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What isn’t covered by your car insurance

Insurance 101

The best way to know what your car insurance covers is by understanding what it doesn’t cover.

There's nothing worse than claiming for something bad that happened to your car only to find out your car insurance doesn't cover it.

Car insurance usually protects your car against things that are unforeseen and unexpected, such as accidental damage, being written off, theft, hijacking or accidentally causing damage to another’s property. But there are some things that car insurance won’t cover. Here we’ve given you a breakdown of the most common exclusions.

What car insurance doesn't cover

General maintenance and wear and tear

Your car won’t remain new and sparkly forever. As soon as you start to use something, wear and tear naturally take place. Things like brake pads, windscreen wipers, and tyres begin to wear away. Because this is something that you can expect from using your car, car insurance generally doesn’t cover it.

Other examples of wear and tear that often need maintenance:

  • Exposure damage from things like sunlight and rain; and
  • Rust, corrosion, or decay of the bodywork or battery of your car.

Mechanical or electrical failure

Mechanical or electrical breakdowns usually aren’t covered by car insurance. These faults could include anything from faulty wiring, electric windows that stop winding up, to speedometer or petrol gauges that aren’t accurate. Mechanical or electrical faults can end up being just a minor inconvenience or a major problem that ends with your car in flames.

The reason mechanical or electrical faults aren’t covered is that these losses are not accidental in nature and are normally covered by a warranty or service plan. However, if an internal component is damaged during an event that is covered by your insurance (like a fender bender), that damage will form part of the claim and will be covered by the insurer.

Using your car for something different to what you disclosed to your insurer

If you plan on taking your car around a race track for a good time, you might not be covered if anything goes wrong. So before you line up on the starting line, check with your insurer if you’re covered or not.

You are also not insured for using your car for commercial purposes (such as frequently transporting people, goods or services as part of your job) unless you’re specifically insured for that use.

The risks that come with driving for commercial purposes are different (and in many instances greater) compared to when you use your car for personal use. You need to make sure you have a commercial car insurance policy to be covered for commercial use.

Other people driving your car

Some insurers have strict policies when it comes to other people driving your car. Most insurers have a couple of questions about other drivers that you will need to answer before they can get behind the wheel of your car. It’s best to check with your specific insurer as some are pretty strict when it comes to who’s driving your car and whether you need to disclose it.

Any damage caused while doing something illegal

When you buy car insurance, you enter into a legal contract with your insurer where you state that you won’t do anything illegal when driving your car.

Here are a few examples of illegal activity that’s not covered by most insurers:

  • Driving your car in an unroadworthy condition is not legal, and your car insurance would not cover any claims that could happen from doing so.
  • Damage caused while under the influence of substances such as alcohol or drugs.
  • Damage arising from speeding or reckless driving.
  • Damage due to overloading your vehicle with people or things.
  • If you are found to have been untruthful in providing information about yourself or your car when buying insurance, your claims might not be covered.
  • Losses arising while driving with an invalid driver’s licence (or without glasses when they are required).
  • If you’ve had an accident and you leave the scene of the accident unlawfully, the claim might be rejected.

Any add-ons that you didn’t disclose to your insurer

This refers to things that you have added onto your car, such as a sound system, bumper, spoiler, roof rack, etc.

Some insurers won’t cover modifications that increase the power output of your car, so just double-check!

Personal belongings that were damaged or stolen from your car

Car insurance generally only covers the car and the damage it can cause to other people’s property. Personal items – such as a purse, cellphone or laptop – that were in your car at the time of a theft or accident will not be covered.

If you still owe your bank money after your car has been written off or stolen

If you have bought your car through a bank, for the first several months it’s common that the amount you owe on your loan is more than the actual value of your car. If this is the case and you don’t have shortfall cover, your insurer will only cover the value of your car, not the value of the outstanding loan.

Although the things that your insurer doesn’t cover listed above are common among most car insurance policies, it’s best to check your car insurance policy wording and terms and conditions are – especially the list of exclusions – to make sure that you know exactly what you are and are not covered for.

Any consequential losses or damages

Any losses that are a result of an accident or theft are not covered. This can range from missing a flight to losing business because of an accident.

At Naked we aim to be transparent about everything we cover and don’t cover. Grab a hassle-free quote in 90 seconds to see if our cover suits your needs!

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