When you take out car insurance, your insurers may offer you some additional cover options that you can use to supplement your policy for an extra cost.
These add-ons cover a range of things, from breakdowns to lost or stolen keys to flood damage. But with so many extras available, it can be difficult to know which are worth having, and which could end up being a waste of money.
In this article, we go through some of the most common car insurance add-ons and extras, so that you can decide which ones are worth the money.
Which car insurance extras are available?
Before you look at car insurance extras you should make sure you know exactly what your policy covers already. Some extras may be included already, particularly if you have comprehensive cover. To learn about the three main levels of car insurance and what they offer, read our article What are the different types of car insurance?
Here are ten common extras offered by insurers that you might find helpful.
Breakdown cover generally covers the cost of carrying out roadside repairs or towing your car to a garage if need be. You can find out more about how it works and how policies can vary in our guide Winter breakdowns: is my car protected?
Some standard breakdown policies will not provide breakdown cover for cars of a certain age, for example, over 10 years old, so check the policy carefully. If your insurer doesn’t offer the option to include breakdown cover, or it makes your premiums too high, you might want to look at buying standalone cover from a specialist breakdown provider.
Personal accident cover
Personal accident cover provides compensation in the event that you are seriously injured in a car accident, and are unable to work either temporarily or permanently. This is sometimes (but not always) included in a comprehensive policy, so you should check carefully. You should also check what kinds of injuries are covered, whether passengers are covered as well, and if you are covered as a passenger when you’re travelling in other people’s cars.
You will only be able to make a claim on your personal accident cover if you don’t have an existing protection policy, such as income protection cover, which you can claim on.
No claims bonus protection
A no claims bonus, also known as a no claims discount, is a discount you can build up on your car insurance premiums the longer you go without making a claim. If you choose to pay for protection for your no claims bonus, this means you will be able to keep some or all of your discount even if you do end up having to make a claim.
A no claims discount can reach as high as 70% or even 80% after enough years, so it may be well worth paying to protect it.
Hire car cover
Hire car cover simply provides a temporary vehicle for you to use if your usual vehicle has been stolen, is being repaired, or has been written off. This car will tend to be around the same vehicle class as your usual one.
Bear in mind there may be a time limit on how long you can have your replacement car before you have to send it back, such as 21 days, so check your policy carefully.
Legal cover is designed to pay for your legal costs if you decide to make a claim for uninsured losses (that is, costs that your insurance doesn’t cover) against someone for an accident that wasn’t your fault, or if someone else has brought a claim against you.
Car excess insurance
The “excess” on your insurance is an initial amount that you have to pay in order to make a claim on your policy. Paying to insure your excess means that it will be reimbursed to you up to the amount specified in your policy, and may also allow you to voluntarily increase your excess, which can in turn decrease your insurance premiums.
Car key cover
Replacing car keys that you’ve lost can be really expensive, with the average cost of replacing a set of remote keys at £320. Car key cover means you won’t have to pay for a replacement if your keys are misplaced or stolen, and some policies even include car hire if your car is unusable between losing your keys and getting them replaced.
A comprehensive policy will normally cover repairs for damage to your windscreen, but if you have opted for a lower level – or if you have comprehensive, but don’t want to make a claim on your main policy and have to pay the full excess – then you could consider getting windscreen cover as an add-on.
All UK car insurance provides at least third party cover in the EU and other European countries. However, you may wish to take out a policy extra that upgrades your level of cover if you are going to be driving abroad and want the extra protection. This normally lasts for 30 days, but be sure to check.
Most comprehensive policies have some form of cover for the contents of your car if they are stolen. However, if yours does not, or if you have gone for a lower level of insurance but still want your contents insured, then you can usually purchase contents cover as an add-on.
Which car insurance add-ons do I need?
Ultimately, the question of which extras you’ll need comes down to your individual circumstances and which add-ons you think you might find most useful.
For example, if you only use your car to get around your local area you may have less use for breakdown cover, compared to if you regularly drive long distances. Or, if you never leave anything behind in your car then you may wish to forego contents insurance.
On the other hand, if you are forgetful or lose things frequently, then you might consider car key cover. Or, if you really rely on having a car and would be unable to get around without one, then you might want to consider hire car cover in case something happens to yours.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but before making any decisions on which add-ons to buy, check what you are already covered for, both by your main car insurance policy and by any other insurance policies you may have, so that you’re not duplicating cover.
Where can I get buy insurance?
If you need a new car insurance policy and don’t know where to start, you can compare quotes from over 110 providers using our car insurance comparison tool. Simply enter your details to start comparing.
Or, if you’re looking for ways to keep your car insurance cost down, check out our article 10 practical tips to reduce your car insurance premiums.