⚡️⚡️⚡️
With energy prices rising, switch to a cheaper plan
💡
Compare Prices Now
⚡️⚡️⚡️

Car insurance for wear and tear

Ways to minimise wear and tear on your car and avoid claim rejections.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Wear and tear in your car can lead to your insurance provider rejecting your claims.

It's frustrating when they decide that an incident was the result of your own neglect!

Learn more about what wear and tear in car insurance policy documents refer to and ways to minimise wear and tear on your car.

What does wear and tear mean in car insurance?

When car insurers refer to "wear and tear" in policy documents, they're talking about the breakages, malfunctions and general wearing down of components that comes with age. It plays into insurance claims in two main ways:

  • Pre-existing damage. Insurers won't cover damage that comes with age. If you lodge a claim, insurers will reject repair fees for damage that already existed before the incident, like a radio that had been busted for years.
  • Cause of an incident. If the wear and tear is determined to be a major cause of an incident, the insurer might reject your entire claim outright. For example, this might apply if you have faltering headlights and slam into something at night because you can't see it.

When an insurer rejects your claim based on wear and tear it could include:

  • Worn-out tyres
  • Rust spots or damage
  • Peeling paint
  • Electronics issues
  • General maintenance

Does your car insurance cover wear and tear?

No, your car insurance policy will never cover the kind of damage that naturally accumulates with age or is brought about by the neglect of the owner. It's expected that over time brake pads will wear out and tyres will have to be replaced – ordinary costs that come with owning a car.

The important question here is whether the exclusion for damage from wear and tear will prevent you from lodging a claim for something else. Some insurers could use your general lack of maintenance on the car as a reason to deny a claim, reasoning that your own neglect has brought this incident or damage about.

If you fail to replace your brake pads and crash into something because you can't stop properly, an insurer could be well justified in stating you should have seen such an accident coming. Fortunately, as stated above, the data suggests that this sort of rejection is extremely rare when it comes to car insurance claims.

My insurer thinks my damage is due to wear and tear but I disagree. What should I do?

When you disagree with your insurer's verdict on a claim, you can always lodge a dispute with the company's internal dispute resolution department. All insurers are required to have internal systems through which they can handle customers' complaints and disputes.

To improve your chances of a successful dispute:

  • Provide photographic proof. Photographs of your car before and after an accident can help prove that the damage you want repaired was indeed caused by the incident and not pre-existing. If you have a recent photo of your car with a nice gleaming paint job and a photo of it all torn afterwards, it can help your case.
  • Keep maintenance records. Keep receipts and reports that show your car has been well looked after. If you can prove that your car was in good working condition before an accident, an insurer will have less ground to claim it was due to neglect.

If you still aren't happy with the decision or the way your case has been handled, you have the option of going to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. It will usually only accept a case if you've already pushed a dispute through the company's internal resolution systems.

Ways to minimise wear and tear on your car

There are many ways you can keep your car in good working condition. Here are a few:

  • Stick to the maintenance schedule. It's usually recommended that cars are brought in for service and repairs on a regular basis, say every 20,000 kilometres. Regular maintenance helps keep your car healthy.
  • Change oil. It may seem like a relatively minor and easy thing to do, but when you put it off for too long it can ruin the engine.
  • Check your tyre pressure. Overinflated or underinflated tyres can seriously impact not only your ability to drive but also your fuel efficiency.
  • Look after your brakes. Judicious use of brakes (i.e. not slamming them on too often) will help keep them running for longer. When you hear your brakes start to squeal, that's a sign it might be time to replace the brake pads.

Picture: GettyImages

More guides on Finder

  • How to check car insurance

    How to stay up to date with your car insurance and avoid any hassle.

  • Do I need car insurance in Australia?

    Yes, you need car insurance to protect you from expensive bills following an accident.

  • Trailer Insurance

    Your comprehensive guide to getting trailer insurance for caravans, mobile homes and box trailers.

  • Road trip statistics Australia

    Finder research found 42% of Australians, equivalent to 8.2 million people, are planning a domestic road trip over the next 6 months.

  • Toyota LandCruiser car insurance

    A Toyota LandCruiser car insurance policy is around $138.43 a month. Compare 5+ policies side-by-side to see if you can get better value for your money.

  • Toyota HiAce insurance

    The average Toyota HiAce comprehensive insurance policy is $107.21 a month. Compare 5+ policies, discounts and find out if you could pay less.

  • Toyota Granvia insurance

    The average Toyota Granvia comprehensive insurance policy is $127.36 a month. Compare 5+ policies, discounts and get covered for a hire car, personal effects and more.

  • Toyota C-HR car insurance

    Toyota C-HR car insurance costs around $X a month. Compare 5+ policies to see if you could be paying less.

  • ROLLiN’ car insurance review

    ROLLiN' is an IAG-backed car insurer offering a flexible comprehensive plan that's refreshingly free from faff.

  • Toyota RAV4 car insurance

    The average insurance policy for a Toyota RAV4 is $105 a month. Compare 5+ policies and you could save.

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, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site