Car insurance checklist for your Australia Day road trip

From outback adventures to beach-hopping holidays, a road trip is a great way to see some parts of Australia that you might otherwise miss. And what better time to explore the great downunder than the Australia Day long weekend?

There are heaps of great Australian road trips you can take, no matter where you are around the country, whether you want to meander down the east coast dropping into every small seaside town or hit the capital cities without wasting time in between. But one thing every driver needs to remember is to check that their car insurance is up-to-date before heading off.

It’s a good idea to review your car insurance policy to make sure that you have the cover you need, and that there aren’t any exclusions or fine print to keep an eye on during your trip. Here are a few things to think about before hitting the road.

Is your insurance comprehensive?
If your current car insurance policy is third party, you’re covered for damage you cause to other people’s car and property. Comprehensive, on the other hand, covers damage to others people’s cars, along with damage to your own through an accident or vandalism. It often comes with cover for your windscreen, personal property and the costs of towing or accommodation in emergencies. So when you’re heading off on a longer drive than usual, it might be worth upgrading to comprehensive before you leave, to be on the safe side.

Does your insurance include roadside assistance?
If you’re heading out onto the back roads or travelling long distances between towns and cities, it may be worth adding roadside assistance and cover for emergency towing to your policy if you don’t already have it, so you don’t wind up paying for a tow truck in an emergency.

Do you understand the fine print of your policy?
Anyone who's taken a look at a car insurance PDS knows there’s a tonne of fine print to sift through. While it might seem unimportant to really get into the details of your policy, knowing the general exclusions, limits and fine print means you’re one step closer to being successful if you ever do have to make a claim.

Are there restrictions on your cover?
Some car insurance policies offer a discount on your premium when you restrict either the number of kilometres you drive per year, or the drivers who are covered. If you’ve taken up this offer, make sure your road trip plans don’t deviate from the specifications you’ve laid out, or if they do, that you call your insurer and re-negotiate your cover.

Are you up-to-date on payments?
Many comprehensive car insurance policies give you the opportunity to choose between paying your premium in one lump annual sum, or in monthly installments. If you’ve chosen to pay monthly, make sure you’re staying on top of payments, because if you have an unpaid premium, your policy may be cancelled, and you won’t be able to make a claim. Keep in mind that if you’ve set up direct debit payments, it’s your responsibility to make sure there are funds in your account at the right time - if there aren’t your bill can be considered unpaid.

So if you’re planning to hit the bitumen this Australia Day weekend, make sure you’ve got a comprehensive car insurance policy in your glove box first.