claim. Rating 1 typically attracts the biggest and best discount.

How frequently should I make my comprehensive car insurance payments?

If you’re looking for the cheapest option, annually – this will cost you the least in administrative fees. It isn’t always possible to pay a lump sum upfront, which is why insurers will give you the option to pay monthly premiums instead. These are paid in much smaller, more manageable instalments.

Will the location of my house affect the cost of my comprehensive car insurance premiums?

Yes – insurers will have a list of areas that they consider to be higher risk than others, so if you live in one of these you’ll probably be charged more for your premiums. Another relevant factor insurers take into account is the garaging location of your vehicle. Vehicles that are parked on the road overnight will attract a greater cost than those which are parked in a garage or sheltered carport.

How do I reduce my comprehensive car insurance premiums?

As previously mentioned, if you live in an area your insurer considers “safer” and park your car on your property under shelter, your premiums will drop in price. Cutting down your time on the road is likely to lower your premiums, as is buying a vehicle that’s easy to insure. The latter option will depend on the make, model and age of your vehicle, as well as any modifications. Generally, the more common the vehicle, the easier it’ll be to replace its parts.

Should I claim for a minor scratch on my vehicle?

Maybe – your comprehensive car insurance policy is likely to cover it, but excessive claims over a short period of time is likely to increase the cost of premiums when you renew your policy.

Will listing my son or daughter as a driver on my comprehensive car insurance policy affect my premiums?

Yes – drivers under the age of 25 are usually considered to be higher risk, so they’ll attract higher premiums. Many vehicle owners won’t have a choice, though, so it’s better to endure the increased premiums than have an accident with your child at the wheel and no cover for them.