Comprehensive guide to motor vehicle insurance

Motor vehicle insurance is often considered a costly and inconvenient part for both individual motorists and when running a fleet. While the world of car insurance may seem like you are going out to battle in a minefield, knowing the basics and some tips of how to save can be crucial to getting the best deal whilst still protecting your vehicle. This article gives an overview of car insurance in Australia as well as how to save time and money and cover your car from any unforeseen circumstances.

Types of car insurance

All registered vehicles in Australia require a minimum of compulsory third party insurance, which only covers the cost of personal injury (i.e. medical bills) to people other than the driver if you are at fault in an accident. While this is a legal requirement to be paid along with vehicle registration, most drivers, and in particular fleet managers, invest in higher levels of cover to protect their drivers and vehicles.

  • Third party property damage – This level of insurance covers the costs of any damages caused to someone else’s car or other property (i.e. repairs to a bike, fence) if you are at fault in an accident.
  • Third party property damage with fire and theft – This level of cover offers the same benefits of third party property damage, but also covers the cost of fire or other damage in the event that your vehicle is stolen.
  • Comprehensive motor vehicle insurance – Comprehensive or full cover insurance offers the greatest level of protection by covering most damages that can happen to your vehicle and any other parties involved. There are many different comprehensive insurance policies for motor vehicles, and costs and conditions between providers may vary.

Car insurance trends

The past five years or so in the insurance industry have been marred by poor investment performance and an increased number of natural disasters. This combination has led to a rise in more insurance claims and payouts, and in turn higher premiums for vehicle owners. As insurers are passing their rising costs onto drivers, it is more important than ever to source the best deal for your situation, particularly before premiums rise again.

Tips for getting the best deal

  • Review your policy annually – When your insurance renewal papers arrive in the mail annually, carefully check your cover and premium rises before simply signing on for another year.
  • Balance your level of cover and budget – it is important to note that the cheapest insurance isn’t always the best, as being underinsured could cost you much more than the amount saved on your cover in the event you need to make a claim. You can also adjust your excess level to suit your circumstances.
  • Shop around for the best deal – There are many insurance comparison websites and other tools to see policies and prices for multiple providers, to help you determine the best product for your situation. Your current provider will often price match if you find a lower price elsewhere so it is always a good idea to ask before switching providers.

Fleet managers can combine car insurance with other services

If you are a business manager running a fleet of vehicles, combining motor vehicle insurance with other fleet services such as fuel, maintenance and roadside assistance can save you both time and money. Enlisting a fleet management company to take care of these services is beneficial as they are experts in all fleet areas, allowing you to get on with the task of running your business.Combining services with one provider also has the added benefit of receiving one monthly itemised invoice, with a breakdown of all services. This makes budgeting easier as you don’t have to contend with a pile of different receipts or multiple suppliers, and only pay one set of fees.

Final thoughts

While car  insurance is a necessary evil for both individual motorists and fleet managers, if you do some research and shop around there is no reason why you can’t get a good deal and be fully protected should anything happen to your vehicle. When looking for the right motor vehicle policy, be aware of the current insurance trends and seek the advice of an expert to weigh up providers and policies. Being fully covered provides peace-of-mind for everyone involved.

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