7 Easter road trip car insurance questions to ask

People in a car facing towards the road ahead, on an Easter road trip.

If you’re hitting the open road this Easter, make sure you pack the right kind of car insurance alongside your bags of chocolate and autumnal attire. 

Whether it’s an overnighter or an interstate adventure, there are a few car insurance questions you’ll want answered before you set out. 

Here are seven queries to check off your list:

1. What kind of car insurance do I have?

You’ll want to know exactly what your car insurance covers before heading out on a road trip, especially if something goes wrong and you have to make a claim while juggling holiday plans. Aussie drivers are legally required to take out compulsory third party (CTP) insurance, which covers costs around road injuries and deaths. Any additional cover is up to you.

Third party property insurance will kick in to cover repair costs for damage you might cause to other people’s cars and property (usually to a set dollar limit). For a step up in price, comprehensive car insurance will cover the costs to your own vehicle as well. Comprehensive policies often come with other road trip-friendly features like emergency towing or accommodation cover if your car breaks down.

If you trawl through your car insurance product disclosure statement (PDS) and aren’t satisfied with your cover, it might be time to compare car insurance quotes.

2. Are all holiday drivers listed on my policy?

While you might be comfortable with anyone driving your wheels, your car insurance company may see it as a risky move. Most car insurance policies come with an additional excess for young, inexperienced or unlisted drivers which you’ll need to pay on top of the basic excess if you make a claim and someone in this group was behind the wheel at the time of the accident.

This extra fee can be substantial. For a ballpark figure, Budget Direct charges $600 for all unlisted drivers, while the NRMA asks for an additional $1,600 excess for unlisted drivers under 25.

If you do want to share the driving, it could be worth listing any additional drivers to protect your wallet in the worst case scenario. Just keep in mind this may increase your premium. 

3. Is roadside assistance included in my insurance?

Some comprehensive car insurance policies include this as standard, but usually roadside assistance is an optional extra or something you’ll need to take out independently. Of the 57 comprehensive car insurance providers in Mozo’s database, only one offers roadside as a standard inclusion, so be sure to consider the additional cost of taking this out if it’s something you’re keen on.

If you want this added security, make sure towing distances are appropriate for where you’ll be travelling. For example, if you’re driving regionally on longer stretches it may be worth paying more to cover towing from off the beaten track.

4. Is my car insurance valid around Australia?

While you must register your vehicle in the state or territory you live in, car insurance policies usually cover you when driving across the country. However, if you’re leaving your home state for an extended holiday, it could be a good idea to check in with your provider in case there are limits around longer timeframes.

There are some insurance companies which only serve residents of certain states and territories to provide more tailored coverage and community benefits. If you’d like to learn more about these options, head to the relevant state or territory page for car insurance comparison where you live:

5. Do I have windscreen cover?

This is an important question to ask if you’re planning on heading off-road or along unsealed paths where sticks and stones present more of a threat. It’s often the case that repairing windscreen or glass will cost less than the excess on your car insurance, so some policies offer cover for excess-free repairs (generally once a year). 

In Mozo’s database, 11 policies include excess-free windscreen repairs (10 offer total replacements), and a majority of the remaining policies will let you include this feature or an excess-reduced version optionally for a premium bump.

6. Is my caravan or trailer insured?

Thinking of taking your new camper or trailer out for a spin? Then you’ll want to make sure your mobile accommodation or extra packing space is covered by insurance while you’re towing it as well. 

Trailers or caravans are covered by all but one of the policies in Mozo’s database. It’s important to remember most of these options won’t cover the items you’re hauling inside the caravan or trailer, so it’s best to keep valuables close at hand or potentially look into portable contents insurance.

7. Will I blow out my pay-as-you-drive kilometre limit?

This is relevant for anyone with pay-as-you-drive car insurance. This type of policy is generally offered at a discounted rate for people who drive less, and are thus less at risk of claiming on their insurance. Generally, there’ll be an agreed annual or monthly kilometre range you’ll need to stay under to receive the rate.

If your road trip route is going to push you over the limit, some insurance providers will let you increase your kilometres (which usually also means an increase in price). But it’ll be worth it, as claims can be denied or excesses increased if you make a claim while driving over the set km range.

Before you start packing, read Mozo’s 2020 car insurance report to investigate the costs of car insurance and where your current policy sits.

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