What are car insurance extras?
They are cover benefits that do not come as standard on your car insurance policy, but you can add for an extra cost.
All car insurance policies are different and some offer more benefits as standard than others.
If you are looking for a new car insurance policy, make sure you compare each policy to match the cover you want before you buy.
If you have an existing policy, check to see if you are missing any of the following features:
Cover for driving abroad
Courtesy car cover
Personal accident cover
Do you need extra cover?
Before you add any extras to your policy, ask yourself the following questions:
Do you think you will need it?
Does it cover what you need it to?
Can you afford the extra cost?
If you can answer yes to all three it is worth adding the extra cover to your policy, but you should also consider the following:
Do you have cover elsewhere (e.g. from a packaged bank account)?
Could you get a better deal by getting the cover separately?
What is legal cover?
It gives you financial protection against legal expenses after an accident that was not your fault, including uninsured losses like lost earnings or personal injury.
You can find out what is covered and when you can claim with legal cover in this guide.
How much does it cost? Legal cover can cost between £20 and £30 per year to add to your policy.
Should you add it? If you feel you need extra protection against uninsured losses then it is worth having, and it could save you a lot of money if you need to use it.
What is breakdown cover?
It means professional help will come to assist you if your car breaks down on the road.
Very few car insurance policies include breakdown cover as standard, so you can either add it as an extra or buy as a standalone policy.
Check that you do not already have cover through a credit card or packaged bank account.
Here is everything you need to know about breakdown cover, including how it works and the cover it gives you.
How much does it cost? A basic breakdown policy can cost around £20, but the most comprehensive cover can be more than £200 a year.
Should you add it? If your car is unreliable you might be more likely to need this cover. Do not immediately add the policy offered by your car insurer because you could find a better deal with a standalone policy. Compare these first before you add breakdown cover as an extra.
What is cover for driving abroad?
It will give you the same cover abroad as you have in the UK, for example; if you have a fully comprehensive policy when you drive at home you will get fully comprehensive cover when you drive abroad with this extra cover.
All car insurance policies offer third party only cover for driving abroad, but there are many restrictions so make sure you check your policy if you need to drive abroad.
Read this guide for an in depth look at insuring your car to drive overseas.
How much does it cost? Extended European cover usually costs around £20 to add to your policy.
Should you add it? Only add this cover if you know you will need it; so if you take your car abroad regularly this could be worth having.
What is courtesy car cover?
It will provide you with an alternative vehicle if your car is being repaired, or has been written off, following a claim.
There are usually conditions attached to getting a courtesy car, including:
You must use an approved garage for any repairs
The courtesy car may be subject to availability
You will not have a choice of vehicle; many will offer a small hatchback regardless of the car you drive
You may only get use of the car for a set period, often 14 or 21 days, so you may have to return the vehicle if the repairs take longer
Make sure you look for a courtesy car cover that offers you a guaranteed vehicle so you can get straight back on the road.
How much does it cost? Adding a courtesy car will add around £20 to your annual premium.
Should you add it? If you have access to a second car, for example if you are a named driver on your partner's vehicle you may not need a courtesy car. However, if you rely on your car everyday this cover could be very useful if your car is unavailable following an accident.
What is personal accident cover?
It will cover you or your partner if you suffer a serious injury while in your car. You can add extra protection to boost the level of cover you get too, for example:
A standard policy may offer £10,000 of personal accident cover
Adding extra protection might increase the cover to £100,000
Check the policy carefully for restrictions, including what injuries are covered as some will only cover:
Permanent loss of limb
Loss of sight
Other policies could cover you for burns and fractures, if you extend your level of cover.
Be careful as a lot of policies will not pay out if;
The accident was caused while the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Anyone in the vehicle was not wearing a seat belt
If the injuries were caused as a result of an attempted suicide
How much does it cost? Extending your personal accident cover will usually cost between £20 and £30, depending on the insurance company.
Should you add it? Think about whether the added cover is worth the cost. Your decision will be down to your personal preference and how risk averse you are.
What other extras can you add?
Protected no claims
You can pay extra to protect your no claims bonus, this will mean that you will not lose your no claims discount if you make a claim.
You usually have to wait until you have at least 3 years' no claims built up. Here is where you can find out if it is worth protecting you no claims bonus.
This covers the cost to repair chips or cracks in your windscreen. It is often included in fully comprehensive policies, but acts as a separate policy with a lower excess so you do not need to make a full claim to repair your windscreen.
Replacement key cover
Replacing lost or stolen keys can be expensive; as much as £200. This will cover the cost of replacements, and some policies also cover the transport or car hire costs associated with losing your keys.