4WD Off Road Vehicle

Four-wheel drive and off-road car insurance

Find the right cover for your modified, accessorised 4WD vehicle to keep secure on and off the tarmac

While standard car insurance providers may agree to cover vehicles designed for off-roading on a case by case basis, you may find that your modified or accessorised vehicle needs specialised cover. It really comes down to the work you have done to your vehicle and if fits within the cover of a standard policy.

This guide runs through what to look for in policies, how to secure cheaper cover and some of the special features you might find with off-roading car insurance.

What is covered by specialised off-road 4WD car insurance?

Specialised off-road car insurance policies are often largely equivalent to comprehensive car insurance with a few additional features.

  • Full cover anywhere in Australia
  • Comprehensive over of accessories and modifications
  • Extended personal effects cover, to include items even while they are not necessarily inside the vehicle
  • Cover while your vehicle is in transit, including being loaded or unloaded from boats or trains
  • Includes cover of off-road recovery costs, for recovering an undriveable vehicle
  • Trailer cover, often included automatically and sometimes as an extra

Before you can get a quote, you’ll generally need to discuss it with an insurer and do a more in-depth application.

This is not only because of modifications, but also because you generally need to explicitly mention to insurers that you’ll be taking it off road, what kind of driving you do and how frequently you generally do it.

What additional options are there?

The additional options you’ll find with off-road car insurance depends largely on the policy. Some insurers might include some options automatically, while others won’t have them available at all.

  • Additional hire vehicle cover: Lets you get a replacement vehicle if you are unable to drive your vehicle due to damage from an insured event.
  • Excess free windscreen or window glass cover: Replacement of windscreen or window glass with no excess, following an insured event.
  • Additional off-road recovery costs: Lets you choose an additional cover amount for off-road recovery, where your policy includes this kind of cover.
  • Optional roadside assistance: This won’t help off road, but can still be a useful optional extra to consider.
  • Emergency accommodation and repair: If you get stuck a long way from home, this policy feature can help cover emergency repairs to get your vehicle operational again, and accommodation costs resulting from needing make unplanned stops.
  • No fault excess: No excess payable for claims where you are not at fault. Note that with all policies this generally means you will need to be able to prove that someone else was at fault.

Other options can include some savings as well as extra costs. For example, if you only go off-roading occasionally and don’t use the 4WD as your daily driver then you might want to look for a limited-use policy option or one that lets you specify a lay-up period.

4WD Vehicle Driving Off Road

What won't I be covered for?

The main exclusions to consider when you take out an off-roading policy are naturally whether or not a policy will cover you to take the vehicle on sand dunes, on a bush track or while you make your own track.

Other key exclusions you’ll generally find with almost all policies, no matter whether it’s standard car insurance or specialised 4WD, are:

  • No cover while driving under the influence of anything not prescribed by a doctor.
  • No cover outside of Australia.
  • No cover while your vehicle was being used for business or hire. If you take passengers offroad for pay, you’ll generally want to look at insuring a vehicle for business use.
  • No cover for rust, deterioration, rust, corrosion, electrical failure or breakdown following a failure to maintain your vehicle.
  • No cover while using your vehicle in a way that’s inconsistent with manufacturer specifications, even if you might have the modifications to do it.

However, just because a policy includes cover while off road, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will actually be covered.

There are some other key exclusions which might make or break a policy if you’re looking a more standard car insurance policy.

Read the guide to modified car insurance

What impacts the costs?

Think about both the quoted premiums and the excesses when comparing costs. If a policy’s premiums seem suspiciously affordable, you might want to pay special attention to the excesses.

More than one excess can apply to a claim:

  • Basic excess: The standard excess that applies to most claims.
  • Age or inexperience excess: A driver under 25, or an inexperienced driver will often have an additional excess.
  • Special excess: A more individual excess applied based on factors such as driving history, type of driving you do, whether you drive in particularly high-risk areas and similar. Sometimes particular claims might incur an additional excess which needs to be paid on top of the others, such as with off-road recovery costs if a policy includes it.

The excess can have a significant impact on your premiums. A higher excess naturally lowers your premiums, and vice versa.

Factors that affect premiums

Premiums are generally based on how likely you are to make a claim.

  • Age: Under 25s can expect a higher excess.
  • Location: Where you live affects premiums, as well as whether you park the car in a garage or on the street.
  • Driving history: Previous claims and driving history affect your premiums.
  • Vehicle type: The more expensive the car, the higher the premiums. This includes the value of modifications and accessories.
  • What you use the car for: Insurers will often set premiums according to your driving habits and plans. If you’re planning on doing something different it may be a good idea to let the insurer know ahead of time to make sure you’ll be covered.

Compare comprehensive policies from Australian brands

Details Features
Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Low-cost, straightforward car insurance aimed at safe drivers
  • Costs of towing and storage
  • Lifetime guarantee on all repairs
  • Emergency repairs, travel and accommodation
  • Optional zero-excess cover for windscreen and window glass
Get Quote More info
Comprehensive
Comprehensive
15% discount for comprehensive policies purchased online
  • New-for-old replacement
  • Trailer damage up to $1,000
  • Up to $500 for personal effects damaged in collision
  • Discounts for restricting policy to drivers of a certain age and over
Get Quote More info
Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Buy online and save up to 10%. Price-beat guarantee for drivers aged over 25
  • Essential repairs and towing costs up to $500
  • Loss or damage while your car is in transit
  • Cover can be increased or reduced at any time if your circumstances change
  • Optional extras: roadside assistance, excess-free windscreen cover and hire car
Get Quote More info
Comprehensive
Comprehensive
24/7 roadside assistance included in your comprehensive policy
  • Emergency fuel, replacement of flat tyre and battery service
  • Modifications like personalised plates, towbar and tinting covered
  • $1,500 to cover the cost of counselling sessions after a claim
  • Cover for work equipment carried inside vehicle and contents of caravan
Get Quote More info
Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Save up to 10% when you buy online (T&Cs apply). Pay by the month at no extra cost.
  • Cover for accidents, fire, storms, theft, and damage to car
  • New car replacement in first 24 months
  • Guarantee on repairs for approved repairers
  • Up to $1000 lock and key replacement cover
Get Quote More info
Price Saver (Comprehensive)
Price Saver (Comprehensive)
Save 15% when purchasing online. Eligible customers can receive 5,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer points before 31 December 2017
  • New-for-old replacement
  • Receive an alert by SMS if hail is predicted
  • Personal effects up to $500 after collision and theft
  • Optional 24/7 roadside assistance
Get Quote More info
Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Premium product, without the premium price
  • Up to $20m in legal liability cover, plus protection for your car
  • Discount options for low km’s driven
  • New for old car replacement
  • No fees for monthly payments of policy cancellations
Get Quote More info
Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Buy online and save up to 10% on your policy
  • $25,000 cover for accidental death
  • $500 cover for emergency repairs
  • Cover for legal costs
  • Temporary cover on replacement vehicle - 14 days
Get Quote More info
Comprehensive - Elegant Cover
Comprehensive - Elegant Cover
Save up to 20% when you buy online
  • Up to $500 for personal effects damaged in a collision
  • Cover for modifications and accessories
  • Loss or damage while your car is in transit
  • Option of full reimbursement for replacing windscreen and window glass
Get Quote More info
Picture: Shutterstock


Get the latest car insurance news

Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com.au, comparing products, writing guides, sniffing out deals and looking for new ways to help people get the most out of their money.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Ask a question