What’s a lifetime repair guarantee?

A lifetime repair guarantee can make life easier for you after an accident.

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When you're getting your car repaired, most Australian comprehensive car insurance policies can provide you with a lifetime repair guarantee. This means you don't need to worry about fixing your vehicle if an accident damages your car.

In most cases, repairs will need to be approved by the insurer ahead of time.

What's a lifetime repair guarantee?

Whenever your vehicle is damaged after an accident, a lifetime repair guarantee ensures you don't have to worry about fixing it. Rather than sorting repairs out yourself, your insurer will make the arrangements for you and continue to do so for as long as you own the vehicle. The car insurer will repair your car to the condition it was in immediately before the insured event or when that's not possible, to substantially the same condition.

Some policies, such as third party property, fire and theft cover, will only provide a lifetime repair guarantee for insured events and damage caused by uninsured drivers, while most third party property policies protect you with a lifetime guarantee if you're in an accident with an uninsured driver.

When would I need a lifetime repair guarantee?

Whenever you're involved in an accident, a lifetime repair guarantee can help. If the claim is authorised by your insurer, it will arrange to have your car repaired to the condition it was in before the accident.

A lifetime repair guarantee is ideal for anyone who has invested in a car and plans to keep it for a number of years. It's also worth considering if you rely on the car to get around or if more than one person drives your vehicle. For instance, if your partner and 18-year-old also use the car, a lifetime repair guarantee can ensure any repairs are taken care of quickly so you can get back on the road as soon as possible.

It doesn't usually come as an optional add-on and you will most likely find it included in a comprehensive car insurance policy. If you're shopping around for car insurance then make sure you buy a policy with a lifetime repair guarantee included.

Is it worth it?

There are a few reasons that a lifetime repair guarantee might be worth it for you. These include:

  • Time and hassle. If you want to totally eliminate the hassle of finding someone to repair your car, which includes hunting around for a reasonable price, then a lifetime repair guarantee is worth it.
  • Puts professionals in charge. When it comes to dealing with car repairs, most of us are novices. By allowing your insurer to take care of things, you're putting a team of experienced individuals in charge. You won't have to go back and forth with quotes and you don't need to worry about whether or not fixes are worth it. Your insurer should have you covered.
  • Faulty workmanship. A lifetime repair guarantee makes your insurer responsible for faults in your car as a result of an accident. If you need to go back after a repair because the car still isn't running properly, your insurer will cover the costs for any faulty materials and workmanship. This likely wouldn't be the case if you were to choose your own repairer.
  • Security for a lifetime. What makes a lifetime guarantee worth it for many is that you're covered for the entire time you own the car. It's helpful as you might be involved in more than one accident or you might not need it at all for many years. Either way, it ensures your car is taken care of when the time comes.

Is it better to pick my own repairer?

There are plenty of car insurance providers who allow you to pick your own repairer. If you know or want to use an experienced mechanic, it might be best to stick with your own repairer, especially if you trust them and have been with them for a while. If you've got a vintage car or a specialised vehicle, it's often best to go with the person who has an idea of the car's service history. It can also be more convenient. Sometimes, an insurer's approved repairer is further away so it could be quicker to go with your own mechanic.

What if I'm not happy with my repairs?

Most insurers will arrange for any unsatisfactory repairs to be inspected. If rectification is deemed necessary, your insurer will then take the car and have it repaired to a better standard. In some cases, if it's not safe or economical, the car insurer will declare your vehicle a total loss and pay you its agreed market value. Disputes regarding quality, timeliness or the conduct of the repairer are usually dealt with as part of the complaints process.

Compare comprehensive car insurance policies

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 2021 Finder Award for Car Insurance - Value in QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA and Car Insurance - Features in NSW, VIC, WA, 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.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
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.

⭐ Current offer: Get $75 off your first year’s premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could 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 your car is damaged, you could benefit from a one-week turnaround on repairs.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2021 Finder Awards for Best Car Insurance - Value in VIC, QLD, SA, WA and TAS, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to manage their policy online 24/7.
Huddle Black Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Huddle's black comprehensive is its cover with highest limits and exclusive benefits. It includes roadside assistance. You can also get up to $2,000 for emergency travel and accommodation and up to $30 million legal liability cover.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a 24/7 claims processing.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
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.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2021 award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement.

⭐ Current offer: 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.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
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.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics. 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.
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