Your guide to Australian car insurance companies.
Car Insurance Companies in Australia
A car insurance company is the company behind the insurance policy – the one that creates the policies, establishes the fund for paying out claims and takes the risk that it won't have to pay out more in claims than it collects in premiums. An insurance company is sometimes referred to as a policy underwriter or policy issuer.
This is often different from the insurance brand, which is the name and logo slapped onto the policy. If you really want to know the power of your policy, look behind the brand name at the company that issues it.
Top 10 car insurance companies in Australia
Here are the top 10 insurance underwriters offering car insurance in Australia.
Their market share reflects the total value of the premiums that they collected during the timeframe, across all the general insurance products they offer. Since car insurance is a major part of general insurance, this list should give you a basic idea of how popular their car insurance products are.
|Insurer||Market share (quarter ending September 2018)|
Insurance Australia Group
QBE Insurance Australia
Insurance Manufacturers of Australia
The Hollard Insurance Company
Auto & General Insurance Company
Source: Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Quarterly General Insurance Institution-level Statistics, September 2018.
What's the difference between an insurance brand and an insurance company?
A car insurance company (or underwriter) is not the same as a car insurance brand.
An insurance company is a financial institution that creates insurance products, carries all the risk and pays out money when people claim. It's sometimes referred to as the issuer or the underwriter.
An insurance brand refers to how these companies label their insurance products and sell them to you, the end customer. A brand can be managed by the company itself or by a partner company who resells the original company's products under its own brand name.
For example, Hollard is an insurance company that issues car insurance policies under various brand names, including Real Car Insurance, which Hollard manages itself and Woolworths Car Insurance, which is clearly a different company that resells Hollard products.
What are the major brands in Australia and what companies issue their policies?
Here is a large selection of car insurance brands in Australia, categorised by the insurance company that underwrites them. As you can see, there are many brands but only a handful of companies that issue policies.
Insurance Manufacturers of Australia
Progressive Direct Insurance Company
Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Company
How do you decide which car insurance company is the best?
Purchasing a policy from a well-known brand like Budget Direct can give you a lot of confidence. But that's only half the story because it's the company that issues the policy that's ultimately responsible for paying your claims (in this case, Auto & General).
Here's how you can compare the companies behind the policies:
- Check the financial rating. Many third-party rating agencies like Standard & Poor's publish regular reports that grade these insurance companies and other financial institutions on how strong they are financially.
- Read reviews. When researching a company, take a look at the customer reviews for a handful of their brands. Any positive or negative conversation around the claims process, the customer service and approved/denied claims can usually be tied back to the company itself.
- Look at the claims process. The claims process is also usually handled by the company that issues the policies. If you're considering a particular brand, have a look at the policy documents to see how straightforward or convoluted the claims process is. A reputable company will make the process as simple as possible.
Who regulates the car insurance companies Australia?
At an industry-wide level, it's the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) that keeps tabs on car insurance companies and other financial institutions. It's APRA's job to keep these companies honest so that the community will continue to place their trust in the Australian financial sector.
In the case of insurance, APRA does this by enforcing regulations and by protecting the interest of the policyholders. For example, if the insurance company fails, APRA allows policyholders with eligible claims to access their funds up to a limit.
At a more individual level, it's the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) that handles everyday disputes. For example, you'd contact the AFCA if you were unhappy with your car insurance company for taking to long to decide on your claim.
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Note that while we try to keep this list up to date, it may not be a comprehensive listing of all Australian car insurance providers at the time of reading, and that it may become out of date as brands merge, new brands are introduced or other changes take place.