Car insurance policies

Man taking notes next to damaged vehicle

Find the best car insurance for your needs.

Our survey of 17 car insurers shows you can make substantial savings by switching providers. Some companies charge 2 to 3 times the premiums of others — that means you could be paying $1500 more each year than necessary.

Who should you choose as your provider? The answer depends on factors such as age, gender, location and driving experience. See our premium comparison and database of comprehensive policy cover to find the best provider for you.

Policy database

View all

Join us now for instant access

Join more than 100,000 members today and you’ll get:

  • Independent info
  • Thousands of test results and research you can trust
  • Everything in one easy place
  • Expert support a phone call away if things go wrong
Join Consumer Now Log in
15aug car insurance about promotion default

The basics explained

Learn about the different types of cover, what an excess is and the difference between agreed and market value.

Find out more

About our survey

We asked insurance providers to quote monthly premiums for 4 profiles: young person, middle-aged person, older person and family of 4.

  • Young person - age 23 and wants to insure a 2006 Toyota Corolla GL for $6000.
  • Middle-aged person - age 45 and wants to insure a 2012 Honda Civic for $18,500.
  • Older person - age 70 and wants to insure a 2010 Mazda Axela for $12,750.
  • Family of 4 - consists of dad (50), mum (50), son (19) and daughter (17). They own a 2012 Subaru Outback Premium worth $25,300.

The premiums listed are for comprehensive policies and include no-excess windscreen cover.

We’ve made these assumptions:

  • Our drivers are fully licensed – except for the son and daughter in our family of 4 (they hold restricted licences).
  • None of our drivers has been convicted of a driving offence.
  • None of our drivers has made a claim in the past 5 years.
  • The cars are fitted with alarms and usually parked in a residential driveway. They’re not modified or used for business purposes.
  • Apart from our young person and the teenagers in our family of 4, no one under 25 will drive the cars.

Some companies offered discounts if:

  • No unnamed drivers under 25 drove the car.
  • Only those named on the policy drove the car.
  • The drivers had been claim-free for a certain number of years.
  • The car had an alarm.

We accepted these discounts.

Premium comparison

GUIDE TO THE PREMIUMS OUR SURVEY took place between July and September 2017. TSB and Kiwibank provided their premiums in November 2017. The cover we asked for is outlined in “About our survey”. EXCESS is the standard excess for each age group. Excess rates for men and women are shown by M and W, and for adults and teenagers by A and T. MONTHLY PREMIUMS Apremiums include a Trade Me membership discount. Bpremiums based on an agreed value of $7695. Cpremiums based on an agreed value of $6020. AMP, ANZ, Protecta Insurance, Vero and Warehouse Money declined to provide premium information. Kiwibank is currently reviewing its pricing.

Ways to save

After some simple ways to save on your premiums?

Voluntary excess increase

Some providers will lower your premium if you take on a higher excess. If you do take a higher excess, don't make it higher than you could comfortably afford to pay if you had to make a claim.

No-claims discount

Most policies offer a no-claims discount on your premiums. This is “stepped” – the more years without a claim, the higher the discount – and you can reach a maximum discount of around 60 to 65% after 4 or 5 years of claims-free motoring. The discount can save you hundreds of dollars on your annual premiums.

Your no-claims discount won’t necessarily be affected if you have to make a claim. For instance, most providers won’t penalise you if you’re not responsible for a crash and you can supply the other driver’s registration and contact details. Claims for broken windows and lost keys aren’t always tied to the discount either.

Other discounts

Ask about any other discounts, such as:

  • Having other insurance policies with the company can save you up to 20%.
  • Having an alarm fitted.
  • Parking your car in a garage.
  • Restricting the policy to named drivers.
  • Being over a certain age.
  • Paying an annual premium by direct debit.

Bargaining

If you like your existing company but it's not cheap, try bargaining – ask if it will match another's quote before deciding whether to leave.

The gender question

It’s a common belief that insurers hit men with higher premiums than women. The European Court of Justice even ruled the insurance practice, if purely based on a person’s gender, violates the EU’s human rights charter. European insurers were forced to implement unisex pricing after the 2011 ruling.

New Zealand’s Human Rights Act allows car insurers to charge men and women different premiums if they’re based on statistical data. Among the companies we surveyed, we found a complex picture. Our 23-year-old male was asked to pay a higher comprehensive premium than his female counterpart by every insurer except FMG and MAS, which offer unisex pricing structures.

However, as they age, Kiwi men will find the scales tipping in their favour. At age 45, 6 of 15 insurers offer males a cheaper premium, and 5 unisex pricing. By age 70, only 3 insurers charged a male driver more than a female.

Which company has the most satisfied customers?

Along with price, customer satisfaction is a key factor in choosing a policy.

To gauge customer service, we asked our members to rate their car insurers.

We didn’t get enough responses from members with CO-OP Insurance, Crombie Lockwood, Fintel, Kiwibank, The Co-operative Bank, Trade Me or TSB to gauge satisfaction.

Insurance providers (responses)[width=50%]Overall satisfaction[bar;width=50%]
MAS (327) 90%
FMG (342)82%
Toyota Vehicle Insurance (109)77%
Other (204)72%
AA Insurance (1864) 65%
Aon (176)64%
Lumley (61)62%
AMP (145)61%
Vero (258)61%
BNZ (157)60%
NZI (252)58%
Westpac (152)57%
State Insurance (1561)56%
AMI Insurance (2186)54%
ASB Bank (201)54%
ANZ Bank (110)51%
Lantern Insurance (138)51%
Youi NZ (74)49%
Tower Insurance (500)47%
AVERAGE (8966)60%

GUIDE TO THE TABLE Our survey took place in July and August 2017. 8966 members participated. Insurance providers are those with 50 responses or more. Overall satisfaction shows the percentage who rated their insurer 8, 9 or 10 on a scale from 0 (dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied).

After an accident

  • Check the driver of the other car is OK.
  • Don’t admit liability for the accident.
  • Get the other driver’s details including his or her name, address, phone number, car registration and insurance company.
  • Write down the name and phone number of anyone else who witnessed the accident.
  • Note down other particulars about the crash such as the time, location and chain of events.
  • Take all reasonable steps to prevent further loss or damage to your car.
  • Hang on to damaged property in case your insurer wants to inspect it.
  • Notify the police as soon as possible (and within 24 hours) if someone was hurt in the accident and required medical attention.
  • Contact your insurer as soon as possible following the crash.

Be reasonable

Insurance policies for your house, contents, car or travel contain a clause that reads “you must always take reasonable care to avoid circumstances that could result in a claim” or words to that effect.

To decline a claim under a clause for reasonable care, your insurer must prove you were grossly careless, negligent or reckless. It can’t decline your claim for run-of-the-mill carelessness. The Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman (IFSO) said “this is because insurance, by its very nature, protects the insured against negligence and mere inadvertence”.

So how does an insurer prove gross negligence? According to IFSO, it looks at the circumstances leading up to your loss and asks “would a reasonable person have run the same risks?” If the answer is “no”, it can decline your claim.

In addition, the benchmark for “reasonable care” depends on circumstances such as where an item was left and for how long. There’s a difference between leaving your baggage unattended in the locked boot of your car for 10 minutes and leaving it on the passenger seat overnight.

With this in mind, you can challenge your insurer if your claim is declined for failing to take reasonable care. All insurers must belong to an independent dispute resolution scheme such as IFSO or Financial Services Complaints Limited. If you and your insurer can’t settle the dispute, you can refer it to the applicable service.

09apr car buying guide promo default

Our car buying guide

We explain the laws governing car sales, tell you how to deal with a dealer and how to decide if a car is worth buying. We’ve also covered reliable makes and included our most recent car reviews.

Read more

Money and travel promo default

More on Money & travel

Check out more of our reviews, articles, news and surveys in our Money & travel section.

Browse reports