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Tips for saving on your insurance bills

You can save hundreds of dollars a year, if you just take a little time to look over your insurance bills.

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We get it, insurance is boring. But what if we said you could save hundreds of dollars just by doing a little homework? Well, you can. And we're here to help.

How to save on your health insurance

Health insurance is made up of two separate products: hospital cover (for in-hospital services) and extras cover (for out-of-hospital services, such as dental).

Around 47% of Aussies have hospital cover and nearly 56% have extras cover, making health insurance one of our most regular bills. Despite this, Finder research shows that the average Australian only switches health funds every seven years.

With the average policy costing around $160 per person per month, switching can make a huge difference to your back pocket.

When you are looking for policies, it's also good to check what you're paying for so that you have a clear understanding of what you're covered for. It's important to note here that the level of cover you choose is up to you – but it's best to know all your options so you can get a little more bang for all those bucks you're paying out each month.

Steps you can take:

  • Log in to your online account. Most health funds in Australia now have a pretty good online experience, so this part is easy. If you don't have login details, you might have to look through your old emails and find your policy number to set one up.
  • See what you're signed up for. Get an idea of what you're paying for. Check whether you have hospital cover, extras cover, or both. Also check your current limits and how much you've used on extras, as well as what hospital treatments you're covered for.
  • Look at your hospital and extras separately. Hospital cover will cost you more money, but extras is where things like dental and massages come in, which aren't covered by Medicare. If you don't use your extras policy, consider cancelling it and taking out hospital only cover.

How much does it cost?

Hospital (If you're over 31 and haven't had cover, you'll also have loading)

TierMonthly average costIncludes
Basic$71.20Ambulance cover
Bronze$86.80Joint replacements, adenoids & cancer
Silver$105.65Dental surgery, lung, chest & heart issues
Gold$168Pregnancy, IVF & weight loss surgery

Extras

LevelMonthly average costIncludes
Basic$12.85
  • No gap dental check-up
  • $300 physio
Mid$34.95
  • $600 dental limit
  • $200 optical
  • Physio, massage and major dental
Top$81
  • No waiting periods
  • Pretty much a limit for everything
  • Start your comparison. If you're not happy with what you're paying for, it's worth comparing new options. There are over 30 health funds in Australia, each with at least 3 different levels of cover. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
  • Extras – The limit amount for each treatment. This is how much you can claim throughout the year.
  • Hospital treatments – This is your treatment inclusions such as elective treatments or pregnancy. When reviewing, consider exactly what you need as the level of cover dramatically changes your price. For example, if you've had pregnancy cover in the past, this is a top Gold hospital policy – it could be a good time to drop your cover level if you're not planning any more kids.
  • Excess – This is the amount you would have to pay if you actually use the private hospital. The lower your excess, the higher the premium.
  • Use a sign-up offer. Make the switch. Your new health fund will usually do the hard work of breaking up with your old health fund. There are always plenty of sign-up offers in the market too so you could score a month free or get a gift card.

A few more health insurance tips:

Use your extras. Most extras policies include a yearly routine dental check-up, often with no out-of-pocket costs. Seeing the dentist a couple of times a year is one of the easiest ways to get value for your money.

⚡Don't sign up for a couples policy. You won't save any money by sharing a policy, and it could actually cost you more. For example, if you're on a top policy for pregnancy, you're both paying for treatment when only one of you needs cover.

Switch regularly. Your hospital waiting periods will carry over to any new policy, so if you've already waited 12 months for pregnancy, you won't lose this by switching. As long as you're paying less for the same (or more) cover, your loyalty won't actually help you. There are always plenty of sign-up offers in the market too so you could score a month free or get a gift card.

How to save on your car insurance and running costs

Owning a car can be a big drain on your finances, from petrol and parking to maintenance and rego. Luckily, you can at least save some cash on insurance.

Based on our research below, a third party property damage policy can cost you an average of $31 a month, whilst a comprehensive car insurance policy is an average of $82 a month. Your costs will differ based on your own circumstances.

Comparison of the cost of car insurance

BrandThird party onlyComprehensiveApply
Coles$234.02$388.32More info
Bingle$266.37$519.37Get quote
AAMI$353.01$723.17More info
Budget Direct$236.85$725.64Get quote
Virgin Money$246.32$754.67Get quote
GIO$360.58$836.07More info
Suncorp$580.24$939.55More info
NRMA$811.00$1,315.68More info
CGU$246.63$1,633.59More info
QBE$335.97$2,054.44More info

To determine this estimated cost, we sourced quotes using this profile:

  • Female driver born 1/1/1980
  • Silver 2016 Ford Falcon 2.0L Auto
  • Comprehensive car insurance
  • Safe driver with no claims made in the past 3 years
  • Drives 10,000-15,000km per year
  • Adjusted excess to $850 where possible
  • Driver located in Sydney
  • Policy starting 22/01/2020

Your cost will differ depending on your circumstances. Some things that can affect the cost of your quote include your gender, the type of car you drive, the colour of the car, how long you have been driving, the amount of cover you need, plus more. Be sure to read the PDS to find cover that suits you.

If your premiums have been rising, or you just signed up for a policy at the dealership, it could be a good time to review your policy.

Here's how you do it:

  • Don't let your policy auto-renew. You might think that the longer you're with your insurer, the more they will reward you, right? Wrong. Some people are paying more each year just for being loyal. Don't be one of them! An easy way to not pay the loyalty tax is to look for a better deal every renewal period – half an hour of comparing quotes could save you hundreds of dollars.
  • Don't skimp on cover. Some policies will be cheaper if they give you market value for your car (as opposed to agreed value) – or they might not give you a choice of repairer. This might save you some money in the short run, but will actually become important if you need to make a claim.
  • Don't get hung up on a particular brand. It can be tempting to fall for a company because it's familiar – you've seen it on TV; your parents were with them; you've "heard" they're good. You're better off looking for a policy that suits you and your circumstances rather than getting suckered into a company with a big marketing budget.
  • Compare, compare, compare. This is probably the most important tip to getting the best car insurance deal for you. Set aside 30 minutes and fill in a bunch of quotes. You can even use autofill via your browser (or even better, a secure password manager) to make the job easier.
Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
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. 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
Market
Finder's summary: Bingle consistently come up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. They only cover the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps their premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low cost option that covers them for the basics.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in their policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also have a live chat feature on their 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.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths catch our eye due to some unique perks like a price beat guarantee, where they'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 their Price Beat.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
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. You'll get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you buy online and get access to their hail hero service. Plus, get a $100 e-Gift card when you purchase a new policy by 30 November 2020 (T&Cs apply).

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to pick and choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be thanks to optional extras like roadside assistance, choice of your own repairer, and the option of agreed or market value. Plus, you'll earn Qantas Points when you join and get access to the Qantas Wellness App.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription - you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at anytime. 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.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
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.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. They'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. They offer 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 (they'll cover men too!).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Don't miss these tips:

Check where you're getting your car serviced. If your car is no longer under warranty, you don't have to go with your car dealer's servicing team. You could save money by shopping around for other options.

Fill up while fuel prices are low. Prices fluctuate by up to 50 cents a litre some weeks, so keep an eye on prices and when you notice a dip in your area, fill up the tank.

Weigh up whether you really need your car. If you own a car but don't use it much, consider whether it's worth keeping. Between GoGet, Uber and just grabbing a e-bike, there are plenty of other options. The below chart from Finder research shows some side-by-side cost breakdowns depending on your weekly trips.

Trip lengthTrips per weekCheapest2nd cheapest3rd cheapest
30 min2GoGet $1,344Uber $3,518Own car $4,159
30 min6GoGet $3,558Own car $4,549Uber $10,742
30 min12Own car $5,132GoGet $6,756Uber $21,484
60 min2GoGet $2,492Own car $4,354Uber $6,878
60 min6GoGet $5,135Own car $6,756Uber $20,633
60 min12Own car $6,305GoGet $13,152Uber $41,265

Picture: GettyImages

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