Choosing a car insurer can seem daunting at first, but it doesn't have to be

Sheen Panel Service on 22 August 2019

Paying for car insurance gives you peace of mind should anything happen while you're on the road. But it's important to choose the right kind of insurance to meet your unique needs.

Every insurer has special inclusions which may benefit you and we've outlined our top tips on how to choose the right car insurance.

If you're ever in a car accident, Sheen Panel Service has you covered for smash repairs and services. We will even help you handle your insurance claim.

Choosing your car insurance

Never base your insurance choices on finances alone – this is the golden rule savvy insurance buyers stick to. If you research insurance policies with filters set to specific prices, you're never going to find a policy which gives you the best value for money. Instead, base your decisions on whether the inclusions on offer in a policy best suit your lifestyle.

The main insurance policies

The types of inclusions an insurance policy offers depend on the kind of insurance you choose. The four categories are:

  • Compulsory Third Party – mandatory insurance which financially protects any person you may injure while you are driving a vehicle, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users. 
  • Third party property – insurance which provides cover for damage to other vehicles or property caused by your car.
  • Third party fire and theft – offers the same protection as third party property insurance, with the addition of fire and theft protection for your vehicle.
  • Comprehensive – covers the repair or replacement of your vehicle in cases of theft, fire, malicious damage and weather-related damage. 

Choosing the right inclusions

Many policies offer special inclusions which will suit your lifestyle better than others. Here are the 8 we suggest you look out for.

1. Choice of repairer

Easily missed, but we think it's one of the most important things when it comes to choosing car insurance. Many policies have partnerships with a preferred car repairer. But if you love your car, you will already have a repair company you know and trust so being able to choose your repairer is an asset.

Sheen Panel Service has years of experience in dealing with premium car insurance policies. If you've been in an accident and you're not at fault, get in touch with Sheen first. You can upload your smash for a quote on repairs, and we'll get an answer back to you within the hour.

2. No claims bonus

Most comprehensive insurance schemes will include a no claims bonus. This means you get discounted premiums each year you don't claim on your insurance until it reaches the maximum level. It's a great way to save money. 

The insurer will work out how much your no claims bonus is by looking at:

  • Your claims history
  • The number of years you have been driving
  • Your rating level from your previous car insurer (if applicable)\

3. Personal items

personal items left in car

Some insurers will pay up to (and in some cases, in excess of) $1000 to cover personal belongings which may be damaged in a car accident or stolen from your car.

4. New-for-old replacement cover

If you've been in an accident and you can no longer use your car, you may be eligible to receive a replacement car from your insurer.

5. Locks and keys

When your car keys are stolen, this covers the cost of replacing the keys and recoding your car's locks.

6. Roadside assistance

Some insurers offer 24-hour emergency roadside assistance. So if your car breaks down, you need a spare tyre, or you need to jump-start your batteries, you can call your insurance provider and they'll help you free of cost.

7. Cooling off periods

Depending on which insurance provider you choose, you have a period of time once you've signed any official papers to change your mind. Most, if not all, insurers should include this policy, but each has its own conditions surrounding how many days you can take.

Excesses

Once you've made your claim, you may have to pay an excess. Each insurer has different excess policies, so it's important to choose one which has the kinds of excess you'll need. If you think you're the kind of person who loses their keys all the time, or you're worried about your car being stolen, then you'll want to choose a policy with the least amount of excess in these areas.

The costs

Car insurance policies are based on the 'agreed' or 'market' value of your vehicle.  An agreed value policy is factored by the price of your car when you bought it. Meanwhile, a market value policy is based on the make, model and condition of your car. 

Premiums 

The amount you pay for your insurance is called a premium. Your insurer will base your premium on things like:

  • Where you park your car
  • Your age, gender, and driving and claims history
  • Whether you by in instalments or not
  • How much you drive your car
  • Whether you've chosen optional inclusions or extras
  • If you have made any  modifications on your car

Your responsibilities

locking car for safety

Even though you pay for insurance, you'll still need to take responsibility for 

  • Take all reasonable precautions to prevent damage or theft
  • Keep your car well maintained and in a good and roadworthy condition
  • Service your car as required by the manufacturer and keep records just in case you need to make a claim in the future
  • Follow all the terms and conditions set out in your policy
  • Provide honest and complete information for any claim, statement or document

In summary

Insurance policies vary widely from company to company. You'll want to make sure you're analysing a potential policy based on their inclusions, premiums and excesses. Always remember: never judge a policy based on the quoted price alone. And watch out for hidden costs. 

If you need urgent smash repairs, contact Sheen Panel Service. Simply upload your smash request online, and we'll get back to you within an hour. We also offer 24/7 emergency tow services and accident replacement vehicles.