Getting your four-wheel drive vehicle insured can be a complicated process, more so than getting standard car insurance. This can make getting the best 4×4 insurance for you even more difficult.
However, by having a solid understanding of what insurance products are available, what factors impact getting your vehicle insured, and how the price of your 4WD insurance is determined, you’ll be ready to find the best insurance for you with ease.
There’s a lot to know and a lot to prepare, but if you love your vehicle then proper insurance is more than just a good idea. It’s essential.
Types of Insurance
There are four types of insurance that you can purchase for your vehicle.
Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance
Also known as registration or rego insurance, this is the minimum and compulsory level insurance coverage in Australia. By paying for your car registration, you will automatically get CTP insurance.
This type of insurance will cover you in the case of personal injury you may cause to another person during a car accident.
Note that CTP insurance only covers you if you are held responsible for injuries or fatalities to any third parties in the case of an incident.
Damages to vehicles or other property aren’t covered by CTP insurance.
Third-Party Car Insurance
This insurance will cover you for any damages, legal costs, and repairs to other vehicles in the case of an incident. Your own vehicle is not covered.
Third-Party Insurance may include uninsured driver cover. If you are in an incident with an uninsured driver who is at fault, you may have your repair costs covered to an extent.
Third-Party With Fire and Theft
An improvement upon standard Third Party Car Insurance that covers damages from fire or theft. As above, this may also include uninsured driver cover.
Comprehensive Car Insurance
This is the highest level of insurance available. Comprehensive car insurance will cover the repair and replacement of your car due to a variety of types of damage (fire, theft, weather, accidental, and malicious damage).
This insurance will cover the repair and replacement of any other vehicles or private property belonging to third parties that are damaged by you in an incident.
4×4 Insurance Companies
When it comes to 4×4 insurance Australia has a huge range of insurance companies offering 4WD insurance, each with slightly different insurance products with differing terms and conditions.
It’s a good idea to compare each insurance company and their offerings against each other to find the best 4×4 insurance for your and your vehicle. Compare 4×4 car insurance here.
It is also worth mentioning that there are specialist insurance products available for 4WD vehicles. Club 4×4 Insurance is an Australian insurance company that caters specifically to 4×4 enthusiasts.
They can even cover accessories and customisations, and caravan or camper trailers.
Are You Going To Be Covered?
Owners of 4WD vehicles may find it is harder to get their vehicle insured. This is because it is so common for 4WDs to be customised or modified.
Your vehicle can be deemed illegal even in seemingly minor or harmless ways, so it’s important to double-check that your vehicle is deemed roadworthy before seeking insurance.
Otherwise, you may find that insurers won’t grant you insurance.
If you have had any modifications installed or customisation done to any of the following vehicle parts, it is a good idea to inform yourself of the details of your state’s regulations.
- Tyre Size
- Wheel Track
- Or you have significant additional weight
A good starting point for informing yourself of regulations surrounding 4WD modifications is the National Code of Practice and the Vehicle Standards Bulletin 14. It is a good idea to also familiarise yourself with Have a look at this article WA Regulations on Common 4WD Accessories.
Furthermore, it’s incredibly important to read the PDS (Product Disclosure Statement) provided to you by your insurer. This will tell you exactly what you are and aren’t covered for under a specific policy.
Beyond modifications and added accessories, you might find that your insurance company won’t cover you for off-road driving.
While most companies will cover you if you are on a legal four-wheel drive track if you’re going beach driving, or off the beaten path, any damage your 4×4 may sustain won’t be covered.
While off-road cover is often an added extra, be aware that even fourby enthusiast favourite Club 4×4 has introduced a water crossing clause, meaning if you write your car off in a voluntary water crossing you will get significantly less back from your claim.
With insurers cracking down on claims related to off-road driving it’s more important than ever to take extra care when driving off-road.
Understanding What Insurance You Need
When you begin the process of requesting a quote to get your 4WD vehicle insured, you’ll need to prepare several points of information.
Understanding exactly what you want from your insurance and what you’re entitled to will prepare you to get the best 4×4 insurance possible for your vehicle.
If you have added or are adding any modifications to your vehicle, it’s a good idea to get them insured by your insurance provider.
It is not uncommon for the total cost of modifications on 4WD vehicles to come close to or even equal the cost of the actual vehicle itself.
Make sure that you notify your insurer of modifications such as bull bars, roof racks, and LED headlights.
If you don’t, they may not be included in your insurance policy and leave you shocked and out of pocket come time to make a claim.
Be aware that the level of cover for modifications rarely meets the cost of replacement.
By getting an insurance policy that covers this gear inside your vehicle, you can be prepared in case of theft.
Automatic VS Manual
It’s important to know that the gears inside your 4×4 will alter the cost of your 4×4 insurance.
Generally speaking, your insurance company will charge less when insuring a manual vehicle than an automatic one. This is due to the cost of repairs being cheaper for manual vehicles.
That being said, in most cases, this difference in price will be minimal.
Market Value VS Agreed Value
What does agreed value mean? What does market value mean? Understanding these terms will be very important when applying for 4WD insurance.
Market value is an insurance industry term that refers to the price that your vehicle would fetch on the open market at the time of making a claim.
Market value is not based upon the trade-in value of the vehicle, nor the cost of replacing your vehicle with a brand new one.
Premiums are often lower than insuring your car for a higher agreed value.
Be aware that there is no flexibility surrounding the amount that your car is insured for.
Agreed value is a sum that has been agreed upon between you and your insurance company when you either start or renew an insurance policy.
This value is often higher than what your vehicle would sell for on the open market, and as such you will pay higher premiums.
For 4x4s it is recommended that you avoid a market value policy. Why? Firstly, market value does not take into account any modifications or accessories attached to your 4WD unless specifically listed in your policy.
Market value is usually only calculated based on the base vehicle itself, ignoring any accessories.
As the value of any vehicle – including 4WD vehicles – depreciates over time, the worth of your fourby is only going to drop.
With an agreed value policy you can incorporate all accessories and modifications on your 4×4 into the value of the vehicle.
This means that in the event of an incident where you need to make a claim, you’ll be able to get extra money back then you would if you had a market value policy.
Consider the Extras
It’s very common for any insurance company to offer optional coverage or extra benefits to their policies. When comparing 4WD insurance policies don’t forget to check what extra benefits are available and if any suit your needs.
Windscreen cover is a benefit that some insurance providers offer as part of their standard comprehensive insurance policies, while other companies will charge extra for the coverage.
Even the smallest chip or crack in your windscreen may require the entire windscreen to be replaced.
When driving off-road or on unfinished roads, you’re put at greater risk of receiving damage to your windscreen due to the increased presence of debris on the road that can bounce up and into your windscreen.
For 4×4 insurance off-road preparation like windscreen repair cover could prove very helpful.
Hire Car After Accident
If you can’t drive your vehicle due to damage from an accident, theft, or fire, some insurers will offer to organise a hire car for you until your vehicle is repaired.
This means you’ll still be able to get around even in the event your 4WD is getting emergency repairs.
A hire car may not be included in your policy by default, but is a very popular extra that many add to their insurance policy.
Another incredibly popular extra that many drivers add to their insurance is roadside assistance.
If you have any problems that leave you stranded, then roadside assistance will be there to help. RAC Insurance offers roadside assistance as an added extra that you can get access to anywhere in Australia.
Roadside assistance may also include road recovery, meaning that your vehicle will be returned home if it isn’t repaired within 24 hours. This can usually be a very expensive procedure if you aren’t covered for it.
Making the Most of the Discounts
Many insurers will offer a range of discounts on their cover. It’s a good idea to ask your insurance company what discounts they offer in order to get the best 4×4 insurance for your money.
Some insurers will offer a discount on your policy if you are a member of a formally recognised four wheel drive club.
This is usually because the membership proves that you are both a serious 4WD enthusiast who is more likely to take appropriate care of their 4×4, and also that you are more likely a safer driver.
By being a member of a club 4×4 insurance will likely be up to 5% cheaper. Discuss with your insurance company to see if your club membership can save you on your 4WD insurance.
If you have multiple insurance policies with the same insurance company, you may be eligible for a multi-policy discount. Note that such a discount will be implemented differently between insurers, if at all.
One insurance company may require three or more policies, while another company only requires two policies but the discount only applies to subsequent policies beyond the very first.
As always, it is a good idea to talk with your insurance company about organising the best 4×4 insurance plan for you and your vehicle.
Driver/Tower Training Course Discounts
Some insurers, such as Club 4×4 Insurance will offer discounts on driving training courses. Not only will you save money on the course, but you’ll also become a better driver, and you’ll likely be eligible for a discount on your 4WD insurance once you’ve completed the course.
Insurance companies will often charge different fees depending on how often you make your insurance payments.
This is due to the difference in claims incidence rate between one month and one year. Understanding the differences between payment plans is a good idea.
Paying monthly may be cheaper upfront, however, the per month cost is likely 5-15% more expensive than that of an annual payment.
If you have the money to pay for an entire year’s worth of insurance upfront, you will likely receive a significant discount on your 4WD insurance. As mentioned above, your 4WD insurance will be anywhere from 5-15% cheaper for that year.
Whether you need business insurance or are just trying to get your personal 4×4 vehicle insured, it’s important to remember not to rush into any decision.
Always read the PDS provided to you, check the terms and conditions of every policy, and make sure that the cost of your insurance policy meets your objectives, financial situation, and coverage needs.
Remember that off-road driving might not be covered by your policy by default. There’s a lot to consider, but getting the best 4×4 insurance is an essential part of caring for your fourby.