An increasing number of Australian households own more than one vehicle, whether it be a car, boat or bicycle. Having adequate insurance is vital to protect yourself and your family in the event of fire, theft or an accident. However the insurance market can seem like a confusing bundle of products to the untrained eye. I’ve tried to get to the bottom of the problem to see if one combined policy can cover everything, or whether or its best to opt for individual policies instead.
Initially it’s useful to take a closer look at what standard car, boat and bicycle insurance will cover. After all, do you even need it in the first place?
As you’d expect car insurance is compulsory in Australia. It covers you and your passengers in the event of an accident and is a legal requirement for all drivers.
Different levels of car insurance are available. Comprehensive insurance is the most thorough and will cover damage to your vehicle along with any damage you cause to a third party. If you’ve taken out a car loan you’ll be required to opt for comprehensive cover to protect the interests of your lender. However if you own the car yourself you can opt for lower levels of cover such as third party insurance, which is generally lower in price. Unlike comprehensive cover if you’re deemed to be at fault in any accident you won’t receive any help with the costs of repairing your vehicle.
While boat insurance isn’t compulsory in Australian waters, many harbours and marinas won’t allow you to use their facilities unless you can demonstrate evidence of at least third party cover. The excessive cost of boat repairs and potential compensation claims following an accident should be worrying enough to ensure any responsible boat owner takes out appropriate cover for their craft.
Specialist boat insurers often include useful additional benefits such as 24 hour emergency assistance and cover for the discharge of any fuel.
There’s no requirement for compulsory bicycle insurance in Australia, which applies even for power assisted electric bicycles that are becoming increasingly popular. However today bicycles are becoming more technological and expensive than ever, making them an costly item to replace following a theft. Even when proper security measures are taken, there’s an extremely high incidence of bicycle theft in Australian cities, making insurance an essential product for any conscientious cyclist.
Bicycle insurance can be taken out on it’s own or added to your home and contents insurance. It usually covers theft, accidental damage and protects you in the instance of a claim for liability following an accident.
Should I take out cover together or separately?
If you’ve decided to take out car, boat and bicycle insurance you become a highly attractive customer for insurance companies. You could benefit from cheaper premiums if you choose to go with the same company. Some customers reported their premiums were lowered by 20% when they took out multiple policies with the same insurer.
However remember to shop around as specialised boating insurers will often include benefits you won’t get elsewhere, such as emergency assistance. The cheapest deal may save you money, but it’s not always the best option. Be sure to read your policy details thoroughly before signing on the dotted line, and if you’re struggling enlist the help of a broke to find you a deal that best suits your needs.