When you’re researching or buying car insurance, understanding exactly what each level of coverage includes can be helpful in leading you to a more suitable fit. But confusing jargon and inclusions that differ between insurers can make the task more difficult than it sounds.
From mandatory CTP insurance through to comprehensive car insurance, the types of car insurance available can all provide different levels of coverage. So how do you know which one is right for you?
In this article, we’ll look at comprehensive car insurance in depth, including what it can generally cover, the meaning of some common insurance terms, optional extras that might be available to you, and where this level of coverage fits in among other types of car insurance.
What is comprehensive car insurance and what does it cover?
Comprehensive car insurance is exactly that – comprehensive.
“Comprehensive cover is generally the highest level of cover,” explains Marni Jackson, Youi Head of Product – Vehicle. “It helps cover the damage your vehicle causes to third party property, plus it helps cover your vehicle in the event of an accident, storm, fire or theft.”
Compared to other types of car insurance, comprehensive car insurance cover can generally offer you more protection. It should usually provide all the same cover that third party fire and theft does, for example, in addition to cover for accidental damage to your own car.
The federal government’s Moneysmart website provides a good summary, noting that comprehensive car insurance “covers repairs to your car and repairs to other cars, even if the accident is your fault. It also covers your car if it’s stolen or damaged by fire, flood or vandalism.”1
However, before purchasing any insurance, it’s important to read the product disclosure statement to confirm exactly what the insurer’s policy covers.
How much is comprehensive car insurance?
While you may be keen to find cheap comprehensive car insurance, it’s worth noting that, as a comprehensive type of car insurance, this level of cover is typically going to cost you more than others, such as third party property only and third party fire and theft.
The cost of car insurance is referred to as your premium – in other words, the amount you pay to an insurer to keep your insurance policy active.
According to Canstar, the average cost of comprehensive car insurance in Australia ranges from about $800 to more than $3,000, depending on how old you are, which state or territory you live in, and a variety of other factors.2
Should I choose Agreed Value or Market Value?
Some comprehensive car insurance policies allow you to choose whether your car will be insured for Market Value or Agreed Value. This value refers to the amount you’ll get if your car is stolen or considered a total loss.
“Agreed Value is an amount that’s agreed upon at the time you take out the policy, and is a set amount for that policy term, which is generally a 12-month period,” explains Jackson. “Market Value is not a set amount [that’s known in advance]; it’s assessed at the time of the loss.”
Moneysmart advises that if you opt for Market Value, you won’t know how much you’ll get if you claim, and you can’t change the amount. However, if you opt to use an Agreed Value, it’s possible you may pay a higher premium.1
What’s the difference between standard inclusions and options with comprehensive car insurance?
Different insurers may offer different inclusions and options so it’s worth making sure you’re aware of exactly what the standard inclusions are for your policy, and what’s considered an ‘optional cover’.
At Youi, our Comprehensive car insurance policies provide, as standard, cover for when your car is:
- Damaged in an accident, even if you’re at fault4
- Damaged from storms, hail or floods5
- Damaged from a fire6
- Damaged by an earthquake4
We also cover a hire car for up to 14 days when you’re not at fault or if your car is stolen;4 towing your vehicle to the nearest suitable place for safekeeping after an insured event;7 emergency repairs, transport and accommodation;8 contents inside your car;7 and intentional damage by an unlisted driver.4
Optional covers that you can choose to add to our Comprehensive car insurance policies at an additional cost include your choice of repairer, coverage for campervan or motorhome contents,9 coverage for lost or damaged business items,10 and reduced excess for windscreen repairs.11
Adding these optional covers to your policy will generally mean your car insurance premium will rise.
Is roadside assistance included in comprehensive car insurance?
Roadside assistance isn’t included as standard with every insurer’s comprehensive car insurance policies, so this is something worth checking before you purchase.12
At Youi, we include roadside assistance with all of our Comprehensive car insurance policies.13 This means we can be there to help if you get a flat tyre, run out of fuel, lock your keys in the car, or if your battery gives up while you’re out on the road.
Is there anything that comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover?
It’s worth remembering that, although comprehensive car insurance offers the highest level of coverage available, there might be things your policy doesn’t cover.
For example, at Youi, our Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t generally cover:
- Incidents outside your coverage period
- Damage due to poor materials or workmanship
- Coverage for improper drivers (for example, a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a driver with a suspended licence)
- Effects of the weather or climate, such as mould, rot or damp (unless this is a direct result of an incident for which we’ve accepted a claim)
It’s also important to remember to include the names of all nominated drivers on your policy as some insurers might not cover damage caused by someone else driving your car, unless they’re authorised to do so on your policy.
Is comprehensive car insurance compulsory?
In Australia, the only type of insurance that’s mandatory is Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance – also known in New South Wales as Green Slip insurance.14 This type of insurance is required when you register your car and helps cover the costs of compensation claims if you injure or kill someone in a car accident. Youi offers CTP insurance in South Australia and NSW.
Depending on your circumstances, it could be worth considering taking out additional car insurance such as comprehensive car insurance to protect yourself, your vehicle and your back pocket in the event of a car accident. For more helpful info, we’ve put together a guide to the different types of car insurance here.
1 Source: Moneysmart – Choosing car insurance
2 Source: Canstar – How much does car insurance cost?
3 Available with Comprehensive and Third Party Fire & Theft policies. For more details, see the PDS
4 Available with Comprehensive policies only. For more details, see the PDS
5 Loss or damage caused by storm, hail or flood within the first 72 hours of your policy commencing is only covered in limited circumstances. Available with Comprehensive policies only. For more details, see the PDS
6 Loss or damage caused by a bushfire within the first 72 hours of your policy commencing is only covered in limited circumstances. Available with Comprehensive and Third Party Fire & Theft policies. For more details, see the PDS
7 Available with Comprehensive and Third Party Fire & Theft policies. Limits apply. For more details, see the PDS
8 If your car’s unsafe to drive after an insured event and you’re more than 100km from home, we’ll reimburse you up to $1,000 for combined emergency transport, accommodation and/or repairs. Available with Comprehensive and Third Party Fire & Theft policies. For more details, see the PDS
9 An additional cost applies and is available with Comprehensive and Third Party Fire & Theft policies. Up to $1,000 per item, the most we will pay for each claim will be noted on your policy schedule after excess. For more details, see the PDS
10 An additional cost applies and is available with Comprehensive and Third Party Fire & Theft policies. Where the item is stored in the car or unbraked trailer and where there is also damage to the car or unbraked trailer as a result of an insured event, up to $400 per item and up to $2,000 per claim. For more details, see the PDS
11 An additional cost applies and is available with Comprehensive and Third Party Fire & Theft policies. Limits apply. For more details, see the PDS
12 Source: Canstar – Car insurance with roadside assistance
13 Youi Roadside Assist included with Comprehensive cover only. Exclusions, limits and additional fees may apply. Cover not available within first 24 hours of taking out, or upgrading to, Comprehensive cover. See the T&Cs and PDS for full details
14 Source: NSW Government – What is a Green Slip?