Spring road trips: Car insurance must-knows before you go

Aerial image of a coastal road

The refreshing floral scents and balmy nights of spring are like road trip fuel, especially since international excursions are off the table right now.

Are you planning on filling up the old station wagon and becoming your own tour guide? You’ll want to tick a few boring-but-essential items off your holiday check list first. Making sure you’ve got the right car insurance for your road trip should be a top priority.

Once the itinerary is sorted, check your comprehensive car insurance policy to find answers to these questions which might pop up on a road trip.

Does my car insurance cover additional drivers?

Whether it’s a group hang or a couple’s adventure, sharing the driving on a road trip is usually the more diplomatic and sensible route – stop, revive, survive ain’t no joke. But just in case you find yourself in a mid-holiday pickle, you’ll want to know where you stand when it comes to having additional drivers on your car insurance.

Every insurer will lay out different rules for adding other drivers to a policy, as well as who they’ll cover if an accident occurs while a policy holder isn’t behind the wheel. 

Some providers might cover all drivers whether or not they’re listed. Others may charge a higher excess if an unlisted driver is at-fault in an accident. Some policies may not cover unlisted drivers at all. So, it’s important to read through your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and know what the situation is before giving your mates a go as captain of the car. 

If you’re road tripping with someone who also uses the car regularly, it may pay to get them listed on the policy as a general rule. But remember: your premium could get bumped up when you list extra drivers, so double check what that cost could be.

How might age or diving experience impact my car insurance?

Age and driving experience are two of the big demographic factors that might increase your insurance premium. 

Once again, it changes from policy to policy, but generally there’ll be an extra premium cost or excess for young drivers (those aged under 25) and inexperienced drivers who’ve only been on the road for a few years. The associated premium and excess costs can impact listed and unlisted drivers, so keep it in mind if you’ve got a gaggle of newbies at the gas pedal. 

Also remember gender can make a difference in pricing. Read up on why women get a better deal on car insurance

Does my policy include roadside assistance and towing?

Not every comprehensive car insurance policy will include roadside assistance or towing should your car falter on the holiday road. 

You don’t want to be stuck up a creek without a paddle while trying to make the most of your free time. So, once again, check that PDS to see what cover you do have. 

Also consider where you’ll be driving, as towing costs may have a set dollar or kilometre limit. If you’re motoring along expansive, uninhabited highways, you could have to pay the difference after your insurance claim to get your car to the nearest mechanic.

Is emergency travel, accommodation or a hire car covered?

Once the car is towed to safety, you’ll need to sort yourself out. It’ll be a godsend having an alternative way to get around while you're out of town, and if your policy also covers unexpected accommodation costs, that’ll take the pressure off your holiday budget.

Some comprehensive policies will include a limited amount of cover for these costs after an insurable incident. In others they may come as optional extras, or with conditions. 

For example, you might be covered for 14 days of hire car costs after an accident, but only if you weren’t at-fault. The at-fault version of the cover may be an optional extra which comes at an extra cost in your premium, or it may not be an option at all.

As always, the golden rule is to know before you go.

Before you start scouring your policy for these road trip essentials, make sure you’ve got the right kind of cover for the state or territory where your car is registered. Mozo’s got a handy guide outlining all the car insurance-must haves depending on where you live.

Compare comprehensive car insurance before your trip - rates updated daily

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  • Gold Comprehensive Car Insurance

    Monthly premiums
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    Yes Costs Extra
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    No
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  • Comprehensive Car Insurance

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    No
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    $800 - $2,000
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  • Comprehensive Car Insurance

    Monthly premiums
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    Yes Costs Extra
    Choice of repairer
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    Optional Extra
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    $400 - $2,200
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*Terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits may apply to any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. These terms, conditions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits could affect the level of benefits and cover available under any of the insurance products shown on the Mozo website. Please refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and the Target Market Determination on the provider's website for further information before making any decisions about an insurance product.

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