Car insurance extras explained - which add-ons are worth having?
Should you pay more for extra car protection?
When taking out a car insurance policy, it’s likely that you’ll be offered a wide range of optional extras such as breakdown cover, no claims bonus protection or even cover when driving abroad.
Many people turn these down assuming that they aren’t worth the extra cost, but the truth is that some of these extra perks could end up saving you thousands of pounds in the not-so-distant future.
But what car insurance extras are available, and are they worth having? Let’s take a look…
Breakdown cover – Is breakdown cover included in insurance?
One of the most popular car insurance add-ons is breakdown cover, which is designed to protect your vehicle against any unexpected breakdowns.
A basic level of breakdown cover will cover you for any roadside callouts and repairs as well as being towed to a nearby garage, while a more comprehensive package will provide you with onward travel or accommodation if you break down far from home.
Read more: Bobatoo’s Complete Guide to Breakdown Cover
Admiral breakdown cover offers all of this, as well as cover in Europe, and it can be added to your Admiral car insurance policy either at the time of purchase or by contacting them later on.
Find out more about breakdown cover and read Bobatoo’s range of breakdown cover reviews here.
Personal accident cover – What is covered by personal accident insurance?
What is personal accident cover? To put it simply, it offers extra financial security for you, your partner or any other driver named on your insurance in the event of an accident. Many fully comprehensive car insurance policies offer a basic level of personal accident cover (usually around £5,000), however this is seldom enough to cover the relevant expenses.
With Admiral, you can upgrade your personal accident cover (or personal injury insurance) to cover up to £50,000 worth of costs associated with any injuries sustained during an accident.
Courtesy car – Can I get a courtesy car?
When you opt for courtesy car cover, you will be provided with a temporary vehicle while yours is off the road. Depending on the terms of your policy, you may only be entitled to a courtesy car when your car is being repaired by a garage recommended by your insurer.
Some insurance companies will not provide a courtesy car when your car is stolen or damaged by fire or theft, so be sure to read your policy in full.
Car key cover – Does insurance cover broken keys?
Your car isn’t really much use without a key – even keyless cars require an electronic lock! Besides, car key cover protects so much more than just the key for your car. For example, with Admiral’s ‘Keycare Cover’ you are insured for loss, damage or theft to your car keys, house keys and any other keys used to access personal property (perhaps a shed or garage).
You’ll also be covered for the costs of replacing any damaged locks with 24/7 access to locksmiths across the UK, as well as a hire car for three days if necessary. The best part, though, is that you pay no excess for your claim and it will not affect your no claims bonus.
Car seat cover – Do insurance companies pay for car seats?
If you have young children then you’ll know how expensive a good quality car seat can cost, with many reputable brands charging in excess of £100.
If you’re involved in an accident then you’ll want to seriously consider getting your car seat replaced – even if it looks okay, it is likely to have been weakened and could prove less effective in the future.
Some insurers include car seat cover in all of their comprehensive car insurance policies, however you should read your terms and conditions to see if you need to pay extra for it.
Car audio system cover – Can I insure my car’s stereo?
Whether you’re tuning into the morning news, enjoying your favourite podcast or listening to a bit of music, for many of us the backbone of an enjoyable car journey is the stereo.
To make sure that the music never has to stop, many insurers offer cover for built-in stereos. This is included as standard in many comprehensive policies – just make sure that, if you have had a new or replacement stereo fitted, you need to declare so to your insurer.
Windscreen cover- Can I add windscreen cover to my insurance?
Windscreen cover is a little different to the other add-ons mentioned in this guide as it comes as standard in all comprehensive car insurance policies – but if you damage your windscreen, it might not be best to claim on your insurance.
Taking out separate windscreen insurance will mean that you will not have to pay the full excess stated on your car insurance policy and your claim will not affect your no claims discount, meaning you’ll find it easier to get cheap car insurance when your renewal date comes around.
No claims bonus protection – is it worth protecting a no claims bonus?
We’ve mentioned a no claims bonus a few times so far, but did you know that you can pay to protect your discount? Whether you were at fault or not, you will probably lose some (or even all) of your no claims bonus in the event of an accident. By paying a little bit extra every year, you can ensure that your no claims discount remains intact even after making a claim.
Remember, though, that having no claims bonus protection doesn’t guarantee that your next car insurance renewal quote will be cheaper – you next insurer will see that you still have your no claims discount, but will also be able to see that you have made a claim.
European cover – Does my car insurance cover me in Europe?
All insurance policies in the UK cover you for driving across the EU, but the cover you get is restricted to third party – this means that you will be covered for any damage sustained by somebody else’s vehicle or property, but not your own.
If you are likely to be driving your car across Europe, purchasing European cover as a car insurance add-on will ensure that you receive the same level of cover abroad as you do within the UK.
Taking your car on holiday? You should also consider taking out travel insurance to protect yourself against potential cancellations, medical expenses and more!
Motor legal protection – Is legal cover worth having on car insurance?
Sometimes referred to as motor legal expenses cover, motor legal protection is designed to cover the legal costs associated with a car accident when you are not at fault. It can also be used to reimburse you of losses accrued from injury, medical expenses, loss of earnings and loss of possessions and is a commonly sold car insurance add-on.
Admiral offer up to £100,000 worth of motor legal protection alongside their car insurance policies, which also comes with the promise of a fixed payment if you happen to be hit by an uninsured driver.
Third party insurance for other cars – Can I drive another car on my insurance?
Many people assume that a fully comprehensive car insurance policy is enough to provide them with third party cover in somebody else’s car, but this is not always the case.
The level of cover you get in another car can vary depending on your insurer, and some may not offer any cover at all. Enquire about the level of cover you can get while driving other cars, but remember that this should only be used in the case of emergencies. If you are going to drive the car on a regular basis, you should take out your own insurance policy for it.
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You may receive a minimal level of contents cover with your car insurance policy, but if you regularly carry expensive items in your vehicle, this cover usually isn’t enough.
If your insurer gives you the opportunity to upgrade your personal possessions cover, make sure that you read all of the terms and conditions before paying the extra fee – some policies are invalid if the stolen items are left in clear view, you do not have proof of purchase or if there is no evidence of forced entry.
So, are car insurance add-ons worth it?
The truth is, the car insurance extras that you add to your policy should depend on your personal circumstances.
If you plan on driving in Europe, then you should purchase European cover – if not, then it’ll probably be a waste of money.
Do you have young children? Car seat cover could save you a bit of cash, but if not, it isn’t really worth considering.
But no matter what add-ons you opt for, make sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions of your policy to make sure that you aren’t caught short if you need to make a claim.