Finding your perfect car insurance policy in South Australia
No matter how much of a safe driver you consider yourself to be, life can be unpredictable. If you somehow find yourself in a sticky situation along the Lincoln Highway you’ll want to make sure you have adequate car insurance cover so you're not out of pocket when the repair bill comes in.
At Mozo, we make it easy to compare some of the top comprehensive car insurance policies in South Australia and their features with our car insurance comparison tool. But before you take on the first policy you see, here are a few of the need-to-knows before signing the dotted line.
What kind of insurance do you need to legally drive in South Australia?
In all states including SA, you'll need Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance to legally drive on the roads. It's often known as a 'greenslip' and comes in slightly different formats depending on which state or territory you register your car in.
Across Australia, the role of CTP is to cover the costs of injuries you might cause others or yourself while driving. In South Australia this is the case, however you will only be eligible for compensation if you were not at fault or not entirely at fault. If your actions were responsible for the incident, you'll only be able to make a CTP claim if you sustain lifelong injuries.
CTP is offered by multiple SA insurers, and you'll pay for it when you register your vehicle. Remember: CTP doesn't cover any damages to your car or others.
What are the other levels of cover available in SA?
Once you start shopping around on your insurance, you’ll find that there are different types of policies and levels of cover available:
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive car insurance provides the highest level of cover, with policies including many different circumstances and benefits. Once you pay the excess on an insurable claim, your insurer will cover the cost of replacing or repairing your car as well as any damage you’ve caused to another person’s car or property.
- Third party insurance: This is a basic cover option which only covers the other person’s car and/or property when you cause an accident. A third party policy won’t cover repair to your own car – this is one of the biggest differences between comprehensive and third party insurance.
- Third party fire and theft: This provides additional coverage on top of your standard third party car insurance policy. As the name suggests, it covers repairs or losses in case your car is damaged by fire or stolen. Car owners who park in the street overnight or live in areas with higher crime rates might consider this.
How to make a claim
So, you've been involved in an accident and need to make a claim on your insurance. It's a good idea to have the following details jotted down:
- The date, time and location of the incident
- The other driver’s details (including phone and licence number)
- Contacts or statements from any witnesses or other road-users involved
- Any photo evidence
- A police report (if applicable)
When it comes to starting the claims process, the easiest option is to lodge and keep track of your claim online. If you prefer a guiding human presence, you also have the option of picking up the phone and contacting your provider. Some providers even have a 24/7 claims service.
Remember: you’ll have to pay an excess to get the wheels rolling on your claim. Also, by making a car insurance claim, your future premiums could rise,and your hard-earned no claims bonus will probably take a hit.
Other car insurance FAQs
What is covered by a South Australian car insurance policy?
Each car insurance policy you come across may have a slightly different range of benefits it covers, but under a comprehensive car insurance policy, you’ll usually be covered for:
- Damage to another driver’s car when you are at fault in an accident
- Damage to your car in an accident
- Accidental damage
- Fire damage
- Theft and attempted theft of your car
- Vandalism and malicious damage to your car
- Emergency repairs
- Towing costs in an emergency
- Damage to your personal property in your car
Are there any extras I can get cover for?
A policy can’t cover everything, and you do have the option of adding on additional features to your policy. Some of them include:
- Excess-free windscreen cover (great if you live in rural SA and might need semi-regular windscreen repairs from driving on unsealed roads)
- Rental car after accident
- 24-hour roadside assist
- No claims bonus protection (this is a veil of protection added onto your clean driving record, keeping it intact if you ever make a claim)
What isn’t covered?
Regardless of the policy you choose, there are a few things you can expect to be excluded from your car insurance cover. These are general exclusions that apply to most policies, and include:
- Depreciation of your car's value: The more you drive your car, the more it depreciates in value. As this is a normal and expected part of driving, it isn’t covered under your policy.
- Mechanical or structural faults: This applies if damage is caused without an accident – for example if your window gets stuck – and usually won’t be covered.
- Wear and tear: You will need to check this with your insurer as each provider has a different definition, but general wear and tear on a vehicle isn’t covered, as it’s simply part of owning a car.
What’s the difference between ‘market value’ and ‘agreed value’?
Once you start your car insurance hunt, you’ll soon find two of the more common terms you’ll come across are ‘market value’ and ‘agreed value’.
In short, market value is what the value of your car would be if it were on open market, while agreed value is the predetermined amount you agree to insure your car for.
The type you choose will depend on the quality of your car. For instance, if you’ve just bought a new car, you may opt for agreed value as your car will start to depreciate in value as soon as you start driving it, and if you were to have an accident, you’d probably want your insurance to cover the cost of replacing it with another brand new car. On the other hand, market value is often cheaper and is a likely choice for a driver with an older car.
How is the price of my car insurance policy determined?
Car insurance policies are priced based on the ‘risks’ of insuring you and drivers in your demographic. Some of the factors that help insurers determine how much your premium will cost include:
- Sex: Our research shows that men typically pay higher premiums than women.
- Age: In your twenties and got that youthful glow? Insurers hate that, as data shows those over the age of 25 generally pay higher premiums. Young drivers may also get stung with extra excesses when making a claim.
- Driving record: Your record is impacted by the number of years you’ve been driving, the number of accidents you’ve been in, speeding tickets and other driving offences. The better the record, the lower the premium.
- Driving habits: This involves when you drive. Driving during peak hours might result in more accidents than a weekend joyride and might bump up your premium. Using your vehicle for business is also a red flag for insurers.
- Parking habits: Where you live in South Australia and where you choose to park your car also makes a difference to the price of your policy. Parking your car on the street is a lot riskier than leaving it under lock and key in the garage.
- Type of car: While it’s standard to pay a pricier policy for an expensive car, you might be surprised to know this also includes: the size/weight of your car, how old your car is, the cost of repairs and replacement parts, and the likelihood of it being stolen.
There’s got to be a few discounts, right?
Of course! But you’re going to have to do some searching. We’ve rounded up some of the typical ways to snag a discount on your car insurance policy in South Australia:
- Online applications: Have a laptop handy? Sweet, you could score up to a 20% discount on your first year's premium just for applying online.
- Staying loyal: Loyalty goes a long way with insurers and if you’ve worked hard at your relationship, you could be rewarded with a discount.
- No claim bonus: This is a discount that nearly every insurer offers to customers. If you’ve maintained a spotless record in terms of your driving history, your provider may give you a discount on your premium.
What do I do if my car is deemed a ‘write-off’?
If you are involved in an accident and you car is deemed a write-off, comprehensive car insurance comes handy. When you make a claim, your provider will either pay you the agreed value amount or pay for the purchase of a new car at market value, minus the excess.
Got any tips to cut the cost of my insurance?
You don’t have to pay through the nose for quality cover. Here are a few ways to bring down the cost of your comprehensive car insurance policy:
- Own an old car: While we’d all love to be cruising down the highway with a flashy set of wheels, insurance quotes are generally lower on second-hand cars.
- Go online: Depending on your provider, you could save up to 20% on your policy just for applying online.
- Bundle it up: You could shave off more premium dollars by bundling your car insurance with your home and contents insurance.
- Be safe: Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for good behaviour? Depending on the insurer, you could receive a discount of up to 70% on your South Australian car insurance policy.
- Beef up security: Adding an alarm to your car can also bring down the price of your policy, as it reduces the risk of vandalism and theft.
- Control your excess: Giving yourself the option to choose your excess can help reduce the amount you’ll fork out in an emergency. If you choose a higher excess, your premium will drop. However, if you ever do make a claim, you’ll be expected to cover more of the costs before the insurance kicks in.