Discover whether your insurance policy is riddled with potholes
When searching for car insurance your main focus is likely to be finding the cheapest price, but it’s important to make sure your new policy isn’t riddled with potholes that could cost you money further down the road.
We analysed 49 car insurance policies from 34 insurers and found that the breadth of coverage offered varies significantly, with many insurers’ standard policies providing no or low cover for certain types of claims.
You can find the best and worst car insurance policies here – or read on to find out about the rarest features of car insurance policies and how to find the best deal.
1. Driving other cars
The rarest feature offered by insurers is guaranteed driving other cars (DOC) cover.
This type of cover is useful if, in a pinch, you needed to quickly borrow a friend’s car. Almost all the policies we reviewed (46 out of 49) have a ‘driving other cars’ section, but with the sole exception of NFU Mutual’s car insurance, it isn’t automatically accessible to all policyholders.
Drivers of certain ages (usually under 25) are generally excluded from this form of cover, as well as those in certain occupations – and in more than a third of policies (37%), it only applies in emergencies. So before making that innocuous trip to the shops, check carefully that you have suitable cover on your policy schedule.
2. Personal belongings cover
Personal belongings cover, which helps you repair or replace loose items damaged in or stolen from your car, was also missing from many policies. Almost all policies contain some cover (ranging from £100-£2,000), but the catch is that not all belongings are included.
We found just two policies protecting cash and documents, and only three covering credit cards. Just over half (57%), meanwhile, exclude mobile phones. You may have better luck hedging your bets on personal possessions cover via your home insurer, or taking out specialist gadget insurance.
3. Misfuelling cover
Seven in 10 policies (69%) offer help in the event you fill your petrol tank with diesel, or vice versa Only one in five (20%) will assist with both draining the tank and repairing the engine, however. Most policies offer one or the other but not both.
4. Courtesy car cover
Almost all policies have some provision for this as standard, but only a fifth offer a temporary replacement vehicle if yours is stolen. Similarly, only a fifth of policies provide a courtesy car if your car is written off.
Fortunately, most insurers have options to upgrade replacement vehicle provision to make it more comprehensive.
5. Legal expenses cover
Legal expenses insurance covers costs such as taking legal action against a third party for negligence, pursuing them for costs, or defending accusations made against you. Legal expenses cover is a priority for many Which? members, but it could also prove to be toothless in certain scenarios.
Only a quarter of policies (12 out of 49) will pay for you to recover illegal clamping or towing fees, while just three in 10 (15 out of 49) will help you deal with legal costs related to your car’s licence plate being cloned.