Car insurance policies come in many different shapes and sizes. In fact, a feature that comes as standard on one may not be included in another.

While you may find a policy that does most of what you need, perhaps there’s an extra benefit you really want for added peace of mind or simply to fit your lifestyle. 

It could be that you keep losing your keys - in which case you might want to check whether your car insurance would cover a lost car key. If not, you might consider car key insurance as an add-on, for example.  

That’s just one of the different add-ons you might consider. Before you sign on the dotted line for any of these extras, consider whether you need each of them and read through your policy to see what you’re already covered for. 

You can find a few details on some of the most common car insurance add-ons below:

Legal protection 

Your car insurance policy may not cover all costs following a car accident that wasn’t your fault. Those costs may include any legal action you - or another person - take after the incident. 

You can cover these extra costs by adding legal expenses cover to your policy, which normally covers up to £100,000 of legal costs. That could include personal injury, travel expenses or the cost of a solicitor. 

Legal expenses cover varies from one provider to the other, but may include: 

  • Personal injury cover for you and your passengers following a road traffic accident that wasn't your fault.
  • The cost of a solicitor, legal advice and support settling the claim.
  • Costs such as medical treatment, overnight accommodation and travel costs due to the loss of your car in the event of an accident that wasn't your fault.
  • Vehicle cloning – if your car identity is stolen, you’ll be covered for costs to defend criminal or civil proceedings. 

Read the small print. If your insurer doesn’t expect the case to go in your favour, it may not accept the claim. The same goes for any claim reported more than 180 days after the incident. 

Breakdown cover 

With this type of cover, you can usually expect to get: 

  • 24/7 roadside assistance: typically including up to 60 minutes of roadside labour.
  • UK vehicle recovery: if the mechanic can’t fix your vehicle on the spot, then they’ll tow to the nearest garage or your home.

Some breakdown cover also includes: 

  • Onward transport: if your car can’t be fixed at the roadside, they’ll pay for the transportation of your vehicle and for you and your passengers to get home or wherever it was in the UK you were heading to. This usually involves car hire but may also include other modes of transport like rail.
  • Home assistance: also known as home start, this is breakdown cover if your car fails at your home address or within a set distance of it. Standard road assistance policies don’t normally include breakdowns at your home.
  • Roadside assistance in Europe: typically provides the same cover as UK breakdown cover, but across the continent. 

Bear in mind that breakdown cover won’t pay out for replacement parts, or a breakdown as a result of you not keeping your car in decent working order.

Replacement vehicle cover

Also known as courtesy car cover or hire cover, this add-on covers the cost of a hire car if your vehicle is stolen, vandalised, or is out of action or written off following an accident that wasn't your fault. 

The length of time you are entitled to the hire car varies, so always check the small print on your policy documents. 

Excess protection cover

The excess is the amount you will pay towards any claim that you make on your insurance. You can set your own excess level when taking out your policy.

With this type of extra cover, you can get a refund for your excess up to a certain amount, following a car insurance claim.

Depending on your insurer and the cover they offer, you could receive this refund if the third party is uninsured, has driven off and you haven't got their details, or if the accident was your fault. 

Key protection cover 

These days, car keys are often expensive devices containing smart technology. So, if you lose one or it gets stolen, replacing it can be expensive as well as time-consuming.

Replacement car key cover does what you’d expect: it allows you to claim back the cost of replacing your key. This usually applies if your key gets lost, stolen or broken in the lock.

Also, if you’re stranded because your vehicle keys have been lost or stolen, you may be able to claim for car hire, public transport or taxi fares, depending on the level of cover offered by your provider.

It’s worth noting that, typically, you won’t be covered for a key that’s stopped working due to wear and tear.

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