Ahead of the busy festive period on Australia’s roads, new research from car insurance experts iSelect suggests many Aussie drivers may be leaving themselves financially exposed by not regularly reviewing their car insurance policy.
The Galaxy Research, commissioned by iSelect, looked into Australians’ attitudes and behaviour towards car insurance, revealed that over 5 million (33%) Australian car owners have either always been with the same insurer or haven’t changed providers for at least 10 years.
The research also revealed almost one in five (18%) of 65+ drivers have been with the same driver since they first got their license, despite having been on the road for many decades.
We recently chatted to Laura Crowden, the spokesperson for iSelect Car Insurance to get some insight into the research and car insurance policies.
Laura said the busy Christmas and New Year holiday period should be a reminder to drivers to review their car insurance policy and make sure it still suits their current needs and budget.
“During the holiday season, more people are driving on the road at the same time and many of us are driving longer distances than normal, often on unfamiliar roads. As a result, not only can driving during this time of year be more stressful but the risk of accidents also increases.”
The research suggests many Aussie drivers may be paying too much for their car insurance by not regularly reviewing their policy, requirements and options. Simple updates like removing drivers who no longer share your car, a change of overnight parking circumstances or even kilometers driven per year can make a big difference to your premiums.
Laura said it was also important to make sure you notified your insurer of any changes – such as moving address or making modifications to your car – as not doing so could void your policy in the case of a claim.
“If you are planning to do a lot of driving over the festive period, take the time to check that your car insurance policy is up to date. Quickly reviewing your current insurer against other options could even reveal a better value alternative and free up some extra cash to put towards your Christmas shopping!”
While there is understandably strong focus on the Christmas road toll over the festive period, it is not just more serious accidents that become more likely over the holiday period.
The lead-up to Christmas also sees a heightened risk of minor prangs and bingles, particularly in busy shopping centre car parks. The combination of more shoppers fighting for limited car parks and stressed drivers frantically trying to finish their shopping can increase the likelihood of minor accidents.
The iSelect research also found that the majority of Australian drivers (51%) reported having not made a claim in the past 10 years, including a third of drivers who have never made a claim on their policy.
A no claim history is something to be proud of but drivers with excellent records need to make sure they are being rewarded for their good driving by securing no-claim discounts.
“Car insurance is like health insurance and home and content insurance… You hope you never have to claim on it, but when the time comes it can be a financial lifesaver. After all, the implications of a parking-lot bingle with a top-of-the-line Tesla can run into the thousands.”
“This is why all drivers, regardless of their situation and driving history, should speak with a car insurance expert regularly to make sure they have the right level of cover at a price they can afford,” concluded Laura.
iSelect does not compare all products in the market. Not all products are available at all times. Any advice provided in this content is of a general nature and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You need to consider the appropriateness of any information or general advice we give you, having regard to your personal situation, before acting on our advice or purchasing any product.
 In April 2017, iSelect commissioned a nationally representative consumer research study with Galaxy Research to assess the attitudes of 1,000 insured Australians towards car insurance. The dataset was weighted and projected to Australian population based on ABS population estimates.