Six questions to ask before buying car insurance

Buying car insurance can be fairly straightforward if you know what you're looking for. However, if you're a new driver, or getting car insurance for the first time, it can be confusing to understand the various levels of cover available. Knowing the right questions to ask can save you money, time and frustration.

Here are six important questions that we recommend you ask when buying car insurance:

Have you got the right level of coverage?

A common mistake car insurance buyers make is not understanding the coverage they need. Before doing anything else, put together a list of the things you'd like to be covered for. It might be worth paying more for comprehensive insurance rather than basic third party insurance to take care of your family in case of a serious accident.

You could also get blindsided by costs you didn't expect after an accident, so make sure you consider any optional extras your insurer offers. For example, while your car is being repaired, you might need a car to get to and from work. Australia Post offers car hire as an optional extra when you take out their Gold Comprehensive Car Insurance cover.

Have you enquired about discounts?

Most car insurance providers offer discounts and savings as long as you meet eligibility criteria and requirements. There are usually discounts for claim-free drivers, loyal customers, online purchases, higher excesses, and full and upfront payments. There are many ways you can save on your policy - all you have to do is ask!

Have you examined the policy before signing?

One of the most important things to remember is to thoroughly read your policy before you accept the terms and conditions. Understand the terms and definitions used (see our car insurance glossary), make sure you have met all policy conditions and ensure you have checked what's excluded from your cover.

What's the difference between 'Market value' and 'Agreed value'?

The market value is what your car is currently worth on the market. It's an arbitrary number that the market creates based upon the year and make/model of the car. The agreed value is the amount that you and the insurance provider determine to be fair and agree upon. Be careful because some insurers increase the cost of your premium if your agreed value is higher than the market value.

Are you happy with the level of customer service?

When you're shopping around for the best car insurance quote and rates, it's important to make sure you're happy with the level of customer service offered. Getting into an accident is stressful enough without having to deal with poor customer service. Ensure that your insurer provides you with adequate support and will make claims as easy as possible.

Have you told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Make sure you provide your insurance company with accurate information. Lying about who drives the car, what the car is used for and where it's parked at night can jeapordise your policy. Insurers have the right to refuse to pay a claim and/or cancel the policy if you are proven to be fraudulent.

* This online discount offer only applies to the premium paid for a new Gold Comprehensive car insurance policy initiated on or after 26 March 2015, and purchased online. The discount is taken from the premium that you would pay for a Gold Comprehensive motor vehicle insurance policy when a quote is obtained over the phone. Base rate premiums are subject to change. It does not apply to any renewal offer of insurance or fees (as outlined in the Financial Services Guide (FSG) (316kb)). You will be responsible for all applicable GST and other statutory charges. We reserve the right to shorten or extend the period the discount is offered and vary the amount of the discount.

Australian Postal Corporation ABN 28 864 970 579 (AR No. 338646) "APC" is the distributor of Australia Post Comprehensive Car Insurance and acts as an Authorised Representative of Australia Post Services Pty Ltd ABN 67 002 599 340 (AFSL No. 457551) "APS". Because APC or APS don't know your financial needs, we can't advise if this insurance will suit you. You should consider your needs and read the FSG and Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision to buy this insurance. Auto and General Services ABN 61 003 617 909 (AFSL 241411) "AGS" arranges the insurance on behalf of Auto & General Insurance Company Ltd ABN 42 111 5 86 353 (AFSL No. 285 571) "AGIC", the issuer of the policy. AGS pays APC a commission which is a percentage of your premium. Neither APC nor APS accept liability or guarantee payment of any claim or benefit in respect of the AGIC's products.

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