|My dream car! I will own one someday.|
I’d already created a “car replacement fund” able to well and truly cover the cost of replacing the car if I was to total it, as it seems to me that any frugal girl should be preparing for the future. So what was the obvious solution? To take out a third party fire and theft policy so that I wouldn’t be screwed if I hit a Ferrari, and cancel the comprehensive car insurance.
When I called the insurance provider I’d picked as a good bet for a new policy, the very helpful customer service rep explained an amazing phenomenon to me: if your car is worth over $10,000, you can’t get covered for anything less than comprehensive car insurance because it would give you the right to sue the insurance company for under-insuring you. I asked if this was standard across the insurance industry and he told me that for some insurers the limit is only $5,000. Basically, insurance agencies and our legal system assume that you are unable to make decisions for yourself and that you don’t understand what the policy you’re taking out actually means. Otherwise how can you have the ability to successfully sue for your choice to buy a policy that doesn’t cover your car’s value in its entirety?
I was not impressed that my plan to only have a third party policy wouldn’t work. I don’t want to go without insurance at all in case I hit that Ferrari.
However, this story has a happy ending. The customer service rep was able to sell me a policy for $1,074 a year, or just under $90 a month. That’s cheaper than any of the quotes I received from other insurance providers for comprehensive car insurance. It’s not as cheap and cheerful as that third party policy would have been, but it’s an annual saving of $810. It turned out to be very good timing as I had to pay close to $800 for dental work this week.
|My actual car! Which is clearly a Beetle copycat. I love you, Micra.|
Just because a service provider was the cheapest option when you last looked, doesn’t mean that’s still the case. When I first had to purchase car insurance three years ago, the provider I picked was by far the cheapest for my circumstances. Now they appear to be very overpriced compared to market standards. My circumstances have changed in that time, and maybe the insurance market has too. This doesn’t just apply for insurance: when was the last time you shopped around for an internet provider, or ran a price comparison on different mobile phone contracts?
Look at whether you really need insurance. I’m still planning to drop down to a third party policy when my car’s value is lower. A different policy may be a better fit than your current one, and if you have a very large savings fund and the value of your vehicle is low, think about what you’re gaining from having insurance coverage. Some people wouldn’t be comfortable with the thought of paying for a new car out of pocket and would rather have insurance just for peace of mind, and that’s okay too.
If you’re friendly and you ask questions, you will receive a wealth of information. The customer service rep was willing to chat to me about all kinds of insurance issues. For example, do you know that if you live in a suburb with lots of car parks (e.g. close to the central business district or a shopping centre) your insurance premiums will be higher? That’s because people are causing accidents by reversing into each other’s cars in car parks and your premium is partly based on the statistics for your suburb.