2016 Car Insurance star ratings
Posted by Canstar Blue February 8th 2017
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Your car is probably your second largest financial asset – after your home (if you own one). We rely on our vehicles in our day-to-day lives – whether it’s for work or leisure – so it’s important to be insured in the event of any mishaps. Even if you consider yourself a safe driver, accidents can and will happen, and you’ll want an insurer that makes the claims process as stress free as possible when the inevitable happens.
That’s why Canstar Blue is determined to find out which car insurers are getting their claims processes right. To find out, we’ve surveyed hundreds of car insurance claimants across New Zealand to see how they rate their insurer based on their experiences within the last three years. In 2016, we’re able to report that for the fifth consecutive year, AA Insurance has rated the highest out of the compared insurers, receiving five stars in all criteria, including overall customer satisfaction.
Types of car insurance
With so many car insurance policies on the market, it’s understandable if you’re confused about what they offer. Although you will often find different car insurers offer different perks, car insurance can be boiled down to three levels of cover.
- Third party insurance: The most basic type of insurance, it covers all or part of your legal liability if you harm another person or damage their property. You will not be covered for damage to your own vehicle.
- Third party, fire & theft cover: This is the same kind of insurance as standard third party, with additional cover for fire damage or theft. Some insurance companies will have policies that also cover damage caused by natural disasters.
- Comprehensive insurance: Comprehensive insurance is the highest tier of insurance, covering you for almost anything. If you damage yours or another person’s property, you won’t be required to pay the full amount for repairs – only the excess.
You might be paying too much
Saving money is all about vigilance, and if you take your eye off the market for too long, you might soon find you’re paying more than you have to. Canstar Blue research found that 68% of New Zealanders hold multiple products with the same insurer – most likely to take advantage of multi-policy discounts. While previous years of research has revealed a growing trend in switching providers, we’ve found only 40% of Kiwis have compared insurance policies in the last 12 months. Whether this is because of price, loyalty or convenience, it is important to keep a look out for the best deal, even if it might mean having to switch a number of policies.
“Uninsured drivers have no place on our roads”
An accident with an uninsured driver is every motorist’s worst nightmare, leaving you out of pocket or chasing legal action for months. Even if you are insured and innocent, an accident with an uninsured vehicle may leave you with a huge excess and an increased premium – not really fair. Nearly a quarter (24%) of Kiwis have been in an accident with an uninsured driver, our survey found, so it’s not surprising that 82% of respondents believe uninsured drivers have no place on our roads. More than 90% of motorists aged over 60 agreed with this sentiment, while only 70% of those aged under 30 felt the same way.
The car insurers we rated
AA Insurance has won the Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers Award for five years in a row, making it a clear favourite for many Kiwis. AA Insurance policies provide a myriad of benefits for eligible customers, including multi-policy discounts, young driver flexibility and a lifetime guarantee on repairs.
AMI insurance offers its eligible customers multi-policy discounts, free breakdown servicing and a 50% no-claim bonus at the beginning of a car insurance policy for drivers under 25. Like most insurers, the price of these policies will depend on your vehicle and accident record, amongst other things.
State car insurance policies offer a number of benefits including no claim and multi-policy discounts for eligible customers, as well as a flat-rate discount of $10-$75 on first year premiums when customers purchase their policy online.
Vero MotoPlan insurance policies offer a number of familiar services as well as access to its unique RepairNet system, with hundreds of repairers ready to get you back on the road.
Tower car insurance offers standard and tailored policies for any budget. Among many of the benefits Tower Insurance offers, customers may elect to add roadside assist to even the most basic policies.
Frequently Asked Questions
Canstar Blue commissions Colmar Brunton using the SSI panel to regularly survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who currently have a car insurance policy (which they pay for) and have made a claim within the last three years – in this case, 662 New Zealand drivers.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey.