Finding the right car insurance plan can be like playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey…but after six margaritas and a double blindfold. Before we even get started, let’s point out the obvious.
1. What am I Paying for?
How much you pay for the insurance plan depends on things like your driving record, your car model, your insurance history, etc.
2. Restrictions on the Driver
You may be a good driver, but your insurer doesn’t know if your spouse/children/drinking buddy is.
3. What extra cover can you buy?
You may be able to buy protection from things besides road accidents.
4. Make sure your bank approves.
If you’ve bought the car on a bank loan, you may be facing other requirements. Some banks won’t allow you to buy TPO (Third Party Only) car insurance.
5. The Excess
When you make a claim, the amount you have to pay is referred to as the excess. The rest of the cost is borne by your insurer.
6. Damage Assessment
Sadly, my assessment that my last collision resulted in “total demolition” wasn’t acceptable to my insurer. I had to take my car to an IDAC (Independent Damage Assessment Centre), where after the inspector stopped laughing, he defined the damage as “a small dent in the front bumper”.
7. Repair Restrictions
Insurers may insist you go only to specified workshops. Likewise, they may be finicky about who repairs the car, and what parts the mechanics can use.
8. No Claim Discount
The NCD (No Claim Discount) is a discount to your premium. You get this in increments of 10% when you don’t file any claims for the year, and it accumulates for each year without a claim.
9. Proper Procedures
I have a booklet on my insurer’s claim procedures. It’s about as accessible as a third year course in Greek poetry, so I just call the experts and ask instead.
10. Refunds and Penalties
Let’s say you’ve made a dire mistake, and brought your car to JB for some unsubtle modifications. As a result, your car now resembles a cruise missile more than a sedan.
11. Finding the Right Insurance
The right car insurance isn’t just about the lowest premiums. If you aren’t properly covered for an accident, cheap insurance is worse than no insurance.
by Ryan Ong
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