The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

Are car insurance extras worth it?

When you buy car insurance, you’ll usually be offered an array of extras, but do you need them, and are they really worth it? We look at popular car insurance extras to find out.

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What are car insurance extras?

Car insurance extras are anything not included in your policy. This will naturally vary depending on the level of cover you’ve chosen and the insurer. For example, some comprehensive policies include windscreen cover as part of a standard package, whereas others won’t. For this reason alone, it’s important to shop around and compare policies at the outset to ensure you’re getting the most for your money.

That said, even the most robust comprehensive policies won’t include the full range of protection features available.

Some of the most popular (or valuable) extras you might want to consider, include:

Legal expenses cover

This covers your legal costs if you need to pursue a claim or defend yourself in court. This feature also allows you to claim for uninsured losses after an accident that isn’t your fault.

Uninsured losses essentially includes everything not otherwise covered by your policy, for example:

  • Taxi costs if your car needs to be repaired.
  • Call costs to your insurer.
  • Lost earnings because you cannot work after an accident.
  • Medical expenses for you or any passengers travelling with you at the time of the accident.
  • Car repair costs if you don’t have comprehensive insurance.

It’s worth knowing that if you make a claim for legal expenses, insurers will generally only approve claims that stand a good chance of winning in court. Just because legal expenses is part of your policy, doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to make a claim.

The amount you can claim also varies between insurers, typically ranging between £50,000 and £100,000.

Adding legal expenses to your policy will set you back around £30.

Breakdown cover

This feature ensures you’ll get help if your car breaks down on the road. However, there are different levels of breakdown cover, so be clear about what you’re buying; options include:

  • Roadside assistance – this is the lowest level of cover offered, it means a mechanic will be sent to your location and try to fix your car. If it can’t be repaired there and then, it’ll be towed to the nearest garage. This feature usually only applies if you’re more than a certain distance from home.
  • Home start – this complements roadside assistance and will mean someone comes to your home if your car won’t start at all. Again, this only applies if you’re at home or very close to home (usually quarter or half a mile).
  • National recovery – this includes roadside assistance but if your car can’t be fixed at the time, it will be towed to a garage of your choice.
  • Onward travel – if car repairs are likely to take some time, this will cover your expenses to get to your destination, hire a car or stay somewhere overnight. Policies will cover passengers, but you may need to specify a number when you add this feature.
  • European cover – provides help if you break down while travelling in Europe. Insurers often limit the policy so it’s only valid for a maximum of 90 days in any one year.

Breakdown cover costs vary considerably depending on the level of cover you choose. Basic policies can be as little as £20 but some can exceed £100.

Personal accident cover

Personal accident insurance pays out if you’re seriously injured or die as a result of a car accident. Insurers definition of serious also varies but typically means loss of limb or sight. Some providers will include severe burns and fractures, but you’ll need to check the policy terms to be sure.

The compensation you or your loved ones get, will depend on how serious your injuries are – this should also be specified within your policy documents.

Personal accident claims are highly unlikely to pay out if you:

  • Were driving without a seatbelt.
  • Were under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Do not have a valid driving licence.
  • Were taking part in activities you weren’t insured for (such as driving competitions, races or rallies).
  • Your injuries are because of attempted suicide (policies won’t pay out for death by suicide either).

If you decide to add personal accident cover to your policy, expect to spend around £20 to £30.

Courtesy car cover

If your car needs to be repaired after an accident, your insurer will arrange a courtesy car for you. In most cases, your car will need to be sent to a garage approved by your insurer for you to claim a courtesy car.

Courtesy cars aren’t always a like for like replacement so if you normally drive a 4x4, don’t be surprised if you’re given a small hatchback instead.

Your insurer may have other conditions. For example, the courtesy car might only be available for a limited amount of time and will be subject to availability.

Courtesy car cover costs around £20 to £30.

What other extras can I add to my car insurance policy?

Other extras to consider adding to your car insurance, include:

  • Windscreen cover – this covers the cost of replacing your windscreen if it’s chipped, damaged or needs replacing completely.
  • European travel cover – insures you to drive in Europe but remember to check your policy covers the specific country you’re visiting.
  • Misfuelling cover – covers the cost of removing the wrong fuel and cleaning the fuel tank.
  • Protected no claims – fixes your discount so you won’t lose any if you make a claim.
  • Replacement key cover – pays to have a replacement key made for you.
  • Personal possessions cover – compensates you if your personal belongings (bags, glasses, phone or laptop) are stolen or damaged. Policies usually limit how much you can claim so check it’s enough to pay for the most expensive item you travel with.

Which car insurance extras are worth buying?

In theory, most car insurance extras sound useful, but adding them all on would simply lead to a significant increase in your premium.

Instead, weigh up:

Value versus cost

Consider which features have the potential to give you the most value compared to their cost. For example, legal fees can spiral into the thousands of pounds but for a relatively small sum (around £30) legal expenses insurance can cover your court costs if you need to make a claim.

Similarly, replacing a damaged windscreen can be very expensive depending on the car you have. Some car windscreens cost in excess of £1,000, particularly if they’re heated or have rain sensors. So, if your windscreen has any sort of technology embedded within it, windscreen cover may be worth considering.

Nice to haves versus need

Some features are nice to have but not really essential, for example European cover might be nice if you think you might take a driving holiday through Europe. However, if you don’t have any actual plans to go, it’s probably not worth taking out this option right away. Should you decide to travel later on, you can always call your insurer and discuss your options.

Whether you have cover elsewhere

You may already have some car insurance extras without even realising. For instance, breakdown cover is often an added perk in packaged bank accounts, and your home insurance may also include personal possessions cover.

Additionally, life insurance sometimes includes personal injury so double check your policy wording.

If you do find you have provision elsewhere, it’s worth making sure you’re happy with the terms of that cover. For example, if you have personal possessions cover with your home insurance, check it’s enough to cover the cost of items you carry around every day.

Do I need car insurance extras?

If you have comprehensive car insurance, you may find a number of extras are included as standard, for instance, windscreen cover or replacement key cover.

That said, what’s included in a policy is up to the insurer so if you’ve switched from one insurer to another, don’t assume that their comprehensive policies will cover the same events.

Whether or not you need any car insurance extras really comes down to personal choice. So, for instance, if you’re particularly forgetful, misfuelling or key cover may be options to seriously consider.

Plus, if you’ve just started to build up your no claims bonus, it could also be wise to protect it. Losing even just a couple of years’ worth could lead to a big increase in your premium at renewal.

If you’re working to a tight budget, the most important aspect to remember is that your car insurance policy should strike the balance between giving you value and peace of mind. You can do this by considering which features are likely to give you the most return, such as legal expenses and personal accident.

For more information about how to get the best value car insurance for your needs, take a look at these in-depth guides:


The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

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