What optional extras are available for car insurance?
Adding extra cover options to your car insurance policy can help tailor your insurance to suit your needs.
When purchasing car insurance, there’s usually a range of optional extras available to add to your policy.
In many cases, the add-ons available will depend on what kind of standard policy you’re purchasing - third-party, third-party, fire and theft, or comprehensive.
If you’re unsure of what optional add-ons are available, here we dive into detail on what each one is and what benefits they may bring.
This is the eighth and final guide in our car insurance series, which aims to equip you with the knowledge and information to find the best value car insurance on bonkers.ie. You can find the rest of the guides in this series linked at the end of this article.
1. Personal accident cover
This provides an additional fixed benefit amount in the event that you or your partner/spouse suffer a severe bodily injury or death as a result of an accident whilst travelling in your car.
If you choose this additional cover and decide to make a claim, you’ll be paid the benefits displayed on your policy schedule within a certain time frame, e.g. three months, of the injury being sustained.
Loss of eyesight and loss of limbs are typically covered, but it’s best to check your policy documents to see what injuries are covered.
There will be a limit to the amount you can claim, which will be displayed on your policy schedule.
2. Extended personal protection
Some insurers will allow you to extend the level of cover available to provide increased lump sum payments should you or your spouse/partner sustain an injury.
This may also include greater sum insured limits for personal items in your car.
3. Roadside breakdown assistance
It’s reassuring to know that you’ll easily be able to receive help if you have a roadside emergency or if your car breaks down. Roadside breakdown assistance provides you with emergency assistance should your car suffer a mechanical or electrical breakdown, or if it is damaged as a result of an accident, fire or theft.
Roadside breakdown assistance is often included in fully comprehensive policies, but for cheaper policies, it can be added for a small fee.
Usually, to avail of roadside breakdown assistance, your vehicle needs to be immobilised more than 2km from your home address.
If the roadside assistance doesn’t prove successful, the insurer will bring your vehicle to the nearest garage capable of repairing the problem, or to a garage of your choice.
Some policies will cover things like tyre replacements, emergency transport, overnight accommodation costs and replacement car hire costs, while others will only cover the bare minimum. It’s best to check with the insurer to determine what exactly is covered.
4. Home start assistance
Also known as driveway assistance, this is an extension to the standard roadside assistance.
What’s covered under home start assistance will vary from lender to lender, but usually, it covers the mechanical or electrical breakdown of your car while at home or near your home. It may also include fire, malicious damage, lost keys, punctures or a flat battery.
Home start assistance can also be included as part of standard breakdown assistance cover, but they often are separate.
5. Windscreen protection
This covers the cost of replacing or repairing the front windscreen, back windows and side windows of your car.
It’s important to note that some insurers don’t include sunroofs, glass roofs or panoramic sunroofs under windscreen protection. If you have any of these in your car, check with your insurer about whether or not they’re covered under your policy.
There’s a maximum amount that insurers are willing to pay for windscreen replacement or repair in respect of any one claim for accidental damage to windows.
The good news is that usually your no claims bonus won’t be affected if you make a windscreen claim. However, windscreen replacements must be carried out by an approved repairer
6. Legal expenses protection
Adding legal cover will allow you to gain access to legal advice and will provide financial protection against legal expenses.
Legal expenses protection can cover the costs associated with defending a motoring conviction and can recoup any costs you might incur following a motor accident. These are often known as uninsured losses.
This benefit may also cover disputes involving the purchase or sale of your vehicle.
It’s important that you check policy documents from your insurer to see what exactly will be covered and what’s included under legal expenses.
7. Driving other cars
Adding this to your policy will enable you to drive someone else’s car occasionally or in emergency situations if you’re not a named driver on their policy.
Depending on the insurer, this extra may only cover third-party, fire and theft, but sometimes there is an option to upgrade this to comprehensive cover.
This isn’t intended to cover regular use of another car and if this is found to be the case, there may be implications that could affect you in the event of a claim.
8. Full NCD protection
By adding this to your policy, the no claims discount you’ve built up on a yearly basis will be preserved in the event you make a claim.
There may be limitations or exceptions to this protection, so we’d advise you to check with the insurer before adding this to make sure it’s worthwhile. It is possible that your insurer will only cover your no claims up to a certain amount or for a set number of claims each year. If you exceed this amount then you may lose your no claims discount.
Some insurers will only make this available to drivers who have had a no claims discount for a certain period of time, e.g. five years.
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Other guides in our car insurance series
Before taking out your car insurance policy, don’t forget to check out the other guides in our car insurance series:
- This guide will give you a brief outline of the different guides in our series and the information they contain.
- Take a look at our guide on how to use our car insurance service for a step-by-step outline of how our service works.
- If you change your mind about taking out your car insurance policy, you can learn how you can cancel your policy here.
- Review the most commonly asked questions related to car insurance in our 2-part mini-series. You can take a look at our Part 1 guide here and our Part 2 guide.
- Here we break down and simply define 21 common car insurance-related terms.
- Before taking out your car insurance, we’d recommend taking a look at these important factors to consider.