10 things to check when choosing a car insurance policy

4 min Read Published: 20 Aug 2013
bmw car
The cheapest car insurance is not always the best

When choosing the best car insurance policy you need to look beyond just the premium. Here is a checklist to ensure that you get the best value for money and not just the cheapest car insurance policy:

  1. What is the level of compulsory excess on the policy - This is the amount of money you will have to pay in addition to your voluntary excess in the event of a claim. Make sure you are happy with this amount and when comparing premiums across polices make sure you are comparing like with like (i.e. your total excess). Also watch out for any mention of accidental damage cover.
  2. Windscreen cover (and the excess) - a good car insurance policy will include windscreen cover which will either replace or repair a damaged windscreen. Make sure you check whether sun roofs are included and whether there is a limit on the amount which the insurer will pay out if you don't use their approved repair company. Also check the level of excess you'll have to pay in the event of the claim and how many claims you can make in a year.
  3. Whether no-claims discount can be protected -  and how many claims can be made in a given period before you lose it automatically.
  4. Lost, stolen key cover - a good policy should cover the cost of getting replacements
  5. Choice of repairer - in the event of an accident can you use choose who will repair your car or do you have to use an approved garage? If not, then are the repairs guaranteed for a period of time, typically 12 months?
  6. Courtesy car - is a courtesy car included if you are involved in an accident and your car needs repairing?
  7. Breakdown cover - some insurance policies will include breakdown cover. Check the level of cover (roadside recovery, home start etc), which company provides the support (the AA etc) and whether there is a limit on the number of times you can call the recovery service out during the policy term.
  8. Personal belonging cover - aside from the usual belongings people often store things in their boot overnight (such as pushchairs if they live in a flat). But the amount car insurance policies pay out should these items become lost or damaged is often limited and far below the value of the items in the car. A decent policy will provide a few hundred pounds worth of cover, but probably not cover cash or cards that are stolen. So make sure you are happy with the level of personal belonging cover and if not then ensure your home insurance policy provides sufficient cover for your belongings outside of the home.
  9. Legal expenses – this is the legal help you will get to recover your 'uninsured losses' following an accident that was not your fault e.g. personal injury claims.
  10. Cost to make changes - check how much it costs to make changes during the middle of the policy (such as if you buy a new car) or to cancel the policy altogether.

(image freedigitalphotos.net)