What car insurance add-ons do I need?
When purchasing any car insurance policy, it is worth considering whether you would like to include any additional cover options too. A variety of car insurance extras are commonly available in the UK which can often be added on to your standard insurance policy.
These add-ons are likely to be at an additional cost, and will be subject to their own limits, terms and conditions. You should always check the details for each add-on directly with your insurance provider before purchasing.
Commonly available add-ons include:
1. No Claims Bonus Protection
No Claims Bonus (also known as a “No Claims Discount") refers to the number of years you have had a car insurance policy in your own name without making a claim. The more No Claims Bonus years you accrue, the more discount you may be eligible for on your car insurance.
On a standard car insurance policy, if you have an accident during your policy term your insurer may ‘step back’ the number of NCB years you have. This could potentially make your insurance premium more expensive at renewal.
This is where No Claims Bonus Protection can come in handy, allowing you to retain the same level of No Claims at renewal even if you’re at fault in an accident. You will usually need to have accumulated 4 years or more No Claims Bonus to benefit, and there may also be a limit to the number of claims you're able to make while protecting your No Claims Bonus. Read your policy documents to find out what’s covered.
Remember, No Claims Bonus Protection does not protect the overall price of your insurance policy, and the price of your insurance policy may still increase following an accident even if you were not at fault.
2. Legal cover
Car insurance legal cover is designed to pay for your legal costs when pursuing a claim for uninsured losses if you are involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault.
Covers can include the cost of defence if legal action is taken against you following an accident, or the costs of your legal claim against a third party if the third party is found to have been negligent. Car insurance legal cover will also often enable you to recoup any excess payment that you have had to pay following an accident where you were not at fault, or other losses such as loss of income of taxi expenses.
3. Personal accident cover
If you're injured in an accident, you may be left unable to work - either while you recover or permanently, dependent on the severity of your injuries. Personal accident insurance provides compensation for death and specified injuries sustained as a result of a car accident, as well as immediate security in assisting with bills, medical costs and other expenses that may be incurred for both you and your passengers.
Personal accident cover is often included as standard within a comprehensive insurance car policy, but not always. You should check with your insurer whether this type of cover is included in your policy. If basic personal accident cover is included, it may be possible to pay an additional amount to the insurer to increase the level of cover.
Remember, you will only be able to claim under your enhanced personal accident policy if you’re unable to claim from a third party. You should also read your full policy documents to understand which injuries are included.
4. Breakdown cover
No matter how well-maintained your car is, there is always the chance that your vehicle will break down. And you don’t get to choose when or where it happens either – so it inevitably ends up happening at the most inconvenient time and location!
Breakdown cover will typically include the cost of vehicle recovery following a breakdown, but usually not the repairs.
Often there will be a number of different types of breakdown cover available such as:
Breakdown repair cover – This covers the cost of recovery following a breakdown, plus extra cover available for spare parts should they be required.
At home – This will cover your vehicle if it breaks down at home only (rather than when you’re out and about). It is also sometimes called ‘on drive’ cover.
European breakdown cover – This will cover you if you breakdown whilst you are driving in Europe. However, before taking out this policy, it is worth checking with your insurer whether this type cover is already included in your car insurance policy.
Onward journey cover – This covers the cost of onward travel (e.g. train tickets) to enable you to complete your journey if your car is not able to be repaired on the roadside.
Personal cover – This covers the cost of recovery for any car that you might be driving, rather than just a specific vehicle.
You can also take out breakdown cover separately to your insurance policy, although you may find it easier to cover both under the same roof, with the same renewal date.
5. Car key cover
Research shows that 43% of drivers admit to regularly forgetting where they leave their car keys. But the price for losing or forgetting your keys is high, with an average replacement cost of £176.20 according to RACs research.
So if you’re one of the unlucky 43% that’s a bit prone to losing or misplacing your keys, car key cover could be the ideal solution, providing peace of mind that you won’t have to fork out for replacement keys and locks in the event of a loss. It can also save you time and hassle trying to find a locksmith, as all you have to do is call the emergency helpline for assistance.
Depending on your insurer, Key cover will usually include:
- Cover for lost and stolen keys, replacement locks and call-out charges (usually up to an annual cover limit)
- Car hire if your car is unusable as a result of lost or stolen keys
- Cover for all named drivers
- 24 hour, 365 days a year emergency assistance
6. Car excess insurance
An ‘excess’ is the initial amount you must pay yourself if you are making a claim on your car insurance policy. If you need to make a claim, excess protection will reimburse the cost of any excess you’ve had to pay up to the amount specified on your policy.
Not only does this ensure you’re not left out of pocket following an accident, but it also allows you to increase your voluntary excess – which in turn could decrease the initial cost of your insurance.
7. Hire car cover
Would you struggle to get around if your car was stolen or written off? Taking out hire car cover will ensure you get a temporary replacement car delivered to you following an accident so you can still get from A to B while your car is being repaired or replaced.
There are usually time limits for replacement cars depending on your level of cover (e.g. 21 days on a comprehensive policy), so read your policy documents or speak to your insurer to check what’s covered.
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