What’s a lifetime repair guarantee?

It can make life easier for you after an accident.

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Car repair

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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
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers 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 its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
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.
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.
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. Earn up to 10,000 Velocity Points when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance policy by 1 March 2021 and get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you buy online. T&Cs Apply.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. 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.
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.
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
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers 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 (it will cover men too).
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