Car insurance renewal: What are my options? | Finder

Car Insurance Renewal

Make sure you're getting the best price come renewal time.

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If your car insurance is about to lapse, you're probably wondering if you should renew your policy. While this may be the most convenient option, hell you might even have an auto renewal set up, it might not give you the best value for money.

How to renew your car insurance

Before it comes time for you to renew your policy, your insurer will send you out a renewal notice. This normally happens a couple of weeks before you're policy is due to end. On this notice, it'll let you know how much your premium is going to be for the next year.

How you go about renewing your policy will depend on the option you selected when you took out cover.

Renewal options

The steps involved in renewing your car insurance will vary depending on both how you choose to renew your policy and the options available through your insurer. Broadly you may:

  • Auto renew. Many people these days choose to auto renew their policy, which means you're giving your insurer permission to renew your policy following your first insurer period, typically 12 months and continue to direct debit your premiums. If you chose to auto renew, then you don't have to do anything.
  • Online. Most insurers allow you the option of renewing your policy online, be it through a member portal or through an expedited process where, for example, you enter your policy number, post code and banking details.
  • Phone. If you'd prefer to renew your policy while speaking to a person, many insurers have representatives that can help you with the renewal process over the phone.
  • BPAY. Your renewal notice will generally list your insurers iller code and your reference number, should you choose to pay for cover using online banking.
  • In person. If your insurer has branches, you can head into their physical location and renew your policy.

At this time it's important to do two things.

First, you're going to want to have a look at how much your insurance is going up. Unlike with something like health insurance, your car insurer isn't going to send out a notice letting you know how much your premiums are going up.

The Treasury Department is currently looking into whether general insurers should be required to call out the percent premiums are going up on renewal notices but it's not a thing right now. What that means is you're going to have to get out your last bill and work out yourself how much more you'll be paying.

Second, now that you know how much more you're going to be paying, it's time to compare your options...

Is it better to renew your car insurance or find someone new?

Before re-upping with your current insurer or switching, you should consider:

  1. What you're paying for. This may seem obvious but you need to know just what your current policy covers in order to get a proper comparison.
  2. The price. Now that you know what you're covered for and how much you're going to be paying with your current insurer, you'll be able to do an apples to apples comparison at a price level.
  3. No claims bonus. If you've been with the same car insurer for a while, you might be getting a discount on cover if you haven't made a claim. While this discount may be transferable to another vehicle with the same insurer, in most cases it won't follow you if you switch companies.
  4. Other discounts. Some insurers offer discounts if you've bungled your home and auto insurance. If you're not already getting this type of discount, you might want to look at getting your car insurance with the same insurer as your home insurance if they offer a discount.

After working through the four points above you should have a pretty clear idea about whether or not your should stick with your current insurer or move to a new provider.

Before you renew, make sure you compare

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.
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.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths catches our eye due to some unique perks like a price-beat guarantee, where it'll beat any current comparable comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You'll also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.35 per month.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of its price-beat guarantee.
Qantas Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up by 2 May 2021, you can earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
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.
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.
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.
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. Get $50 cash back when you purchase online between 1 April – 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

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
Australia Post Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much should my car insurance go up at renewal time?

Since car insurance is such a personalised product in that it takes into account variables ranging from your age to where you park your car at night, there is no average percent that you should expect your premiums will go up.

As previously mentioned, while there are calls for greater transparency around premium increases it's currently on the consumers (ie you) to check how much more you'll pay.

Should you auto renew your policy?

I'm just going to say it, auto renewal is the devil. That is not to say that your current insurer might not be the best option available to you but that it never hurts to explore your options.

Picture: GettyImages

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