Put yourself in the driving seat when looking for the best car insurance

If cost is your first consideration when it comes to car insurance, no one could blame you. Life is expensive and Canstar definitely encourages shopping around to get a good deal on your financial products. When you’re choosing between car insurance providers and products, however, it’s really important to remember that there are many things that can impact whether or not you can secure a value-for-money policy. 

If you don’t do your homework, you run the risk of getting cheap car insurance that’s barely worth the paper it’s written on. Different vehicles also come with different insurance requirements, so there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all policy. Check out Canstar’s list of what to consider when you compare New Zealand car insurance.

Eight points to consider when comparing car insurance online

1.   What sort of car do you own? 

If you own a family car, or a common make and model, you’ll find you have a better chance of getting a competitive premium. However, if you own a prestige, performance, or even an electric vehicle, insurers may not be as inclined to offer a competitive price. By the way, if you’re in the market for a new car, Canstar Blue can help you out in the decision-making process! Check out customer reviews of car brands, below.

Compare car brands with Canstar

2.       What colour is your car?

It might seem trivial, but the fancier the artwork on your vehicle, the more pricey it could be to repair. (See point number three for more on this.) And insurers don’t just care about whether your car has cool paintwork, either, colour is important, too. According to research, white cars are the safest on the road. So, just having a black car (as opposed to white) could cost more to insure. From an insurer’s perspective, cars with non-metallic and plain paint jobs are easier and cheaper to repair.

3.  Do you really want to pimp your ride?

Thoughts of rapper Xzibit’s old MTV showPimp My Ride, might have you dreaming of a lowered cruising machine. But be careful. Modifying your vehicle to improve performance, increase power, or change its handling can also increase your insurance premiums. So, think twice before you decide to pimp your ride. Modifications also make your car more of a target for thieves.

Want to know how to make car insurers look more favourably at your vehicle? Check out this guide on car insurance tips

4.  Who’s in the driver’s seat?

The age of the car’s main driver greatly affects the premium. Now may well be the time to let your 20-year-old offspring start creating their own car insurance track record, instead of piggy-backing on yours.

5. Where do you park the car?

Is it left on the street outside your house, or tucked away safely in a garage? Cars left on the street are at a higher risk of damage from passing vehicles, vandals or thieves. Parking your car on the street will likely bump up the cost of your car insurance premium.

6. What suburb do you live in? 

Where you live will dictate the premiums you pay. This is a little trickier to work out before getting quotes, because each insurer has its own set of risk suburbs, where it considers car owners are more likely to have their vehicles stolen or damaged. It’s not uncommon to find one insurer differs wildly from another in the way it evaluates your postcode.

7. Think outside the box to reduce your premium 

Car insurers may give you a discount for applying online. Monthly payments can also be considerably higher than if you pay in one lump sum. You can sometimes bump up any discounts offered by using the same insurer for other policies – such as home and contents, boat, or caravan. You don’t lose anything by enquiring, but you could lose out on savings if you don’t ask.

8. Should you increase your excess? 

One option to reduce the cost of your car insurance is to increase the excess, to lower your premium. Be mindful of Murphy’s Law, though. It’s a dreaded certainty that, the one time when you haven’t got that excess money up your sleeve, you’ll have an accident. Only you can decide whether it’s a risk worth taking.

If you’re in the market for a car insurer – or are considering switching – make sure you check out the market first. Use Canstar’s customer satisfaction rating, below, to help you choose a car insurance provider that suits your needs.

Compare car insurance providers with Canstar

A last piece of advice: once you’ve made your shortlist of car insurance providers, read their product disclosure statements (PDS) to make sure their policies include the level of cover that you expect (and need).

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