Future forward: How technology can help you save on car insurance

Future forward How technology can help you save on car insurance

Sonia Stavreff investigates the technological advances that can save you money on your comprehensive car insurance.

March 3, 2010

Car insurance is one of those modern conveniences that we love to have but loathe to pay for. Many of us are always looking out for a better deal, but it isn’t until you actually compare quotes that you realise many of the advertised offers from new and existing car insurance companies aren’t as attractive as they first appeared.

A myriad of factors can affect how much our car insurance can cost, and there are now many new technologies available that can give us the upper hand when it comes to negotiating a good deal.

Driving a hard bargain
It’s hard to prove how good a driver you are without having a couple of years of insurance history under your belt. Some insurance companies in North America and Europe have started to use small onboard diagnostic devices that monitor driving behaviour, such as driving speed, braking habits and distances covered.

This technology isn’t yet available in Australia, but when it is, it will be interesting to see how our driving behaviour and our premiums will be affected.

X marks the dot
Australia has the second highest rate of auto theft in the western world. While you may go out of your way to keep your car safe, it is usually the overall cost of theft to your insurance company that affects the cost of your policy.

New self-voiding identification technologies are being used as a preventative measure against car theft. Cars are laser-etched with tiny data labels containing identification information about that vehicle. The labels cannot be reproduced, which means they cannot be counterfeited, and their removal is a timely and expensive process.

These labels are relatively cheap to implement and letting your car insurance company know that you are using this technology could also decrease the cost of your car insurance, especially if you own a car model that is more likely to be targeted by theft.

Technology at our fingertips
Financial comparison websites like RateCity can save you time and money. New functionalities make it even easier and more comprehensive to search, compare and apply for some of the best deals in town.

After filling in a quick survey, a ‘live pricing’ list of quotes from several insurance providers will pop up on your screen. Budget Direct quotes also have a ‘click-to-call‘ feature for any questions you may have before signing up.

Keeping up with technology can sometimes feel like a lot of work. Don’t be afraid to do a little bit of research. Staying abreast of new technology is a good investment of time that will help to keep your money here in the present.


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Learn more about car insurance

Does insurance cover a stolen car if keys were in the car?

A car insurance policy that covers the theft of your car, such as third party fire and theft insurance, usually covers a stolen car, even if the keys were in the car’s ignition.

However, your insurer may deny the claim if you live in an area where there have been several car robberies reported recently. They will see you leaving the keys in the car as a case of negligence. In such cases, your insurance provider may even expect you to have installed anti-theft security measures in your car. 

You may need to confirm whether or not you left your keys in your car, and if they had been stolen or misplaced, before filing your car insurance claim. The loss or theft of your car keys may be covered by a comprehensive car insurance policy, but usually as an optional item.

If you can confirm that your car keys were stolen, mention this in your claim as this will help establish that your car was not stolen as a result of your negligence.

Can you insure your car for 6 months?

Most Australian insurers won’t offer you a 6-month car insurance policy, so you may need to buy a policy that covers your car for damages and cancel it after six months. You will need to purchase comprehensive car insurance to protect your car from accidental damage, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.. 

Consider checking whether your 6-month comprehensive car insurance will cost more if you pay monthly or six-monthly premiums instead of a one-time annual premium. Another question to ask the insurer is whether you’ll need to pay administration or cancellation fees when you cancel the policy.

Alternatively, you can look for a suitable ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance policy, which usually offers you the coverage of a comprehensive car insurance policy but only requires you to pay for the distance driven. Such a policy may not be the ideal 6-month car insurance plan as it is based on how much you drive rather than for how long. If you need to drive a lot, you may end up paying more than you’d pay for regular car insurance.