Car insurance cover notes

You may not be able to obtain cover notes in Australia any longer, but there are easy alternatives for short-term car cover.


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Car insurance cover notes were originally provided by insurance companies to temporarily cover drivers who hadn't decided on a policy yet. Essentially, these notes were widely used as a stand-in for insurance for drivers who might have just purchased a new car or were deliberating between different providers.

While cover notes are no longer issued in Australia, the cooling-off period included in most car insurance policies can be used in much the same way, as explained below.

Take advantage of these car insurers cooling off period

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Coles Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Qantas Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to pick and choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like roadside assistance, choice of your own repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up by 28 February 2021, you can earn up to 40,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
ahm Comprehensive
Finder's summary: ahm comprehensive car insurance lets you choose higher excess to reduce your premiums plus you can get up to 15% off when you purchase a new car insurance policy. T&Cs apply. Additionally, their Fixed Kilometre Plan can save you up to 30% compared to their standard comprehensive cover.

Who it might be good for: People who drive less than 15,000 km per year.
QBE Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2020 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Virgin Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
Stella Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. You get a free Bauer magazine subscription when you sign up and a portion of your premiums go to supporting female-led businesses.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
Youi Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service
Poncho Comprehensive
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.

Compare up to 4 providers

What is cover note insurance?

A cover note is a temporary insurance policy for your vehicle. They were designed to provide short-term car insurance cover for a vehicle until a formal policy was issued, say when driving a new vehicle home.

Cover notes are no longer available in Australia, and you won't be able to obtain one. However, a functionally identical alternative exists in the form of an insurance cooling-off period.

Alternatives to car insurance cover notes

When you take out a car insurance policy in Australia, you are given a grace period known as the "cooling-off period" to change your mind. Typically, this lasts between 15 to 30 days, depending on the insurer. If you cancel your policy within this time, you will receive a full refund.

The important point here is that you are still fully insured during this interim period, with all the benefits of the policy you've purchased. Therefore, by taking out a policy and then cancelling it before this period expires, you can receive the same temporary benefits that a cover note would have provided.

Keep in mind that you will only receive a full refund if you haven't made any claims on the policy. You might also lose a bit of money in the transaction due to administration fees during the process.

Things to know about temporary cover

As with any policy, your cover will only be effective from the date of commencement listed on your insurance certificate. If you're interested in getting instant cover, let your insurer know that you'd like it effective immediately. You'll be given a policy number that can be used to make a claim if one arises.

There is no functional difference between this method of obtaining cover and a car insurance cover note. And if you end up being happy with the cover, you can choose to keep the policy for the rest of its term, rather than refunding it.

How else can I secure cheap short-term cover?

If you're looking for temporary cover for a longer period than the cooling-off period can provide, check out our guide to short-term car insurance. This can help you sort through the options for obtaining cover that lasts less than a year, including:

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MatFebruary 14, 2018

    Is my 4wheel drive covered by insurance while I’m off road driving.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 25, 2018Staff

      Hi Mat,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder.

      Generally speaking, your vehicle won’t be covered if you do off-road driving. However, how your vehicle is covered depends on the terms and conditions laid out by your policy. Read the fine print of your insurance. In this case, it is best to get in touch with your insurer and discuss your concern.

      Moreover, you may refer to our list of brands that cover off-road driving if you would like to compare your options. You can press the “Get quote” button of your preferred insurer to request for quotation.

      As stated in our review, insurers will usually cover you as long as your car manufacturer has specified that the car was designed for off-road usage. Before you start adventuring, make sure you get the OK from your insurer.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


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