Weirdest things your car insurance will and won't cover

Pink car teetering on rocks.

A lot can happen when you’re on the road, so car insurance providers must cover all their bases when writing the product disclosure statement (PDS). Fortunately for us, this means PDS is also littered with delightfully strange easter eggs. 

So let’s dive into the weirdest terms and conditions in your car insurance policy**. 

**Every policy is different, so your car insurance terms may vary. Always read the PDS.

Covered: Emergency transport back to…where you normally park at night?

Collage of car at day and night against a map.

Emergency transport is a common inclusion on most comprehensive car insurance policies, especially if you write off your vehicle. However, the fine print may contain astonishingly specific limits. One PDS we found will only reimburse a ride back to wherever you usually park at night. So good luck if you park in the next suburb!

While this condition might seem mind-boggling, it actually honours the basic function of insurance: a reset button. Claim payouts don’t pay for upgrades. They return you to the status quo.

So have fun walking home after the wreck! Tonight’s just like any other night – to your provider.

Not covered: Threat of communicable diseases

Collage of two people sick with coronavirus while someone cleans their car in the background.

Scratching your head? Hopefully it’s not lice, because if you contract something (or give something to someone) while in your car, your insurance company won’t cover the, um…personal damages. 

Do with that what you will.

Covered: Your sweet-as personalised number plate

Number plate with MOZO AU on it.

Yep! Comprehensive car insurance usually covers custom rego plates – even ones that say JOYRIDR, SICK1, and ACHOO. Your policy may also cover baby seats, tow bars, and custom window tinting.

However, all other modifications or enhancements (like those sick flame decals) are not automatically covered, unless you get written permission from your insurance provider. 

BRB, gonna go polish our custom MOZO number plate.

Not covered: Cyber attacks!

Collage of a hacker hacking while a car drives.

“I’m in, now drive,” says the hacker as they take control of your car. While modern dashboards contain some pretty amazing smart features, like satellite GPS, AI driving assist, and social apps, if a cyber-criminal breaches any of them, the fallout likely isn’t covered by even the most comprehensive car insurance.

Fortunately, cyber safety for your car is much the same as cyber safety for everything else. Add multi-factor authentication, back up your data, and if all else fails, perform a factory reset to clear out the bugs.

Not covered: Putting the wrong fuel in

Fuel gage and a can of petrol collage.

Wait, was this diesel, or unleaded? Better safe than sorry, because if you accidentally refuel with the wrong type of petrol, it’ll absolutely wreck your engine – and your insurance won’t pay out.

Negligence is a no-go for insurance in general, and using the right fuel is a big part of looking after your car. Careless mistakes on your part are just too risky for car insurance providers to cover – so they don’t. 

Better triple-check, yeah?

Not covered: Off-road bush bashing and hooning

Collage of people hooning in their SUV.

Taking your four-wheeler for sick burnouts, hooning, and bush-bashing might be a hoot, but it’s highly dangerous for your vehicle – hence, car insurance won’t cover it.

Again, it’s about managing risk. If you’re wilfully driving like a hoon, you’re more likely to get into an accident and make an expensive claim.

Not covered: A snake in your boot

A cat sneaks into a car.

That’s right – any critter, vermin, or beastie that decides to make your car its mobile home isn’t covered under your policy. Therefore any damage they cause is yours to cop alone.

This issue can be particularly bad if you park your car in wooded areas for long periods of time, since possums, cats, and reptiles may find the wonderful engine, wheels, or hood warm places to cosy up for the night. (Fun fact, it’s illegal to move an Australian brushtail possum more than 100 metres from its den, so if you find one moved into your car, good luck!)

To prevent this from happening, keep your car in a protected area at night, like a lock-up garage.

Not covered: Damage caused by vacuuming

Collage of a man giving a thumbs up by his freshly vacuumed car.

If you go really hard-core with your vacuuming, wiping, and buffing, be warned: if you damage your car during the cleaning process, car insurance won’t cover it. This exclusion again falls into the negligence category: providers expect you to look after your car, just not too hard. 

So go easy on the wax, karate kid.

Not covered: Unexplained damage or breakdowns, AKA car gremlins

Person holds up a magnifying glass of confusion next to a sparkling green car.

Look, cars are a mystery. Sometimes wheels get stuck, engines overheat, and tyres make weird noises. The British Royal Air Force used to blame random malfunctions like this on gremlins. Unfortunately, “gremlins broke it” won’t fly with your car insurance provider. 

Whenever you file a car insurance claim, you’ll need to provide a certificate of damage or some kind of assessment from a mechanic. But if even the mechanic doesn’t know the cause of the damage, fault, or glitch, it raises eyebrows from your provider.

While insurance fraud is rare, it does happen, and providers are hyper-attuned to anything that smells off. But by writing “???” under the cause of damage, you look like you’re trying to hide something.

Luckily, genuinely mysterious damage or breakdowns are pretty rare. A good mechanic should be able to sort out the root cause of the issue – and if they can’t, get a second opinion!

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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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