Last updated 22nd March 2022
Comparing car insurance isn’t as easy as it should be. There are a dozen or so companies, many of whom own other brands, and a couple of policy variations at each company.
There is third party car insurance, third party fire and theft car insurance, and comprehensive car insurance. And this is before you even consider the likes of commercial car insurance for people like Uber drivers.
So use our handy guide below to help you compare car insurance in New Zealand. It is worth the time getting a few quotes, as prices car vary wildly.
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Getting a car insurance quote doesn’t actually take a long time online these days. You can easily get a quote from two or three companies in under 10 minutes, and when you’re talking about saving a few hundred dollars per year, that is 10 minutes well spent.
But with at least a dozen car insurance brands in New Zealand, you probably can’t be bothered getting a quote from all of them. For that reason, when you compare car insurance we suggest starting with no less than two brands, and maybe going for an extra one if you’re still unhappy with the quotes. This way, you’ll have a pretty good indication of what is or isn’t a good deal.
Important Note: Please review our transparency statement in the footer of every page on this website. No brands above are a recommendation from Compare.org.nz or an indication that a brand or product is the best in its category. We do not compare all car insurance brands available in New Zealand, so it is important for you to do thorough research and compare all options and find the right product for you, based on your own personal circumstances.
Third Party: Third party covers damage to the other persons property, but not your own. If you crashed in a chap called Jeff, then his car would be fixed by your insurance policy. It is then your job to go and get your own car fixed (and to pay for your own car to be fixed).
Third Party Fire & Theft: Third party fire & theft policies are similar to a basic third party policy, but they also cover the theft of your vehicle, or your vehicle catching on fire and being damaged. So if you’ are worried about your vehicle being stolen, then you should consider at least a Third Party Fire & Theft policy.
Comprehensive: Comprehensive car insurance is the most common type of car insurance in New Zealand. It covers both your vehicle, and the vehicle you crash into, in the event of a crash. It also covers you for theft and fire. Typically when comparing car insurance in nz, people will choose to compare comprehensive policies. However, if you don’t really want to cover your car (for example, if it is a $2,000 budget vehicle), then you may choose to compare third party insurance products instead. With these, your insurance will help cover the other vehicle, but won’t repair or replace your own vehicle.
When you compare car insurance it is important to not just consider price.
Like any purchase, the general rule is “you pay for what you get”. Luckily in New Zealand, most insurance products are generally in the same ballpark, and there is plenty of oversight and regulation on the industry, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to by a ‘dud’ policy when it comes to car insurance.
So here is the main things to look at when comparing car insurance:
Price: This is most important to Kiwis. You want to be getting good bang for buck, and not paying more than you need to be. Most insurance brands will offer discounts for annual payments, but not them all, so shop around and see what deals you can get. Comprehensive insurance will always be more expensive than third party insurance, so a quick and easy way to get cheaper car insurance is to get a third party only policy. But beware, if you are involved in a crash, third party only deals with the other vehicles damage, so you are left to repair your own vehicle. If you drive a $2,000 banger this might be ok, but if you’re in a $45,000 Audi then you will likely want to be protecting your own vehicle too with comprehensive insurance.
Cover: Think about what optional extras you need to add on to your policy. Do you want roadside assist? Is it extra, or is it included in the premium?
When it comes to actually comparing car insurance, the process is quite simple. You’ll need to know your vehicles number plate (or make and model), address where it will be parked, drivers driving history, estimated value, and what excess you want to pay.
Once you know this, load up two or three of the car insurance brands listed above and get online quotes from them all. Yes, it’ll take 3 or 4 minutes each, and if you’re impatient it will be tedious. But just do it, you’ll be saving yourself money and ensuring you get a good deal.
When you compare car insurance you’ll be asked the value of your car. It’s always best to be honest here and provide the insurer with the true value you believe your car is worth.
If you insure you’re vehicle for more than it is truly worth, you’re simply going to be paying more premium than you need too.
Alternatively, if you buy a $20,000 car and insure it for $12,000 to get a cheaper premium, you’ll be banging your head against the wall if you ever need to make a claim.
When it comes to dealing with car insurance companies, always be as honest as you can.
In general, car insurance can help protect you financially when you are in a car accident, have your car stolen, or your car catches fire.
To understand exactly what you are covered for, you’ll need to read the policy documents provided by your insurer, since every policy document is different.
Stuff.co.nz did a great article recently on the topic of what car insurance covers, which begins with the claim that “a third of New Zealand drivers don’t really know what their car insurance covers”. Yikes!
We recommend you compare car insurance prices at least once every year. It can be a good idea to check up on your car insurance everytime you get a WOF, or you have your car serviced.
This means both comparing car insurance quotes with multiple other brands, and checking in with your existing insurance brand to make sure all your details are still up to date.
Over a year many things can change that could affect the price you are paying for car insurance, or the validity of your insurance policy. There are a number of events that you should keep your insurance company informed about, such as a change to your address, adding modifications to your vehicle, allowing your children to start driving your car, receiving speeding tickets, or changing where it is parked.
There are three simple ways to get cheaper car insurance.
Firstly, compare car insurance regularly. We’ve found different brands can be up to $500 different for the same vehicle. Comparing car insurance each year only takes 10 minutes, and if you save some money that’s great. If not, at most you wasted 10 minutes…but you probably learnt a few things along the way or had the chance to check your car insurance details were up to date with your existing insurer.
Secondly, choose the right excess for you. A higher excess means a lower premium. Only you will know what excess you will be comfortable paying if you need to make a claim. If you’re confident you won’t need to make many claims, you might be happy paying a $1,000 excess. This means you’ll have cheaper monthly payments (or annual), but it also means you’ll need to cough up $1,000 should you need to make a claim. Can you afford that?
Thirdly, be wary about how much car insurance could cost before you decide to buy a car. You can get cheaper car insurance by buying what insurance brands would consider a ‘safe’ car. For example, in most cases a 2005 Mazda Demio will be cheaper to insure than a 2019 Mercedes-Benz G Wagon. This is because when calculating what it costs to insure a vehicle, the brands will typically consider the cost to repair those vehicles, and the performance of those vehicles.
We’ve already explained the three types of car insurance policies above. To backtrack, these were comprehensive car insurance, third party car insurance, and third party fire and theft car insurance.
Note that sometimes third party is simply referred to as TP, and third party fire and theft as TPFT. Bloody acronyms!
I can’t tell you exactly what type of car insurance policy you need, but I’ll let you about my own personal situation and this should help in your decision making.
I have two cars, one is a $3,000 Toyota. It’s 15 years old, and will probably be on the scrape heap in a few years. This car has third party car insurance on it. Why? Because if I crash into another car, whether that be a $5,000 Toyota, a $30,000 Honda, or a $60,000 Audi – I want to be sure that the other car is going to be fixed. I can’t afford to replace or repair someone else’s expensive car! So I want peace of mind that no matter what car I crash into, they will be taken care of. I’ll tell the tow truck driver to go dispose of my car.
BUT my other car, a $27,000 Mitsibishi ASX, has comprehensive car insurance on it. This is because if I was involved in a crash, I can’t afford to replace this car, and I definitely won’t be happy simple disposing of it. So I pay a little bit extra in insurance to upgrade my policy to be comprehensive, and my own car is protected too.
When you compare car insurance online there is often a small toggle to switch between third party insurance, and comprehensive insurance. So flick this on and off a few times and see what difference it makes to your premium payments. Sometimes it will be small, other times it will double or triple the premium.
No brand currently offers a basic “car insurance calculator”. This is because there are a number of variables in every car insurance quote, so you need to go through the process of inputting the details of your car, the driver’s details, and selecting some basic variables like your excess before a car insurance quote can be generated.
For this reason, a rough car insurance calculator doesn’t really exist. There is just too much involved in the calculation.
The good news is that getting a car insurance quote from any of the leading brands above will only take a few minutes. So instead of trying to find a rough estimate, how about go and get an actual quote?
Each car insurance brand in NZ will have a different pricing formula, but most of them will take into account the same things. These could be some or all of the following: car make, car value, drivers licence held, claims history, owners address, gender, whether finance is owned, additional drivers, driving convictions, and more.
Most cars that are seen as “safe and reliable” will have cheap insurance premiums.
A prime example might be a 8 year old Toyota Corolla. It’s not overly sporty, they aren’t expensive to repair, and parts are cheap and readily available.
Any car that is modified, rare, or technologically advanced will have more expensive insurance.
Modified cards are often driven by younger drivers having a hoon, so are more likely to be crashed. They can also be more appealing to steal.
Rare cars, such as a Lotus or Maserati, cost more to repiar and in general are more expensive to own.
And technologically advanced cars also cost more to repiar, since it’s obvious that a car with sensors dotted around the bumpers or in the windscreen will cost more to replace.
Not always. Some brads make it cheaper to pay annually since they like all the money up front, and the customer is likely to stay for a full 12 months, but other brands like Cove make annual and monthly prices the same to provide flexibility for the customer.
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