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Partial or comprehensive accidental damage insurance? Tips for choosing your best coverage

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You bought a new car! A new car is a happy event, but how do you decide which car insurance to buy? Regardless of whether you are switching out your car or buying a new one, you must have insurance. Partial or comprehensive accidental damage insurance? We can help you decide. 

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

Liability insurance is mandatory. If you don’t have liability insurance, then you won’t be able to register your car. Liability coverage pays for damage that you cause with your vehicle to others. Like if you rear end someone, for instance. 

Accidental damage insurance is voluntary. Accidental damage insurance pays for damage to your own car and is an add-on system. This means you decide between partial accidental damage insurance, which does not include collision, and comprehensive accidental damage insurance, which does include collision, and also which add-ons you want to include in your coverage. 

A brief overview of partial and comprehensive accidental damage coverage

Partial accidental damage insurance

Partial accidental damage covers damage to your vehicle that was not caused by you or by another driver with your vehicle. It covers damage from things such as bad weather, marten bites or unknown people or causes. The most important insurance coverages:

  • Theft, including car hacking and misappropriation
  • Glass breakage on windshield, side and rear windows
  • Natural events such as hail, fire or lightning strikes
  • Damage caused by animals and by martens and rodents
  • Malicious damage (e.g. deliberately broken off side-view mirrors) without scratches

Comprehensive accidental damage insurance

This coverage also pays for damage that you cause to your own vehicle. One example is if you scrape a post when you are parking in an underground garage. This is what comprehensive accidental damage insurance covers:

  • All events under partial accidental damage insurance
  • Collisions: Damage to your car due to a collision

Add-ons to enhance your comprehensive / partial accidental damage policy

You can tailor your insurance and add extra layers of protection by choosing from a wide variety of coverages such as parking damage, bonus protection or roadside assistance with onward travel. You will find more detailed information under car insurance.

Why take out accidental damage insurance?

Most of us drive without having an accident for many years. However, a lot of damage is caused through no fault of our own and, regardless of how careful and experienced we are, it cannot be prevented. And if you are involved in an accident at some point, the financial consequences are extremely unpleasant. Especially if you haven’t budgeted for these costs. 

A few examples of the most frequent accidental damage and average costs

  • Collisions: Scratch or dent to the car, collision with a house wall or street sign, etc. approx. CHF 3,500
  • Glass breakage approx. CHF 1,200
  • Hail damage approx. CHF 3,000
  • Damage to a parked vehicle approx. CHF 2,200
  • Marten damage approx. CHF 550

Every year, AXA pays out more than CHF 8 million due to marten damage!

AXA claim statistics

What do I need to keep in mind when choosing my coverage?

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

Even if you are extremely careful when you drive, damage can happen in the blink of an eye. In the winter there is black ice to contend with, and in the spring pollen on wet roads turns into a slippery film. 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 could be faced with a massive bill for damage. And with newer or more expensive cars, the costs can run even higher. 

How old is the car?

If you buy a brand new car or a floor model, you will most likely want comprehensive accidental damage insurance. With a leased vehicle, this is included automatically. But a second-hand car is a different situation. Depending on how old it is, partial accidental damage insurance may be all you need. And yes, the premium will be lower. 

What deductible should I choose?

There is no rule of thumb. But you can be sure that 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 have to pay out of your own pocket due to the deductible you've chosen doesn't put a strain on your finances. 

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

There is no definitive answer. In theory, it can make sense to convert after 4-7 years. But, in reality, the "right" time varies from one person to the next. Why? 

The older the car becomes, the less it is worth If it is leased, conversion is not possible. It's also important to compare the costs that would be assumed under comprehensive insurance or the payout in the case of a partial or total loss with the premiums paid. For second-hand cars in mint condition or cars that are expensive when new, this is a crucial point to consider. 

If you buy present value supplement coverage or the purchase price guarantee from AXA, you will be compensated much more than the current present value of the car and it will be worth keeping your comprehensive accidental damage coverage longer. The purchase price guarantee will pay you the purchase price of your vehicle for five years from the date that you purchase your car. This is why comprehensive accidental damage insurance is still a good idea even for older vehicles.

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

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