Why do you need car insurance?
Car insurance is compulsory in Singapore. According to the Land Transport Authority’s OneMotoring website, it is illegal to use a car without valid insurance coverage in Singapore. At minimum, your car insurance must cover third-party liability for deaths and bodily injury.
Apart from being a legal requirement, car insurance is also worth buying simply because cars are expensive here. It makes sense to get comprehensive insurance to protect you from accidental car repair costs.
What does car insurance cover?
When buying comprehensive car insurance, look out for the following coverage areas:
- Third Party Liability: Covers damages to accident victims and is the bare minimum coverage required by law.
- Fire & Theft: Covers damage or loss arising from fire or theft. By default, Comprehensive plans cover these scenarios.
- Workshop Repairs: Covers repair costs from accidental damage. You will need to pay a standard amount (known as “excess”) before the insurer tops up the rest. Check whether you can pick your own workshop or if you have to go to the insurer’s list of authorised repairers.
- Windscreen, Sunroof & Solar Film: These fragile parts of your car should be insured. The excess here is significantly lower than that of workshop repairs.
- Engine & Gearbox Warranty: Exclusive to Bubblegum, this optional add-on allows you to claim for car engine or transmission breakdowns, up to a limit of $5,000.
- Roadside Assistance: Some insurers offer roadside assistance services, including towing.
- Medical Expenses & Personal Accident: Car insurance can reimburse small medical bills resulting from a car accident or pay out in the event of disability or death.
Car insurance coverage limits to know
Having car insurance doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind when driving. There are some big no-nos that will render your car insurance coverage invalid!
Car insurance policies will NOT cover drivers without a license or anyone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ditto making illegal modifications to your car.
If you like to go on road trips, be aware that there are geographical limits. Check your car insurance policy wording for that. For example, Bubblegum car insurance covers Singapore, West Malaysia and part of Thailand.
Things you should know before buying car insurance
Most car insurance allows you to generate a quote by simply plugging your personal and car-related details. Have the following information handy for this quest:
- Vehicle details: The make, model, type and capacity of your car. You also need to know which year it was manufactured.
- Vehicle mileage: This indicates how used your car is. For Bubblegum, we just need you to specify if the current mileage is above or below 150,000 km.
- Warranty status: Your car’s warranty status will determine whether you’ll need to opt for an “any workshop” car insurance plan.
- NCD (No Claim Discount): If you have had car insurance previously and didn’t make any claims, you’d be eligible for a discount of up to 50% off your premium.
- Past claims or accident records: Declare the number of at-fault accidents you’ve been in, and the amount you’ve previously claimed, in the past 3 years.
While the auto-generated quote is useful for comparing premiums, the insurer has the final say as to how much to charge based on your particular profile, car and track record.
How to choose the right car insurance for you
How do you choose the most suitable car insurance plan for your needs? We’ve whittled it down to 4 key features.
1. Cost: Who doesn’t love affordable car insurance premiums? Bubblegum has gone the extra mile to offer extraordinary value at low prices.
2. Excess: This is how much you need to pay out-of-pocket before the insurer pays the rest of your workshop bill. In Bubblegum’s case, it’s $600. Choose an excess that you are comfortable with coughing up at short notice.
3. Choice of workshop: Some insurers restrict you to only a small list of authorised workshops. Don’t sell yourself short — go for an insurer that allows repairs at “any workshop”! If your car is still under warranty, you’ll need an “any workshop” plan so that you can go to your dealer’s workshop.
4. Coverage areas: Different drivers may want specific types of coverage. If you’re a newbie driver, consider an insurer known for roadside assistance. If you’re a careful driver, then you might like bonus coverage outside of accidents, such as Bubblegum’s Engine & Gearbox Warranty.
When should you renew your car insurance?
Car insurance plans are annual, and you should start thinking about renewal at around the 9-month mark (so, about 3 months before expiry).
It’s of course easiest to renew the same plan you’ve had all along, but some insurers raise prices for renewing customers. You could save some money by reviewing your current plan and checking out the competition around this time.
Remember that it’s an offence to drive without car insurance, and you can’t renew road tax if you’re not covered, so don’t leave it to the last minute!