car insurance guide

If you run a car you have to insure it - that's the law. The type of insurance you get varies according to the extent of protection it provides and how much it costs you.

The options

Fully Comprehensive is the most expensive and covers everything - damage to your car, personal injury costs and any third party's vehicle and property.

On very old, cheap cars, annual comprehensive premiums can cost more than the car is worth. But it's a must if you are buying a car using a credit agreement or a loan because if the car is a write-off or stolen you still have to continue paying the finance.

Third Party insurance is the minimum legal cover allowed and is comparatively cheap. It covers damage to the other person's car or compensation but if your own car is stolen, burnt out or damaged it is not covered. Third Party can be beefed up using add-on insurance such as Fire and Theft.

The costs

The price of insurance can add a lot to the cost of motoring so it's worth knowing the factors that affect the premium you are quoted. Shop around and compare quotes from different insurers. They base their premiums on their claims experiences, which naturally differs.

One company may see your area as higher risk than others. One may charge more because of your occupation. Shopping around on the internet makes it even easier because you can quickly see the effect of, for example, accepting a larger excess.

The starting point is the type of car you want to insure. There are many different insurance categories, with price, performance, and the cost of replacement parts the main factors that dictate the one your car falls into. Driving a smaller car is the best way to cut the cost of insurance.

Your age, sex and address all affect the price you are quoted. Young male drivers generally are charged the most, while women in their 50s pay the least. And you will usually pay more if you live in a city rather than in a rural area. Parking your car on the street overnight, rather than in a garage, will also mean higher premiums.

High risk categories

Your age, sex and address all affect the price you are quoted. Young male drivers generally are charged the most, while women in their 50s pay the least. And you will usually pay more if you live in a city rather than in a rural area. Parking your car on the street overnight, rather than in a garage, will also mean higher premiums.

Some insurers might class you as higher risk if you are a sports professional, entertainer, barman, chef or builder, among other occupations. But you may be able to avoid having your premium loaded by shopping around. Some insurers specialise in covering people traditionally regarded as higher risk, or non-standard. Even if you can't avoid having your premium loaded, the extra you are charged is now typically in the region of 10%-15%, down from 30% or 40%.

If you suffer from a health condition that could affect your ability to drive, including epilepsy, vision impairment, certain heart conditions or sleeping disorders, or if you are taking any medication that could do the same, you must inform the DVLA. If you don't, you could be charged with a criminal offence.

How the no claims discount works

You typically get a 30% discount after one year of claim-free driving, rising to 65% after four or five years. But companies vary. Some go up to a 70% maximum while others specialising in younger drivers will give higher discounts at an earlier stage.

Many insurers now offer the opportunity to pay a bit more to protect your no claims bonus. The rules vary but you may be able to make two claims in three years, for example, before your bonus is affected. Protecting your bonus will not stop your insurer from hiking up the premium at renewal following a claim. But at least you won't lose your no claims bonus on top.

Making a claim does not automatically mean you lose your discount. It depends whether the claim is a 'fault' or 'not fault' claim.

This is not just a question of whether or not you were to blame for the accident, but depends on whether your insurer can recover all its costs from someone else.

For example, if you skid on black ice and hit a wall, your claim would be classed as 'Fault', even though you were not to blame, simply because your insurer can't recoup the cost of fixing your car from anyone else.

Where another driver is involved, unless it can be proved beyond doubt that the other driver was to blame, the two insurers will often settle a claim on a 50:50 or 80:20 basis. This means both drivers will lose some of their no claims bonus. With most insurance companies, you will lose two years of no claims bonus if you have a fault claim.

Making a claim

If your car is stolen, report it to the police first and then your insurer. You will have to wait a while because many cars are stolen by joyriders and later recovered.

If it is never found or is a write-off, then you may face another problem. Your car may have been in good condition with a low mileage, and the amount the insurer gives you may not allow you to replace it with an equivalent machine.

In that situation, get hold of a car buyer's guide - Glass's Guide is the most frequently used. If its tables support the insurance company, you'll find it hard to get a better offer, even if the car was in good condition.

If you have been in an accident and the other driver was uninsured, personal injury claims and some damage claims will be met by the Motor Insurers' Bureau - (01908) 240 000).

This is financed by a levy on all insurance companies and was set up to compensate victims who would otherwise lose out through no fault of their own.

It will also pay out if you are hit by a driver who has bought insurance from one of the fly-by-night unauthorised companies that offer cheap insurance. If you find yourself in this position, tell the police.

Drivers caught out by insurance sneak fees

Motor insurers are following the example of mortgage lenders by charging high fees for relatively small administrative tasks.

Many insurers impose 'admin' charges of up to £25 for basic paperwork, such as changing a customer's address during the term of an insurance policy.

Where the changes affect the risk - when drivers move from a safer to more dangerous area, for example - it is understandable that premiums will increase, but customers are objecting to charges levied supposedly to cover only the administration.

Research from the price comparison website uSwitch.com claims that 14 million motorists a year are hit by steep fees for altering their car insurance policies mid-term, earning insurers more than £330m.

The worst offenders include Budget Insurance - which charges a flat fee of £25 for mid-term changes made to a policy - and More Than, which imposes a fee of between £15 and £25. Churchill levies an extra £21 and esure and Sheilas' Wheels charge £17.50. Tesco charges £15.75.

Ian Crowder of the AA says his organisation does not charge for a change of address made mid-term, but will levy a fee of £25 for 'major changes' such as adding a permanent additional driver to the policy.

A spokeswoman for Budget Insurance says its customers are made aware of the charges for mid-term changes both in phone calls and in the policy documents. 'This fee is in line with many of our competitors, she says.' Those that will make changes free of charge include swiftcover.com, RAC Direct and Zurich.

Debra Williams, managing director of price comparison website confused.com, warns drivers to bear in mind administrative fees when choosing an insurer.

'We recommend that everyone checks the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that they are aware of the costs of making any amendments,' she says.

Williams says high administration fees could discourage policyholders from being open and honest with their insurers, leading to problems when claims are made.

James Gray, 24, who works in business development for an events company, has moved house three times in the past two years and now lives in Thatcham, Berkshire, where he plans on staying.

He had to pay elephant.co.uk, his former insurer, three administration fees of £14 for changing his address details - even though he was not paying more for the actual cover.

'Given that most changes can be done at the push of a button, it seems unfair that the fee is so high,' he says.

When his annual policy ended, James turned to price comparison websites, including confused.com, to find a better deal. He eventually decided on Admiral - which does not charge a fee for mid-term changes.

James says: 'I have no plans to move again, but at least I know that if I need to make any changes, I won't face a hefty administration charge.' To add to the financial pain felt by drivers who make changes mid-term, possible large premium increases can be imposed when policies come up for renewal.

Premiums are based partly on the area in which people live, so moving to a different area could mean a rise in the cost of cover.

Switching car will also affect premiums, while people who commit a driving offence or have an accident - even if they were not at fault - could also see costs go up.

James fell foul of this. In November, he had three penalty points added to his licence for using his mobile phone while driving.

Though Admiral made no change to his policy or premium at the time, when it came up for renewal, the cost rose by more than £300 to £1,500 to cover both his cars - a Vauxhall Corsa and the sporty VX220.

Latest Car Insurance Headlines

Man Charged With Selling License Plates to Illegal Immigrants
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
A Guatemalan national made it easy for illegal immigrants on the Eastern Shore to drive, according to the FBI. The FBI arrested Felipe Jesus Mazariegos-Perez at his home Tuesday on federal charges of buying hundreds of Tennessee and Mississippi license plates and car titles and selling them to immigrants who cannot prove their residency, as Virginia requires.The FBI raided Mazariegos-Perez's home in Nelsonia, Accomack County, on Tuesday morning, looking for the out-of-state plates and titles....

/C O R R E C T I O N -- CNinsure Inc./
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
In the press release entitled, CNinsure Establishing Joint Venture with Car Dealer to Further Penetrate Auto Insurance Distribution Channel, issued earlier today by CNinsure Inc. through Xinhua PR Newswire, we are advised by the company that the second paragraph, first sentence should read "second quarter" and not "first quarter" as originally issued inadvertently. The full sentence should read, "The transactions are expected to close in the second quarter of 2008 subject to certain consents, authorizations and other customary closing conditions." CNinsure Inc...

Business in Brief
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Man charged with car insurance fraudBOSTON - Former Boston resident Tu Quy Mai was charged in federal court on Wednesday with 54 counts of mail fraud in connection with an alleged scam to defraud auto insurance companies out of an unknown amount of money between 2000 and 2006. Boston Stock CEO Curran to advise Cramer company...

Insure.Com, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2008 Financial Results
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Insure.com reported revenues of $4.0 million for the first quarter of 2008, a decrease of 5.6 percent from revenues of $4.2 million for the same quarter of 2007. Net loss for the quarter was $512,000, or $0.07 per share, compared to a loss of $882,000, or $0.12 per share, for the first quarter of 2007.These agencies will receive leads from us and provide local life insurance brokerage services to those Insure.com shoppers who may wish to buy insurance locally....

Admiral Signals It is on Track to Hit City Targets
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
CAR insurer Admiral has reassured investors it is on track to at least meet market estimates for 2008, though it saw little movement in UK insurance rates in the first quarter of the year. According to analysts, the group is expected to post a 6.5 per cent increase in 2008 pre-tax profit, coming in just shy of GBP 194 million. The insurer, which warned of continued tough conditions in the UK motor market last month, said first-quarter turnover increased 14 per cent year-on-year to GBP 232m, while turnover at its price comparison site Confused.com rose 15 per cent, in line with analyst expectations....

Drivers Could Save If Insurance Limits Lowered: Bill Would Change Mich. No-Fault Law
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Apr. 29--LANSING -- A new, bipartisan -- and in several ways unlikely -- coalition wants to change Michigan's no-fault insurance law to allow drivers to buy less medical coverage and save lots of money. Lawmakers from Macomb County and Detroit, who are often at odds, and organizations as diverse as the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Detroit Urban League have joined to lead the coalition. Their push is certain to rekindle debate over how to reduce auto insurance rates, especially in Detroit, where estimates suggest half of motorists drive illegally without insurance because of its high cost....

Doer Government Grilled on Crown Donations to Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
WINNIPEG - Manitoba's official Opposition says the government was "sneaky and underhanded" when it suggested to its Crown corporations that they should donate to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.Manitoba Public Insurance, the province's monopoly auto insurer, and the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, have both donated $1 million for the construction of the museum, which is to be Canada's first national museum outside Ottawa.Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen says the New Democrats basically directed the Crown agencies to put money into the project....

Infinity Celebrates Cinco De Mayo in a BIG Way
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
LOS ANGELES, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Infinity Plus (http://www.infinityplus.com/) announces the Grand Opening of its latest store located in Santa Ana at 316 E. 4th St. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday, May 3rd. The event will be attended by local dignitaries and is open to the public. Cozmo from the L.A. Galaxy and Snoopy from MetLife will be on hand courtesy of Infinity Insurance (http://www.infinityauto.com/)....

The Bacs System is Out in Front After 40 Years
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The UK's automated payments system Bacs has handled more than 68 billion transactions since it was first launched 40 years ago.More than 5.5 billion payments were made through the Bacs system during the past year - an average of 90 for every person in the UK, the group said.Three-quarters of adults now have at least one direct debit set up on their account, while 90 per cent of workers are paid through the Bacs direct credit system....

$62 Billion Savings on Auto Insurance in California Since Voters Approved Insurance Reform Proposition 103 Twenty Years Ago, According to National Study
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California has the best automobile insurance regulation in the nation, with the slowest-growing premiums and one of the most competitive markets in the country, according to a state-by-state study the Consumer Federation of America released in Washington, DC today. In 1988, California voters approved Proposition 103, which enacted the nations toughest insurance reform.Ironically, Allstate is in a San Francisco Superior Court today asking a judge to block a 15.9% rate cut for its auto insurance customers that was ordered by Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner last month....

Driver Banned
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
A MAN failed in his bid to persuade magistrates to let him keep his driving licence. Wayne Thompson, of Easington Avenue, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to driving his girlfriend's car without insurance cover in February. The 20-year-old already has six penalty points on his licence for driving without insurance in November 2006 and was due to be banned....

Bipartisan Plan to Save Drivers Money on Auto Insurance Unveiled
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
DETROIT, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from the federal, state and local levels joined community, business and law enforcement leaders at the Detroit Urban League this morning in announcing a statewide legislative and grassroots effort to reduce the mandated cost of auto insurance in Michigan."The State of Michigan requires drivers to purchase expensive and rarely used insurance coverage that puts the cost of auto policies out of reach for many drivers struggling in Michigan's economy," State Senator Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond, sponsor of the legislation, said. Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, Rep. Virgil Smith, D-Detroit, added: "For too long, many drivers, especially in urban areas, have had to choose between buying insurance and going without in order to afford other things they need for their families....

Progressive Recommends Rejection of Below-Market ``Mini-Tender Offer''
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The Progressive Corporation (NYSE: PGR) today said it has become aware of a "mini-tender offer" by TRC Capital Corporation (TRC) to purchase up to 5 million shares of Progressive's common stock at a price of $16.60 per share. Progressive cautions its stockholders that TRC's unsolicited offering price of $16.60 per share was more than 4 percent below the $17.37 per share closing price of Progressive's stock on April 15, 2008, the day before the mini-tender offer was commenced, and approximately 11 percent below the $18.64 per share closing price of Progressive's stock on April 25, 2008.Progressive urges investors to obtain current market quotations for their Progressive shares, consult with their broker or financial advisor and exercise caution with respect to this offer....

AssuranceAmerica Corporation Announces First Policy in Indiana
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
ASSURANCEAMERICA CORPORATION (OTCBB: ASAM - News), an Atlanta based insurance holding company with operations primarily in the Southeastern United States, and expanding into select Southwestern and Midwestern states, announced today that AssuranceAmerica Insurance Company wrote its first auto insurance policy in the state of Indiana. While its insurance company or managing general agency (MGA) is licensed to conduct insurance business in fourteen states, Indiana becomes the ninth state in which AssuranceAmerica actively conducts business.In announcing its newly initiated sales effort in Indiana, Lawrence (Bud) Stumbaugh, President and CEO, said "Indiana is attractive because it is a top 20 auto insurance market and its demographics favor non standard auto insurance....

Defensive Driving Class Offered
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
A defensive driving class sponsored by AAA North Dakota is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Best Western Doublewood Inn, 1400 E. Interchange Ave., Bismarck.The National Traffic Safety Institute class covers concepts necessary to stay safe and free from injury. Those attending the class, which is open to everyone, may be eligible for auto insurance discounts and reduced points on their driving record....

Interest in Royal's Insurance Arm Sale
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
PRIVATE equity bidders were yesterday lining up to compete with trade buyers to secure a slice of Royal Bank of Scotland's insurance arm as Aviva became the first insurer to rule out a bid.Royal Bank shares bounced some way back from a torrid week yesterday gaining 8.25p to close up 2.42per cent at 349p.Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Apax Partners are thought to be putting together a consortium....

Car Insurance Quote Facts News

Deciding for auto or car insurance is not an easy task in the United States. Not only understanding a few factors can change the money you spend in buying car insurance but also helps to get the best quotes and value for your money. Understanding the car insurance can be sometimes very tricky and absolutely confusing and that sometimes lets you take decisions where you end up spending more money and usually the insurance you buy actually doesn’t suit your needs. That is why here we have tried to simplify the general insurance facts for you so that you can develop a good understanding of this dreaded but compulsive subject i.e. Car Insurance. Here are some very important facts which you should always consider before buying car insurance. Appropriate Insurance Coverage is important Generally the half of insurance covers the liability factor that depends on how you are going to use the vehicle. The amount you pay decreases in case for ex. If you are commuting for home to office and vice versa for work and also if your driving record is clean without a speeding ticket. If your driving record is not clean you end up paying more money as insurance premium. The second half of insurance premium covers damage or loss to your vehicle along with comprehensive and collision coverage. Shopping around pays Shop for insurance ad always get more than none quote. There are in fact hundred of companies competing for insurance business from you and in many cases you can save hundred of dollars because of multiple quotes. So, shop around for quotes. Find out insurance discounts Many companies in general offer discounts to the customers. You can avail the discount if you are buying more than one insurance policy viz. auto and home insurance. You can also get discounts on factors like air bags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and anti-theft devices. Consider higher deductibles You could lower your insurance bill by increasing your deductible but before that just make sure you can pay the higher deductible if you file a claim. Stacking coverage’s while you file Insurance claim Stacking uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage’s means you can collect from more than one of your auto insurance policies. Most states prohibit this practice, but there are about 19 states that either allow stacking or don't address the issue either through legislation or litigation. Be sure to check your auto insurance contract to see if it's allowed. Probably you are likely pay a higher insurance premium if you have stacked coverage. Car gives you benefits Insurers depend on the model of car you buy, its sticker price, features which may reduce maintenance or accidents or theft. So consult your insurer while you finalize which car to buy. Notify Insurer of Change If you wish to terminate the insurance coverage notify the insurer of the same. In many states you get penalty for the number of days you go uninsured so notify your company the change in writing or through phone, terminate the insurance and change the company after that. Go with your budget It is always recommended that you strictly follow your budget and choose the payment which fits into your budget. You can get monthly, quarterly, half yearly or yearly mode of payments and choose which suits your pocket.

Compare Cheap Car Insurance

Car Insurance News 4th March 2008
Hello everyone, today you'll find a summary of the Chrysler 300c which is growing in popularity in Australia. Some sad news today for our website, we're not #1 on google for the word "car insurance" anymore. We're very sad about that.

14th February 2008
At last, we'll be experimenting today with our new car insurance comparison service. For a couple of hours on the 14th of February, we'll be taking phone calls at a new office and will actually be comparing auto insurance prices from different companies.

Car Insurance News December 2007
Captain Compare would like to wish you and you family a very merry Christmas and a happy + safe new year on the roads.

Don't become a death statistic by driving your car dangerously. Please also be sure to have your car insurance in place before driving.

November 2007
There's some fantastic end of year sales coming up soon so if you're in the market for a new car, so some people often sign up for insurance BEFORE they drive their new car home. Some insurance companies have a instant "over the phone" product that you can purchase so that insurance will save you on your way home. You'll need to check with the car insurance company for details.

6th September 2007
It's TRUE!! Telstra are involved in helping to build the future of online car insurance comparison. The technology will also compare property insurance and Captain Compare will try to be one of the first to make it available to the public.

3rd September 2007
Allianz are finally making their presence known to the public eye with some heavy advertising campaigns that I think are quite effective. They are even featuring a discount if you sign up for car insurance on their website

The cameras have been rolling. This is a funny yet eye opening clip from youtube about driving a car or bike in India and it shows why we have traffic lights in Australia and they probably don't even have comprehensive car insurance.

5th March 2006
If you feel you're a better, safer driver than the regular Joe, give us a call and it's most likely that your car insurance costs will be cheaper. If you're a safe driver, you should be rewarded so!

If artificial intelligent technologies shown in this video are anything to go by, we may not even need auto insurance one day.

5th February 2006
The January customer survey results are in! 5% of our customers in Australia have performed or attempted to do a burn out in their lifetime. We find that hard to believe and were expecting it to be much higher. Perhaps it is because they know if you're doing a burnout out at the time of an accident, your car isn't insured and you'll have to pay for any damage yourself. It would be interesting to see the results if the test was done on a non insurance website.

1st February 2006
2007 is well and truely on the way. Staff at captain compare have started to give up their new years resolutions already. ouch! But we haven't given up on finding car insurance deals just yet. Allianz is still rated as Australia's best general insurers and recently won an award for their products. (not just for auto insurance) They offering welcoming prices, especially when you have a good driving history.

4th December 2006
Captain Compare.com doesn't have a phone number just yet so if you have any trouble getting your car insurance quote online, feel free to use the contact information on this site for an instant quote over the phone.

Insurance Broker Wanted!
Are you or do you know anyone who is an insurance broker? If so, Captain Compare would like to hear from you regarding a business proposition. If not, and you are simply looking for low cost car insurance, browse the companies on our menu to help find the cheapest.

1st November 2006
People often get confused with purchasing insurance in their state. It doesn't matter if you're from Sydney, Cairns, Brisbane, Melbourne or even smack bang in the middle of Ayres Rock. Australia is lucky enough to be able to get good quality car insurance from companies such as RACQ, RACV, NRMA, Suncorp and QBE.

21 October 2006
If you've recently purchased a vehicle, the Captain strongly recommends you speak to an insurance professional first and be sure to closely read the product disclosure statement before making a final decision. You can learn general information about car insurance products on this website still.

27 August 2006 Australian Hail Alert
As the weather heats up again, we're due to see some nasty hail storms which can devastate suburbs of cars and autos. If you're car is worth under $3000, a hail storm can write off your car so be sure to keep it under cover, especially if you don't have comprehensive auto insurance. For people who's car / auto is worth over $3000, be sure to get your comprehensive insurance signed up ASAP to avoid any potential hail costs this year. Need an auto insurance quote? Ask Captain Compare!

These 2 new smart cars collide head on. (They weren't insured because it's only a safety test of course, but you can see the cabins are both still in tact.)

1st August 2006
Live in Brisbane? The Royal Exhibition will be starting soon so be sure to check it out for some new car specials. Unfortunately, the captain won't be able to make it this year, but if you do end up buying a car, check back here for motor insurance information.

Captain Compare has been watching the new car deals at the moment and shiver me timbers, he likes what he sees. There's some fantastic deals from Ford, Holden and Mazda. It's another round of FORD Vs HOLDEN, fighting it out for the best deal. Holden are offering for $32,990 a special edition Commodore SVZ which comes with $6000 of extras. Ford has a similar deal for a similar price with $7000 worth of extras. Ford vs Holden thing has been a long long battle, but they're both pretty damn good cars so simply choose one which feels the best when you take them for a test drive. Oh, and remember to get a cheap auto insurance quote from CaptainCompare after you purchase your car.

Welcome to Captain Compare cheap car insurance. Feel free to browse around to learn more about auto insurance or get an instant online quote with one of the well known companies on our website.

Is it worth making a $500 insurance claim if the excess is $400? Let us know what you think here. Email richard (at) captaincompare.com

Captains Log. 25 April 2006
It's so close we can taste it: a tool to search car insurance costs for Australia's top insurance companies such as NRMA, RACQ, Allianz, RACV and Suncorp. Until then, get an instant quote below for a no-nonsense quote. Good luck, drive safe and Happy Anzac day. Update - October 2006, we're still in negotiation with other car insurance companies. It's as if no one wants some good solid business!

18 April 2006 - We hope everyone had a happy easter with no insurance claims required. Please continue to drive your car safely during the year. To all new car owners, we hope you found a great buy and be sure to get a quote from Captain Compare for your insurance.

So what is captain compare all about? It's cheap car insurance! It's not Quantum Physics. It's not Civil Engineering. It's not Rocket Science. We compare the best car insurance companies in Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Canberra and all other cities in Australia. Use our site to compare various insurance companies such as AAMI, NRMA, RACV, RACQ and Allianz.

Insurance Photo, Picture, Capture, jpg bmp

See and watch the draw.