What to expect when shopping for car insurance in New Zealand

18 February 2020

Here is what to expect when shopping for your car insurance in 2020.

With over 3.6 million cars on the road averaging almost 10,000kms per year per vehicle (Ministry of Transport, 2018) car insurance is commonplace to most, if not all, Kiwis over the age of 16.

But, how simple is it really when it comes to getting car insurance in New Zealand?

THE PROVIDERS

Let's start with how many car insurance providers there are in New Zealand.

For many, AA, State, AMI and Tower will come to mind alongside the banks that provide car insurance too, but you may be surprised to know that we counted 23 insurance providers that you can get your car insurance from. We suspect that this is a lot more than most people would know.

Sitting amongst the well known brands are the lesser known ones such as MAS, FMG, Star Insurance, Provident and Cove - a relatively new online insurer on the block.

No. of car insurance providers: 23

THE PROCESS

When it comes to getting a car insurance quote, it's actually relatively simple.

Most of the well known insurers allow customers to get an online quote within minutes. You'll need to enter some of your details such as address, DOB and vehicle's make and model, and a couple of questions relating to your accident and claims history. It is no surprise that with many customers preferring online interactions, insurers are starting to invest in this channel of choice.

For the other providers, including some banks, online is still lacking. There are online forms in place for you to enter your information and someone will give you a call back. This is rather old school and frankly rather out of place in 2020.

Alternatively, you can get car insurance through a broker or by visiting your bank. Some car yards will offer car insurance but it's wise to check that the policy is worthwhile and do a quick comparison at least.

All in all, a rather simple and quick exercise if your insurer is online otherwise it's back to pen and paper which could take more time and effort.

Time to quote online: Less than 3 minutes on average

THE PRICE

As with everything, there is always a price difference once you start shopping around.

We did a comparison based on the same car seeking a Full/Comprehensive cover across five providers. We found a 30% price difference between the highest and the lowest yearly premiums, almost close to $300 in this case. Choosing when how often to pay your premiums also makes a difference. Fortnightly or monthly payments will cost you on average 10% more a year than when you pay upfront for the year.

Price difference: ~$300 (30%)

Savings when paying yearly rather than monthly or fortnightly: 10% on average

THE HASSLE

While the online quote process seems relatively quick and simple, it is a hassle when:

1. the insurance company does not offer online quoting and purchase

2. you want to compare across multiple insurance companies and products

Unless you take the time to read the finer prints, it is difficult to compare the difference in not only price but benefits across providers. Things to watch out for are what the insurance companies call additional features or benefits. For example, 'Excess-free windscreen cover', 'Roadside rescue' or 'Keys and locks cover' are some of the common ones. Once you've added the cost of these features and benefits in, the policies may end up being more costly when you compare them against some of the others with these benefits already included.

If your preference is to engage with your insurance online, check out if you can receive email renewals and whether the insurance company allows you to make payments and claims online. A good way to simply test this is by trying their online chat if available or by sending them an email to see how responsive they are. If they are not good online, you can bet it will likely be a pain when you need anything to be done in the future when it comes to your policy.

SUMMARY

Overall, there are plenty of options to choose from when insuring your car. If you are getting a quote and buying online, the process can take less than 10 minutes all up. It's quick and simple.

It is worth getting a few quotes as the benefits and prices can be substantially different across insurers. Price differences can easily be worth a few hundred dollars each year, adding up to thousands in just a few short years. When it comes to benefits that comes with the cover, this can mean hundreds if not thousands of dollars when it comes to an accident or incident. Even something as simple as a cracked windscreen or stolen car keys can mean lots of money out of pocket for you.

Now that you've bought your car insurance, make managing it simple by adding it to your Quashed insurance dashboard. Store all your insurance information in one place so you have it handy when you need it. Simply sign up for free and we'll help you stay on top of all your insurance in one place.

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