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Partial or comprehensive accidental damage insurance? Tips to help you decide for your new car

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Spring at last – and start of the driving season. Anyone buying a (new) car today must buy new insurance. But which? Partial or comprehensive accidental damage insurance? We help you decide. 

This year's driving season will be launched as usual at the Geneva International Motor Show with the latest innovations on four wheels. Regional motor shows will then follow. 

At garages, however, you'll not only find new cars, but also demonstration models from last year and second-hand vehicles in mint condition. Which makes it the ideal time to change your car. But which insurance protection is the right one? You'll find the answers to the most important questions here.

What is the difference in coverage between partial and comprehensive accidental damage insurance?

It is generally known that only liability insurance is mandatory.  Accidental damage insurance is voluntary.

You already know the difference: 

  • If you're involved in a rear-end collision, for example, the liability insurance pays the damage caused by you or your car to the other parties.
  • Accidental damage insurance pays the damage to your own car and works as a modular system. In other words, certain modules are fixed, while others can be added or modified in their scope – for example, the deductible. 

Partial accidental damage insurance

Overview of the most important categories covered:

  • Theft
  • Malicious damage (e.g. deliberately broken off rear-view mirrors)
  • Damage by natural forces (e.g. hail), fire, snowslides, animals and martens
  • Glass breakage (all glass including headlights)
  • Transported belongings (e.g. sports bag)

Comprehensive accidental damage insurance

  • All events under partial accidental damage insurance
  • Damage to your car due to a collision
  • Parking damage can be included (supplementary insurance)

For detailed information about the scope of coverage, please refer to the corresponding product sheet and, of course, our premium calculator

 

Why take out accidental damage insurance?

Most of us drive accident-free for many years. However, a lot of damage is caused through no fault of our own and, regardless of our caution and experience, cannot be prevented.  And if the worst does come to the worst, the financial consequences aren't just disagreeable. Especially if the costs are not budgeted for. 

A few examples of possible accidental damage and average costs

  • Simple marten damage approx. CHF 400
    Consequential damage can quickly amount to several thousand francs
  • Hail damage approx. CHF 2,800
  • Scratch or dent on the car, collision with the house wall or street sign, etc. approx. CHF 3,500
  • Vehicle theft, corresponds to a total loss

Every year, AXA pays out more than CHF 7.5 million due to marten damage!

AXA claim statistics

What do I need to keep in mind when deciding?

Can I or do I want to pay the damage out of my own pocket?

Even if you drive ever so carefully, accidents can happen. In the winter on black ice or in the spring when pollen turns the rain into soft soap. And don't forget that you are not alone on the road and don't know how other road users will behave. If you don't have accidental damage insurance, you can be hit with high costs from an accident. And with newer/more expensive cars, it hurts twice as much. 

How old is the car?

If you buy a brand new car or a demonstration car, you will take out comprehensive accidental damage insurance without hesitation. With a leased vehicle, this is included automatically. The situation is different for a second-hand car. Depending on its age, partial accidental damage insurance may suffice, and the premium is, of course, cheaper. 

What deductible should I choose?

There is no rule of thumb. Sure, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. What matters is that the deductible and the premium fit into your budget and that any damage you yourself have to bear due to the level of the deductible isn't a strain on your finances. 

Converting your comprehensive accidental damage insurance to partial accidental damage insurance – is that possible and, if so, when?

This question cannot be answered conclusively. In theory, it can make sense to convert after 4-7 years. But, in reality, the "right" time needs to be clarified individually. Why? 

The older the car becomes, the more it loses value. If it is leased, conversion is not possible. What also matters is a comparison between the premium and the costs assumed / the payout under comprehensive insurance for a partial or total loss. For second-hand cars in mint condition or cars that are expensive when new, this is crucial. 

For example, AXA's accidental damage insurance pays out compensation that is higher than the actual value of your car until its 7th year in operation. – The actual value corresponds to the car's "present value," while the higher compensation is the "present value supplement."

So if you are thinking about converting, we recommend that you consult with your advisor to reach the optimum solution.

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