Are you flushing money down the loo?
It’s pretty amazing in this country that there aren’t more insurers who will actually cover you off-road without hitting your hip pocket harder than the smell in a long-drop. Yet there are a bunch of them who do exactly that.
Stay on the blacktop you’re fine; but as soon as you’re on the dirt and the hubs are locked they don’t want to know you. Sad but true.
Still, there are companies who are happy to insure you just about anywhere you’re legally allowed to be, as well as factoring your mods into your policy too… and these are the guys you want to be putting your money with.
Before you just tick the auto-renew box on that last email you got from your current insurer, make sure you take these seven steps to ensure you’re not paying for a lack of coverage when you’re halfway up the Gibb River Road and that roo finally decides to do the dash in front of you.
- ARE YOU ALLOWED TO GET DIRTY?
Check with your insurer about the coverage you get off-road. Does it embrace both ‘in the bush’ and on-road driving? What about if you go cross-country? They may not seem like big deals when you sign on the dotted line – but it’s well worth your time to check exactly when your coverage stops.
- A 4X4 IS MORE THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS
Buying a 4WD is only the first step. Once you throw some barwork, a long-range tank, a bit of lift, some tyres, a couple of ‘power up’ mods and maybe a set of drawers at it, you’ve probably spent the best part of $20K on it; and that’s on top of the initial purchase price. The key here is to look at the total sum your vehicle is insured for. If it only covers the initial purchase price of the vehicle and doesn’t factor in that extra $20K of gear, then you’re not really fully covered.
- THE INSIDE STORY
That same applies to the contents of your vehicle – the stuff you carry around day-to-day or when out on a trip. Most insurers will cover accidental damage up to $500, but will only pay out if items are actually damaged in an actual accident. Hardly comforting when some lowlife just stole your $1,800 fridge and $700 GPS when you weren’t looking. Do yourself a favour and look for an insurer who will cover you for accidental loss, theft and damage for amounts that actually reflect your vehicle’s contents value.
- YOUR 4X4, YOUR CHOICE
I can’t tell you how many stories we’ve heard over the years about people who have had their vehicle repaired at Dodgy Dave’s Discount Repairs due to their insurer wanting to save a few bucks. Seek out a policy that will give you your choice of repairer – most of us would prefer to take it to someone we know and trust rather than let Old Dave go to town on it with the angle grinder.
- SO YOU’RE UP THAT CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE…
It’s a nightmare scenario: Something going seriously pear-shaped with your vehicle when you’re in the middle of nowhere. But it does happen. Our mate Barnsey at the Birdsville Roadhouse reckons an average recovery from the Simpson costs $4K and there aren’t too many ‘roadside assist’ mobs who will go out and cover it. But there are options out there; and I’d suggest you find a product that will reimburse recovery costs if remote touring is on the menu.
- FUEL FOR THOUGHT
As four-wheel drivers we’re probably more likely to inadvertently cop a bad batch of fuel (even though remote servos are pretty good these days). Given that it could potentially cost around the $20K mark to replace your engine, don’t you think it makes sense to have it covered on your policy? Yep, we do too.
- DEVIL’S IN THE DETAIL
Most of the time we ignore our renewal notices because we pay monthly, but that’s exactly what insurers want you to do. It pays to shop around and get the right cover. And while it is more common sense than a proper tip, make sure you keep your details with your insurer updated. Have you had a couple of speeding fines since your last renewal; or claims? Has Little Johnny got his Ps and started terrorising Maccas carparks in your rig? Let your insurer know so you don’t get caught out when you need to make a claim.
We did a little investigation into the market to identify how a few insurers compare with the above – because we’re top blokes like that:
|Off-road cover||Yes||Yes (conditional)||Yes||Yes|
|Sum insured||Agreed or market||Agreed or market||Agreed or market + modification value||Agreed or market|
|Choice of repairer||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Off-road recovery cover||No||No||Yes||No|