Club 4X4 Classic

The Premium Question – price or cover?

Over the last few years we have been writing articles on a weekly basis covering a wide-range of topics on 4WDing and Insurance. During that time we have grown our audience significantly and hence, many of you may have missed out on the topics covered in weeks and months gone by. Please join us in revisiting some of our most popular and thought-provoking works – the Club 4X4 Classics.   

It’s no secret that the majority of us out there need to manage our finances – it’s an everyday chore in nearly every household. Whether it’s balancing the credit card, taking advantage of sales or shopping for the cheapest internet provider, the folding stuff doesn’t come easy, so it’s always nice to make it last. The end goal may be ensuring there’s enough in the kitty for the big trip up to the Cape next year, saving for that next big mod, or simply having enough for little Jimmy’s new cricket gear (they grow out of them quickly, don’t they!).

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely older couple in a 4X4 shop in South Australia. They had a really well kitted-out 76 Series cab chassis, fitted with a custom canopy manufactured by the guys at said shop. The days of working on the truck themselves were clearly behind them, so they entrusted the shop to modify and maintain it. In talking to them, their biggest concern was whether they’d ever be able to afford to replace the truck if they were to lose it to theft or total loss. Their current insurer had it covered at market value, with no consideration for the value of the modifications that had been slowly, but lovingly, added to personalise the ‘Cruiser for their long-range touring trips with the caravan in tow.

Now for this retired couple, my opening paragraph is all the more important: every coin counts and has an affect on the quality of their best years. But does having a purely cost-based approach to selecting an insurance product relieve the fear they have about replacing the truck? The answer is that it often doesn’t.

As 4X4 enthusiasts, we love our trucks – personalising and gearing them up for off-road travel, forever in search of that special destination that can only be reached by engaging low range. In essence, we are travellers. The truck is the vehicle that gets us to those destinations and our tents, campers or caravans are our shelter when we get there. So when it comes to covering the investment we’ve made in the vehicle that affords us these adventures, why do we worry more about the price of the cover than the cover itself?

Let’s think about this a bit. Say you’re taking your family on a three-week off-road travel odyssey into remote parts of the country and the time comes for the pre-trip service and inspection. Do you cut costs during this process? If you’re doing the work yourself, do you ignore that split CV boot or buy a slightly different viscosity oil to the manufacturer recommended because it’s 25% cheaper? Conversely, if someone is doing the work for you, do you take it to someone that’s never worked on your type of vehicle before because you’ll get a better deal? I’d like to think the majority who are reading this would answer with a unanimous no!

Here’s another example, probably the most common modification we all do is front protection in the form of a bullbar – would you find the cheapest one and go with that? Or would you consider the protection offered, the finish of the bar, whether to add rocks sliders and if it can house the type of winch and lighting set-up you’re after?

Insurance is often viewed as an impost; a forced expense that we can’t really go without but one that we begrudgingly pay because, “it’s never going to happen to me”. This idea is manifested when we start looking for the cheapest product, often without checking what we’re getting. Because what’s the worst that can happen, right?

Well in the case of our older couple from South Australia, they made the right choice. They now have their 76 insured for 60% more than what it was with their previous insurer. Not quite enough to buy a brand new vehicle, but a low mileage unit up to five years old. They now have Off Road Recovery Cover, true cover for their contents and can take their truck back to their preferred repairer; the shop that we met in. How much value do you put on covering your investment properly?

95% of the population can afford (no pun intended!) to go for the cheapest option, like a young person with a small commuter sedan for example. But for those of us who use our vehicle as our means to travel and create memories, it might be worthwhile understanding exactly what you are paying for when you get a quote.

The old adage is very true for us as 4X4 enthusiasts – you get what you pay for!

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