Car Insurance: Market value vs. Agreed value

Purchasing a new car involves a string of difficult decisions. This includes stuff like which car insurance company to go with or whether to take out third party or comprehensive car insurance.

Now, if you’re looking to insure your sweet new ride comprehensively, you’re going to have to make another important decision. Do you insure your vehicle at market value or for an agreed value? Like all of your previous car-related decisions, this is pretty important and will seriously affect how you’re compensated should your car be deemed a “write off” or if it is stolen and unrecovered.

So we’re here to give you the lowdown on agreed versus market value, so you know exactly which method of valuation is right for you and your favourite new toy.

Market value

What is it?

Market value is the value your vehicle would fetch on the open market. It is important to realise that this is the amount your insurer values your car for and might not necessarily be exactly what you paid for it or what a particular buyer would pay for it. When determining the market value of your car, insurance providers are taking into account the vehicle’s make, model and age. 

Pros

Market value, generally speaking, has the advantage of offering lower premiums for policy holders. This is because the market value of your vehicle is likely to be less than any valuation of your car that you would agree with your insurer.

Cons

While lower premiums may be one of the positives of choosing this type of valuation, with a market value policy, there is a degree of uncertainty over your payout if your car is totalled or stolen. As part of your comprehensive car insurance policy you will definitely receive a substantial payout but this may end up being less than what you paid for the vehicle or less than you expected because the insurer is valuing your car based on what similarly-aged cars of the same make and model are selling for on the open market at the time of the accident.

Who’s market value insurance good for?

If you’ve got a car that isn’t brand new, market value might be best option for you. Depreciation would have slowed after a few years and your payout should still be able large enough for you to cover the costs of replacing your car if it gets stolen or was damaged beyond repair.

Agreed value

What is it?

On the other hand, agreed value is insuring your car for the value you want to be paid in the case it is written off or stolen and unrecovered. This is a reasonable, fixed sum that you have agreed with your insurance provider at the time of your policy renewal.

Pros

Agreed value gives you the greater control over your potential payout if the worst was to eventuate. By agreeing a value with your insurer you can have the peace of mind of knowing you would be covered for an exact, predetermined amount.

Cons

When valuing your car at an agreed value with your insurer there are a couple of cons to be aware of. First of all, premiums tend to be more expensive because, in the event your car is totalled, you’ll probably be paid out a greater amount than if you had chosen market value policies.

BUYER BEWARE: If you opt for agreed value car, when it comes to renewal time check your policy carefully as some insurers will automatically revert your policy to market value but this is easily amended by contacting your insurance provider and communicating your desire to have your car insured at an agreed value.

Who’s agreed value insurance good for?

Agreed value is usually opted for by policy holders who have recently bought a newer car, have a special attachment or special values associated with their vehicle or have extra features that make the car more valuable than when it’s stock model. Newer cars depreciate more rapidly, so if you wanted to be able to replace your car with another new car it is a good idea to agree a sum that would allow you to do so. If you have finance owing on your car or had to take out a car loan, it is probably a good idea to go with an agreed value. The last thing you want is to have your car written off or stolen and have to pay both the outstanding loan repayments and the gap between your market value payout and the cost to get in some replacement wheels.