It may be expensive and complicated, but comprehensive car insurance is a life-saver when things go wrong on the road. Having a good insurance policy slashes out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident, manufacturing fault or recall, giving you peace of mind knowing it won’t break the bank to get back on the road again. The catch-22 is that any insurance policy comes with a long list of exclusions – situations or circumstances in which your insurer will not cover the cost of repair or replacement. It’s important to be aware of them to ensure you’re not hit with a rejected claim later.
While most car insurance exclusions are just common sense, some will definitely surprise you. Here are some of the unexpected ways you can void your car insurance.
Wearing down your tyres too much
Damaged tyres are one of the most common car insurance exclusions in Australia. Under the Motor Vehicles Standards Act 1989, the minimum legal tyre tread depth in Australia is 1.5mm, so it’s crucial that you replace your tyres before they wear down to this point. The best way to do that? Don’t miss a service date – your mechanic will pick up on it and ensure you drive away with safe and compliant tyres.
Most insurance policies also exclude any tyre damage caused by baking, general wear and tear and punctures or bursts.
Before you make Uber driving your side hustle or ‘rent’ your car to an interstate friend for a few months, make sure you have the right insurance policy. All comprehensive car insurance providers reject claims on accidents and damage that occur while the car is being used for hire or fares.
Filling up the seats or overloading
Every vehicle has a maximum permissible weight it can carry. This is called the gross vehicle mass (GVM). You might assume that the GVM would align with the number of seats in the car – i.e. that a five-seat sedan’s GVM would be equal to or more than the weight of five average-sized adults. In fact, this is not the case for many makes and models, including some of Australia’s favourites.
One of Australia’s best selling small cars – The Toyota Corolla – is one of them. If five adult men piled in for a drive, their weight would exceed the GVM and the factory warranty would be voided. Worse still, if an accident happens while the car is overloaded, any insurance claim would be rejected.
Check your GVM and stay under it to ensure you maintain your car’s warranty.
Modifications made without insurer’s knowledge
Terms and exclusions differ between insurers, but it is always best to notify your insurer and gain their approval before making any modifications to your car. Modifications can effectively make the car a different one to the one initially covered by your insurance policy, so any claims submitted after the date of modification would be rejected.
Alterations to the engine, wheels, and standard body that impact your car’s performance, safety levels or value may all factor into your insurer’s decision about whether to cover you or not. So, keep them in the loop and get a green light on modifications to ensure your insurance policy remains valid.
Remember, putting an insurance policy in place is only half of the job – the rest is getting your money’s worth. Make sure your insurance claims will be successful and your warranty remains valid by following the manufacturer’s warranty guidelines and playing by your insurer’s rules. Sticking to your servicing schedule is a great place to start – and we’re ready to help. Drop in to your local Express Lube for a service – no bookings required!