Sometimes it seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing how various insurers can save you money with special offers, or that they have dozens of discounts available. If you’ve just paid full price for your car insurance, it can feel like a slap in the face.
If you want to get car insurance discounts instead of just hearing about them, this guide can show you how.
Car insurance discounts currently available
What kinds of discounts can I get?
To better understand the discounts available, it helps to know some of the conditions which may apply.
- The maximum discount is typically reached after five or six years. The exact discount varies, and not all insurers disclose precisely how it works.
- This discount is typically transferred across when switching car insurance policies, even if you change to a new insurer.
- Some insurers may have options to preserve your no-claims discount for a limited number of claims per year, or in situations such as no-fault claims, or for storm damage.
Online discounts: There are some very substantial discounts for buying policies online.
- These are typically only available with comprehensive car insurance.
- The discounted prices are usually relative to what you would have been quoted over the phone.
- A time limit usually applies, such as only getting the discount for the first 12 months of the policy.
Multi-policy discounts: Many of the more diverse insurers will give existing customers discounts on additional policies.
- This is typically only available with larger insurers that offer a variety of different types of insurance.
- Multi-car discounts let you cost-effectively insure multiple vehicles with the same insurer, and receive a discount for already being a customer.
- You can get lower premiums, but will not be covered or may have to pay an additional excess in the event of a claim, if the car was being driven by an unapproved driver at the time.
- This type of discount is not available with all insurers, or with all policies.
Variable excess: Some, but not all, insurers offer the choice of lowering or raising your excess. This can have a major impact on premiums, but will also affect your costs in the event of a claim.
- A higher excess means lower premiums. A lower excess means higher premiums.
- A flexible excess means you can choose your own amount, to adjust your premiums.
- A variable excess means not only can you choose your own amount, but can also adjust this later to manage your policy costs.
What other discounts should I look for?
The online discount, no claims bonus, and restricted driver or variable excess options are some of the key ways you can save money on car insurance. You can lower costs even further by looking for some other commonly available bonuses and discounts, such as:
- Driver safety courses. Some insurers offer discounts if you undertake a driver safety, or driving skills course. Sometimes this is only for less experienced drivers, while other insurers open it up to everyone.
- Membership or loyalty bonuses. Multi-policy discounts reward you when you sign up, while membership and loyalty bonuses reward you for staying with the company. These can take the form of increasing discounts based on how long you’ve been with the insurer, periodic rewards, or miscellaneous discounts on other items.
- Car security discounts. The likelihood of you needing to make a claim has a significant impact on your car insurance prices. Some insurers will therefore recognise car security systems, such alarms or microdotting, and offer reduced premiums if these are in place.
- Low emissions discounts. Some types of car can earn you significant discounts simply by having reduced emissions. If you’re driving an eco-friendly car, it might be worth taking advantage of these savings.
More ways to save money on car insurance
To save even more on your insurance, bear some of these other options in mind.
- Buy a car that’s cheaper to insure: Cars that are cheaper and easier to repair can cost less to insure. Keep prices down by buying something that’s inexpensive, safe, fuel-efficient and is a common make in Australia.
- Pay premiums annually if possible: Insurers will generally charge more overall if you pay premiums monthly instead of one annual payment.
- Pick a higher excess: The excess makes a substantial difference to your premiums, and it’s often worth adjusting to take advantage of the savings.
- Nominate drivers: Specify exactly who is allowed to drive your car, and prevent anyone else from getting behind the wheel. This can go a long way to keeping premiums down.
- Park safely: Many insurers will offer lower prices for a car that is kept under a carport rather than on the street, and lower prices still when it is kept in a secure, lockable garage.
- Pick extras carefully: Where possible choose a policy that gives you the flexibility to drop features you don’t need, and get the ones that are important to you.
Traps and tricks to watch out for
Discounts can help you save a significant amount of money, but their main purpose is to bring in new customers. With car insurance being such a competitive area, it’s important to watch out for some of the pitfalls and tricks you might encounter while bargain hunting.
Read the terms and conditions: Go through these carefully and pay extra attention to those related to discounts. Be aware of:
- Eligibility. There will typically be some key requirements to fulfil before you can get discounts. In the case of online discounts, for example, a key requirement is naturally that you must sign up online. There might be age requirements, policy requirements or other variations to be aware of.
- Time limits: Some deals may only apply for a limited period of time. There’s a big difference between getting 10% off for one year and getting it for two years.
- Exclusions: As with the policies themselves, exclusions can also apply to discounts. Customers who are already earning certain discounts are often excluded from any more, and other exclusions may also apply.
Other traps to be wary of:
- Rising premiums: Getting 25% off car insurance is nice, but you’re not saving any money if the insurer raises your premiums by 26% as soon as you sign up. For general car insurance, insurers are more or less able to set their prices as desired, and change them without notice. This can be countered by frequently comparing policies, or by contacting your insurers when prices go up to ask why.
- Hidden costs: Free doesn’t always mean it won’t cost anything. The free tablet from Dodo car insurance, for example, requires that you either pick it up in person or pay a $24.90 delivery fee. In this case it’s a fairly reasonable expense, but it may not always be so. Watch out for any costs hidden in the fine print.
- Costs as part of the excess: Sometimes a deal might result in additional excess costs. For example, if you make a claim under the Woolworths Drive Less Pay Less program, but have exceeded your chosen distance for the policy period, then the claim will incur an additional excess. Look at additional excess costs, and ask yourself whether you’re likely to be able to pay them.
Important note: Many of the discounts on this page, such as online signup discounts, are only available with comprehensive car insurance policies.