So you’ve bought a car and now you are wondering what you need to do first? Well before you even drive it out of the dealership you need to make sure that you have the vehicle insured. Whether it is third-party or comprehensive cover, it is critical that you are protected. When it comes to Car Insurance companies there are a myriad of choices, so how do you know which one is best? Most people will look only at price, but each company has different features and benefits to their offerings and you need to understand the total “value” of a portfolio.

The first bit of research that you can do is to check which insurers your local panel beaters and body shops use and recommend. This will give a great indication of their “vote of confidence” to the insurers and also if you ever are involved in a bumper bashing, it is nice to know that the claim and repair process will be smooth. Body shops will also be able to tell you which insurers approve genuine parts (OEM) or after-market products which will diminish the resale value of your car.

The next obvious method is to visit the websites of the insurance companies and go through the features and benefits. You may choose to insure your vehicle with an insurer who charges a slightly higher premium, but offers a “no-claim-bonus” in return. This could mean a cash back bonus for a long period of no claims, but check the terms and conditions before you agree with this as it can be risky, because if you do have to claim that benefit goes away and you are stuck with the high premium. Other add-on features include courtesy vehicles, drive-you-home services and roadside assist so make sure that you do not pay extra for features that you do not need or want.

Lastly if you are still confused, hire a broker to manage your portfolio. Brokers understand the market and can optimise your vehicle insurance package to meet your needs. A broker will charge a fee for their services, but they make the process of claiming for an accident or theft less painful. The last bit of advice is that even once you have chosen an insurer, you should not stop shopping around for better deals as your current insurer will usually match any cheaper car insurance quote to keep you as a client.