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Finance

Shopping around for insurance

Insurance is a necessary part of any car owner’s life. But how can you make sure you get the best deal – and can you take your no-claims bonus with you if you decide to switch insurers?

By Shell on Jul. 14, 2022

Let's be honest – owning a car is expensive. But while some bills, like registration, are fixed and non-negotiable, there are ways to save. Insurance definitely falls into this category. If you're not with the right insurer and don't have the right policy and options, you're probably also paying too much or not sufficiently covered.

Rule number one – do your research

Insurers are much like your electricity and phone provider – they tend to offer a swag of sharp deals to tempt new customers they might not automatically give to you.

Even if you don't want to change insurers, spend a few minutes getting some online quotes from other insurers prior to renewing your policy each year. If you find cheaper alternatives, put them to your current insurer and they might just match it.

Choosing the right insurer and policy for your needs

Some insurers are orientated more to specific vehicle use than middle-market providers – say those who don't drive much or have a classic car – and can be a path to better coverage or a cheaper premium.

Not every policy has the same coverage or price, so you need to think about what you really need from your insurance, too. Beyond specific benefits, the choice of policy is often closely related to the value of the car. Not protecting a new $60,000 SUV with a comprehensive policy would be silly in light of its write-off cost. But forking out 20 per cent of the value of an old bomb each year for comprehensive coverage might be excessive.

Adjusting your excess

Your excess is essentially the bill you pay for making a claim. Choose high and you can lower the cost of your annual premium; go low and your premium will be higher. For the accident prone, a high-excess policy can end up costing more.

Deciding on agreed or market value

If you're a comprehensive or third-party fire theft policy holder, you'll typically have this to mull over. Agreed value brings a higher premium but you choose how much your car is covered for – good, if it's a classic or financed and you don't want to be left with a debt if it's written-off. Market value means a cheaper premium, but you'll only be covered for your car's market value, which might not be what you want – or need.

The discounts – are they worth it?

Insurers offer a range of ways for you to get a discount on your premium, from restricting use to nominated drivers and those of a certain age to completing an advanced driving course or fitting an alarm.

You'll need your calculator and thinking cap to determine their worth. The one-off cost of an alarm or driving course might be justified by an ongoing discount – or it might not. By the same measure, restricting use of your car to nominated drivers won't save you money if you break the rules and aren't covered at all.

The no-claims bonus – don't throw it away

This is what you get when you're a good customer who doesn't make an at-fault claim over a certain period. Attain a 'maximum' rating and you can save a good chunk on your premium.

If you've got a maximum rating and are shopping around, make sure your new insurer will transfer it to your new policy – many insurers will as long as you can provide proof of your good graces (typically a copy of a renewal notice).

Disclaimer

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.