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What is comprehensive car insurance?

A comprehensive car insurance policy provides the highest level of protection of the available types of cover in Australia. It typically covers you for damage to your vehicle and damage to other driver’s vehicles or property.

Furthermore, it covers damage caused by fire, storm, hail, and replacement costs if your vehicle is stolen. A comprehensive policy covers the cost of repairs regardless of which party is responsible for the damage. It also covers features like having a hire car while yours is at the shop getting repaired, or replacing your windshield.

Why you should compare comprehensive policies with us?

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Getting started is as simple as filling in a few details. We’ll look up your vehicle and find comprehensive policies suitable to you.

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Our comparison service puts you in the driver’s seat. Find a great deal by looking for suitable features and cheaper prices.

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Once you’re happy with a comprehensive car insurance policy you’ve found, we’ll be happy to help you complete your purchase through our website.

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You don’t pay to use our comparison service. Instead, we receive a commission from insurers when you take out a policy. Learn more.

What does comprehensive car insurance usually cover?

Comprehensive car insurance covers your vehicle in the case of accidents, theft, and fire – essentially, all types of calamity! In fact, it packages up more exclusive features than any other type of car insurance available in Australia. Comprehensive car insurance will normally cover the following:

Car accident or collision: Typically includes coverage for loss or damage caused by crashes and collisions.No claim discount protection: A no claim discount is protected for your first at-fault claim during a set period of your policy.

Included

Optional extras

Theft: Covers damages or loss from theft to your vehicle.No excess or reduced excess on windscreens: Excess-free or set amount on broken windscreens and glass.
Damage to other driver’s vehicle or property: Cover for damage or loss to a third party’s vehicle or property.Hire car cover: Claim on a hire car up to a set amount while your car is being repaired following an accident.
Weather related damages: Coverage for loss or damage caused by fire, hail, storm, or flood.Restricted driver discounts: A discount on your premium when you exclude drivers under a certain age limit.
Personal effects cover: A set amount to cover personal possessions lost or damaged in an accident.Choice of agreed or market value for your car: If your car is stolen or written off, you will receive the agreed or market value of your vehicle at the time of the accident.
Emergency transport & accommodation cover: Can claim on overnight accommodation or emergency transport if stranded.
Towing: Coverage for your car to be towed after an accident (usually up to 100km).

The table below highlights the differences in cover between a comprehensive policy and other car insurance policies:

Insurance typeDamage to your carDamage to another person’s car or propertyDamage or loss caused by theftInjuries or death to other people in an accident
Green Slip (i.e. CTP)NoNoNoYes
Third party propertyNoYesNoNo
Third party fire & theftNoYesYesNo
ComprehensiveYesYesYesNo

How much does comprehensive cover cost?

There are multiple variables that can determine the average cost of taking out comprehensive car insurance. Your insurance provider will calculate your premium based on several factors that evaluate your level of risk.

Common factors that are likely to impact the cost of your premium are:

Age of driver

Your experience as a driver can make a significant impact to the price of your policy. Most insurers have policies tailored around specific life stages. Younger drivers can expect to pay more for premiums as they are statistically more likely to be involved in road accidents than other age demographics.

Driving record and claim history

Your driving history makes a huge difference to your premium. This encompasses whether you’re a low kilometre driver (i.e. retiree or public transport dweller), if your car is being used for business purposes, or you qualify as a “safe driver” (if you haven’t made an at-fault claim against your policy for a set period of time).

The vehicle you drive

Comprehensive insurance premiums vary depending on the type, make and model of car you drive. High-powered engines, modifications, vintage or specialty cars, will likely increase your premium. As a general rule, if it’s expensive to replace, it’s expensive to insure.

Where you park

Your address and postcode impact the cost of your premium, especially if your residence is in an area that is safer than others. Insurance companies also take into account if your car is securely parked (i.e. garage, off-street carport), or if it’s parked unsecured on streets.

Your excess

Your excess is a payment you will need to cover in the event of an at-fault claim. Generally, the higher your excess payment, the lower your premium will be.

So, how much will it cost? Well, it varies – as you will see in the graph

To insure something as standard as a Mazda 3 in NSW (the most popular car to get a quote for on our website), it would cost roughly $14 a week on our cheapest comprehensive policy. That’s pretty affordable!

NSW Average Car Insurance Premiums

Source: Comparethemarket.com.au quote, quotes produced 2/28/18

Are there any exclusions with comprehensive cover?

Exclusions are provisions on your car insurance policy that nullify coverage when it’s time to claim.

Exclusions are often hidden away in the finer details of an insurance policy, and can be easily missed if you’re not careful. So, if you’re in the market for comprehensive car insurance, you need to be aware of common exclusions within your policy to ensure your cover isn’t voided when it’s time to claim.

Typical exclusions to look out for include:

  • intentional damage to your vehicle;
  • driving a car that isn’t roadworthy (e.g. defective brakes/lights, worn tyres);
  • damage caused by an unlicensed driver;
  • damaged caused if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

If you’re unsure about any specific details of your car insurance policy, always check your product disclosure statement (PDS), or contact your insurer.

FAQs about comprehensive car insurance in Australia

Is there an excess to pay when I claim on comprehensive car insurance?

A car insurance excess is the sum of money you pay when you make a valid claim on your policy. The remaining cost for repairs or replacement is then covered by your insurer. There’s technically a limit on what your insurer will cover, but it’s typically millions of dollars (so be careful not to write off a Bugatti Veyron!)

A clear example would be if you have an excess of $500 and your vehicle is damaged in a collision. Repairs could end up costing thousands of dollars, but you only have to pay $500 directly to your insurer.

Comprehensive policies are not exempt to excess. The most common types of insurance excess are:

  • Standard excess: an out-of-pocket expense when you make an at-fault claim.
  • Voluntary excess: you agree to pay a specified amount in addition to another excess, perhaps in exchange for a cheaper monthly premium.
  • Age/inexperienced driver excess: a different excess rate for younger, less experienced drivers. These can be more expensive than a typical excess.
  • Undeclared or unlisted driver excess: an excess that is potentially pricier for claims involving drivers not listed on your comprehensive car insurance policy.
  • Glass/windscreen excess: you can opt for a reduced windscreen excess or even a ‘free’ windscreen replacement. However, this option may cost you more in premiums each month.

Having a higher excess is usually attractive with safer drivers, as it decreases the price of your premium, and vice versa with a smaller excess. Lowering or increasing your excess is entirely your choice, so it might be a good idea to weigh up what’s more important to you in the event of a car accident.

Your insurer should advise you if an excess payment is required when you make a claim. It’s important to keep in mind that different insurers have different excess amounts, as stipulated by your policy.

What optional extras are available for a comprehensive policy?

This is one question you’re probably asking yourself, and, the answer isn’t that simple. It all depends on what’s important to you, and of course, your car.

If you are interested in taking out extra cover for additional peace of mind, some of your options may include:

  • Emergency costs. In the event of an emergency, you may have to deal with a lot of unexpected costs. However, your insurer can pay for accommodation expenses, or emergency travel if your car is immobile and requires towing outside of your home’s 100 kilometre radius.
  • Accident hire car. Your car may be covered for repairs or replacement, but if it’s un-driveable or written off, how will you get around in the meantime? For example, if you own a European car, you might be left waiting weeks for a replacement part to be shipped, which can add stress to an already undesirable situation. Luckily, a complimentary hire car provides you with wheels while you wait for your car to be fixed or replaced, so you’re not left stranded.
  • Personal effects. Some standard comprehensive policies cover personal effects that are lost, stolen, or damaged while inside a vehicle. For example, if your car is broken into and your laptop is stolen while you’re ordering a flat white on the way to work, your car insurance may cover you to replace your laptop. Limits and restrictions may apply, and vary between insurers.
  • Roadside assistance. If your car breaks down, you run out of fuel, or you puncture a tyre; not only will you stranded, you’ll also be paying out-of-pocket expenses for repairs and (possibly) a tow truck. Adding roadside assistance cover to your existing comprehensive policy could mean that you’re sorted for various mechanical or electrical breakdowns (including battery issues), lockouts, bogs, flat tyres, and – in some cases – emergency fuel.
  • Adjusting your excess. Some policies allow you to choose an excess amount. Choosing a higher excess may mean a lower premium with some insurers. While the savings offered by reducing your excess can be tempting, make sure you weigh up the potential savings against the risk of making a claim, because the higher the excess, the more you will be left out of pocket if something happens to your car.
  • Replacement of keys. If you’re habitually losing your car keys, or if your keys have been stolen, then replacement keys might be an option. Some insurers will cover the costs of replacing your keys, or keyless entries, up to a set amount listed on your policy.
How to make a comprehensive car insurance claim

Making a claim on your comprehensive car insurance is usually a simple process. You need to ensure your insurance details are in your car at all times (glove box or centre console), so they are always at hand in case you’re involved in an accident. Exchange details with other parties involved in an incident, and then contact your insurer. If possible, take photos at the location of the accident and the damage.

Most insurers provide a 24/7 claims lodgement and assistance service over the phone, while others also offer online claim lodgement. Give them a call and they will talk you through the process on lodging a claim.

The severity of the damage to your vehicle may determine how your claim is assessed. If the incident is minor, you may be asked by your insurer to take your vehicle to one of several nominated repairers, who will undertake repairs.

If the incident is more severe, your car may need to be assessed by your insurer’s assessor. If your vehicle is not in a drivable or roadworthy condition, due to the nature of the damage, your insurer may arrange to have it towed directly to their facility for a claims assessment.

It’s imperative that you always read the insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which outlines the conditions of cover including information about:

  • what your policy covers you for, and your responsibilities to meet these conditions;
  • your duty to disclose all information that is asked of you both at a policy purchase and renewal level; and
  • Understanding your policy benefits, features and entitlements.
How to claim discounts and lower your premium

Discounts and cheaper insurance policies apply to customers that satisfy certain requirements, especially those who lower/minimise their ‘risk profile’. For example, drivers who don’t drive more than 15,000 kilometres per year may qualify for a low-kilometre policy, and pensioners qualify for their own specialised policy – both of which contain discounts because of the perceived reduced risk of these types of drivers.

If you do not make an insurance claim over the life of your policy, your insurance provider may offer you a no claims discount (otherwise known as NCD) when it’s time to renew your policy. If you don’t claim for multiple years, the savings may compound – up to five years.

Is comprehensive car insurance compulsory in Australia?

Comprehensive car insurance is not compulsory in Australia. That being said, it is a legal requirement for every car owner in Australia to have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance as a bare minimum of cover, which is included in your registration fees (in some states).

Comprehensive cover does provide greater protection from significant repair/replacement costs, and may save you money in many different situations (e.g. traffic accidents, thefts, storms).

Do you need CTP insurance if you have comprehensive cover?

Yes, you need compulsory third party (CTP) insurance as it covers you, your passengers, and others for injuries relating to a motor vehicle accident. Comprehensive car insurance does not offer this type of cover.

Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance is, as the name suggests, compulsory. It is a legal requirement upon registering your vehicle in Australia to take out this cover. It covers your liability against personal injury caused by you in a motor vehicle incident.

So, if you’re in an accident, where you’re at fault, and someone gets injured, your CTP protects you. It does not cover damage to vehicles or property, which is why it’s important to have comprehensive car insurance to safeguard you if your car is damaged, stolen, or if you damage a third party’s vehicle, or other related property.

Can I get comprehensive car insurance with roadside assistance?

You can opt for a comprehensive car insurance policy with roadside assistance as an optional extra, which may cost you more in the long run. Depending on your insurer, and level of cover, roadside assistance usually includes mobile technicians, towing, and optional extras such as emergency accommodation with additional taxi fares.

Most insurers offer roadside assistance as an option with comprehensive cover, and it is your responsibility to read through the policy’s terms and conditions to understand what you’re covered for.

How to cancel your comprehensive policy

You can cancel your policy at any time. You will need to contact your insurance provider and notify them of your intentions. Insurers should have all of their details listed online, and most will need to be notified in writing (email, letter, or fax).

Be aware that some policies may have cancellation fees. If you decide to cancel your policy, you may qualify for a refund on the unexpired parts of your premium, less any fees your insurer has stipulated on your policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS).

Does comprehensive insurance cover me if I’m driving other cars?

A comprehensive car insurance policy insures your vehicle – not you.

Your comprehensive car insurance policy insures one vehicle. Therefore, you’re not covered by this policy if you use another motor vehicle and get into an accident. However, if you’re listed on this other vehicle’s insurance policy as a listed driver, for example, you may be covered by another policy. This will depend on the owner’s policy though.

Like other insurance policies, you’re only covered for driving the vehicle which the policy insures. Depending on your policy and insurer, you may have other people nominated as drivers who will be covered in the event of an accident.

Full disclosure to your insurer is always encouraged to avoid any confusion, or worse – voiding your cover.

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