2017 Car Insurance
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What to know about car insurance
For many of us, our car is one of our most valuable assets – both in terms of value and convenience. Often it’s our cars we rely on to get us to work, the kids to school, or transport us to that long weekend at the beach. But what if it goes wrong? You’re involved in an accident, or worse still, you’re the victim of car theft? Having insurance cover can ensure you recover a lot of the costs of getting you back on the road, or if you have third party, it will cover the costs of any damage you have done to someone else’s vehicle. Without insurance, you will have lost everything and could be left with a hefty bill.
So 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 asked 1,680 Kiwis about their experiences and which insurers are getting their claims processes right. In 2017, Vero rated the highest out of the compared insurers, receiving a maximum five stars in value for money, claims lodgement, claims process, claims outcome, quality of service and overall customer satisfaction.
Types of car insurance
With so many car insurance policies on the market, it’s easy to get confused about what they do and don’t offer. Although policies offered by different car insurers will vary, the types of 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 and theft. Some insurance companies will have policies that also cover damage caused by natural disasters.
- Comprehensive insurance: This is the highest level of car insurance, covering you for almost anything that could happen on the road, or by the side of it. If you damage yours or another person’s property, you won’t be required to pay the full amount for repairs – only the pre-agreed excess amount.
“Third party car insurance should be compulsory for all drivers”
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience and even a simple fender bender can end up causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your car. What can make a bad situation worse is if it involves an uninsured driver, as you’ve got no guarantee of ever getting your money back. That’s why three quarters of Kiwis believe that third party car insurance should be compulsory.
Managing the cost of premiums
Although purchasing car insurance buys you peace of mind, you don’t want to be paying too much for it. Canstar Blue research found that customers have a number of ways to manage the costs:
- 28% of people have home and car insurance with the same provider in order to get a discount on their premium
- 23% of people pay their premium in instalments
- 12% of people have reduced their cover/sum insured to reduce premiums.
Interestingly, to manage costs further, 19% of us think that car insurance premiums should be based on usage. Unsurprisingly, this idea was much more popular amongst baby boomers (27%) – that are less likely to need a car for commuting and running a taxi service for the kids – than it was for Gen Y (13%).
The car insurers we rated
Winner of the 2017 Canstar Blue Customer Satisfaction Award. Vero MotorPlan insurance policies offer a number of familiar services as well as access to the Vero RepairNet system. With a network of approved repairers, RepairNet helps customers get their cars back on the road faster.
AA Insurance won the Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers Award for five years from 2011 until 2016. Its 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 eligible customers multi-policy discounts, reduced-cost breakdown servicing and a 50% no-claim bonus at the beginning of a car insurance policy for drivers aged under 25. Like most insurers, the price of these policies will depend on, amongst other things, your vehicle and accident record.
ASB also offers its customers multi-policy discounts. For an additional charge, ASB policy holders can also sign up to ASB Roadside Recue, a 24 hour service that can come to the rescue if you suffer a breakdown, flat tyre, or another minor problem with you vehicle.
Branded as PremierCare Vehicle Insurance, BNZ offer multi policy discounts, the ability for customers to view their policies online, Fly Buys and for an additional cost, roadside assistance.
NZI offers a range of discount options for customers including multi-policy, low emission or low mileage discount. If you use its network of approved repairers, you will also be offered a temporary vehicle to use until all repairs are complete.
State car insurance policies offer a number of benefits including no claim and multi-policy discounts for eligible customers, as well as a discount of up to $75 on first year premiums when customers purchase their policy online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 5,000 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from New Zealand motorists, who currently have a car insurance policy and have made a claim within the last three years – in this case, 1,680 New Zealanders.
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. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.