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Car insurance – what does a good policy look like?

Car insurance policies come with many features – some important, and others less so. Use these tables to check which are a ‘must have’, a ‘should have’ or a ‘could have’, to help you buy the right policy.

‘Must have’ features

Features that a good policy will give
Features
A good policy will give

Windscreen cover

Means your windscreen will be repaired or replaced following a loss or damage claim.

Up to the market value

Be aware that windows and sunroofs might not be included.

And if you use a non-approved repairer, your insurance company might limit the amount they'll pay in the event of a claim.

Personal belongings

Covers loss or damage of your personal belongings following an accident, fire or theft while they’re in your car. For example, bags and CDs.

£200 or more

Typically, money, credit or debit cards, stamps and tickets aren’t included.

Theft of items carried in an open or convertible car aren’t covered, unless they’re kept in a locked boot.

Loss or theft of keys

If the keys to your car, ignition, alarm, immobiliser, steering lock or garage door opener are lost or stolen, the insurer will pay towards the cost of replacing the keys and the associated locks.

£300 or more

If the keys, lock transmitter or entry card are either left in or on the car at the time of the loss, or taken without your permission by a member of your immediate family or a person living in your home, you won’t be covered.

Protected no-claims discount

Protects your no-claims discount and ensures that you don’t lose it following a claim.

The choice of adding it to your policy or including it as standard, allowing up to two claims in a three-year period

There are limits to the number of claims you’re allowed to make within a certain period of time. You need to check what your insurance company allows.

Car rescue cover

If you have an accident which immobilises your car, the insurance company will cover the cost of removing the vehicle from the scene of the accident.

The reasonable costs of moving the vehicle from the scene of the accident to the nearest repairer.

Courtesy car

If you’re involved in an accident and your vehicle needs to be repaired, you’ll be provided with an alternative car to keep you mobile while you’re without yours.

The choice of adding it to your policy or including it as standard

This can be limited to a certain number of days, for example 14 to 28 days.

Often, you only get the courtesy car when your car is being repaired in the garage.

Repairs guaranteed

The insurer will guarantee any repair work carried out by their approved repairers.

12-month guarantee

Repairs carried out by someone you choose to do the work won’t be covered.

 

‘Should have’ features

Features that a good policy will give
Features
A good policy will give

New car replacement

If your car is stolen and not recovered, or damaged following an accident, fire or theft – and the cost of repair is above a certain percentage of the manufacturer’s recommended retail price – your insurer might replace your car with a new car of the same make and specification.

60% of list price and within 12 months from new

Note that you won’t be covered if you’re not the first registered owner of the vehicle, or a replacement car isn’t available in the UK.

The car will have to be under a certain age – usually 12-24 months.

Stereo and satellite navigation

Cover is provided for loss or damage to your stereo and/or satellite navigation equipment.

Up to market value (for manufacturer equipment)

Note that non-manufacturer equipment (bought separately to the car) might not be covered or covered for a different amount.

Accident transport

If you’re involved in an accident that immobilises your car, your insurance company will arrange for you and your passengers to be transported from the scene of the accident.

Cover as standard for up to seven passengers

Some insurers limit the number of passengers that will be transported.

Hotel expenses

Following an accident where you can’t continue your journey or get home, the insurance company will pay for the cost of a hotel for you and your passengers.

£250 or more

Any costs over the limit set per person.

24-hour helpline

Provides a 24-hour helpline that you can call in an emergency.

Emergency helpline provided as standard

Total loss courtesy car

If your car is stolen or damaged beyond economical repair, the insurer will provide you with a courtesy car while your claim is being settled.

The choice of adding it to your policy or including it as standard

The car will only be provided for a limited time – ranges from 2 to 28 days.

Legal expenses

Legal help to recover your ‘uninsured losses’ following an accident that wasn’t your fault. For example, claims for personal injuries, car hire or out of pocket expenses you could get as a result of the accident.

The choice of adding it to your policy or including it as standard

You won’t be covered for legal costs that your insurance company haven’t agreed in advance.

Breakdown cover

Provides assistance if your car breaks down and it needs repairing or taking to a garage.

The choice of adding it to your policy or including it as standard

Make sure you don’t double up if you have separate breakdown cover.

Costs for replacement parts aren’t covered.

 

‘Could have’ features

Features that a good policy will give
Features
A good policy will give

Driving abroad

Provides the same level of cover you have – comprehensive, third party fire and theft, or third party when you drive your car abroad.

The choice of adding it to your policy or including it as standard

Countries not listed within the policy won’t be covered. Separate cover might be available, but you have to contact your insurer for confirmation.

Child car seat

Following an accident, fire or theft your child car seat will be replaced.

Replaced regardless of whether damaged in the accident or not

Some policies will only replace the car seat if there is visible damage or replace the seat up to a certain monetary amount.

Enhanced courtesy car

Following an accident, typically, insurers will provide a small courtesy car. This cover will give the option to enhance the type of courtesy car to a larger or a vehicle of equivalent size to your own vehicle.

The choice of adding it to your policy or including it as standard

On some policies, use of the car will be limited to a certain number of days – usually between 14-28 days.

Things to watch out for

What a good policy will watch out for
Watch out for
A good policy will give

Accidental damage excess

Money you must pay in the event of a claim for accidental damage.

£100 or less

Windscreen replacement excess

Money you must pay in the event of a claim to replace your windscreen.

Insurers often let you choose how much to pay towards claims, in return for a lower premium. If you choose a higher excess, you’ll have to pay more for every claim.

More information

The tables above set out what to look for. But if you want to know about the right level of cover, or getting the best deal, read our guides:

Car insurance – what you need to know
Car insurance for young drivers – the key facts

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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