Camry’s or 100 series? – Which does your insurer know more about?

The Australian insurance industry is an interesting one (stay with me!). It’s long been characterised by the big players, the general insurers who have been there for as long as we can remember. The ones that our parents and their parents stayed with out of loyalty (and rightly so) and carefully amassed their no claim bonuses and long term discounts while covering all of their worldly belongings in case something were to go wrong.

The beauty of Australian consumerism is that we tend to listen to our friends, family and colleagues. I can recall when I purchased my first car my father took me to the local insurer’s office (can you believe that!) to get a quote and insure my new (well it wasn’t new let me tell you) asset.

I stayed with that insurer until they didn’t want to insure me anymore – something about past driving infringements and claims, along with a liberal mention of the modifications that now found pride of place inside, outside and under my vehicle. I still remember trying to convince the lovely lady on the counter that my wheels were actually only 8 inches wide not the 10 that they had quoted when they measured what was the bag of the tyre rather than the rim, but I digress…

Over the years, the insurance industry has split into factions; general insurers, niche insurers and what I like to call emergent insurers. Niche insurers, as the name suggests, make it a point to target a very specific type of demographic, vehicle or hobby and put together the best product for the needs of their target market. We have seen and some of us may have experienced the services of companies that specialise in recreational boating, collectable vehicles, high risk high performance vehicles and even motorcycles or specific age groups.

Emergent insurers on the other hand are focused on a customer type rather than vehicle or conveyance; there’s been an increase of companies that offer products for the price conscious consumer by offering very low premiums for a different/reduced level of service or coverage.

Both of these types of insurers have seen great growth over the years and have serviced a customer need. All the while, the general insurers have continued their expansion through diversification of products and a growing population.

So why would you even consider splitting one or more of your insurance products from the “package deal” you get from your general insurer? Well, for one, a tailored product is just that; tailored to your needs. Every day we speak to customers who thank us for offering things like:

  • A clear position on where you’re covered,
  • A sum insured that adds your modification and accessory value to the value of your vehicle,
  • Generous portable valuables cover,
  • Off-Road Recovery cover (even though most people still can’t believe it),
  • A Caravan & Camper Trailer product that covers you off road, has laid up cover and a tremendous towing benefit.

A general insurer won’t be as specific on these items because the focus isn’t there. For them it’s a volume game both from a policy sales position, right through to dealing with claims. These are not criticisms, the products are set to appeal to as wide a proportion of the market as possible and they serve their purpose very well.

A niche insurer is there to service a part of the market. In Club 4X4’s case, it’s the Off-Road Touring Enthusiast. Everything from wording on documents, through to product design, claims processes and marketing are all developed and thought of for enthusiasts, by enthusiasts.

Where our internal thinking has been less than ideal, we’ve had excellent feedback from the market be it on social media, forums or various events and club meetings we attend.

Yes, at times it may cost you a bit more of the folding stuff, but ponder this question: When you’ve put your truck on its side and done some damage to your scrub bars how would you explain that to a claims department in a general insurer? Or worse yet, if you’ve damaged your rig and need recovery in the Victorian High Country, how would you help them understand where you are?

Do you really want to risk finding out?

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Comments 16

    1. Post

      Hi Peter,

      I have asked for you to be manually unsubscribed ASAP.

      A note to anyone else reading this, under law anyone who sends you and email must provide you with an “unsubscribe function”, which can be found at the bottom of our emails. Clicking through there will allow you to manage your email preferences.



    1. Post


      The listing is provided by an external provider call Red Book. We use their database and information for our quotes. We will be providing the feedback to them.

      We are always happy to talk to a customer where the vehicle isn’t listed and do this often for grey imports such as Surfs and F-trucks.



  1. Redbook undervalues vehicles and especially isn’t good for 4wds. According to my bank the car I was trying to get a loan for was only worth $20000 – $22000 and not $39000 as listed on car sales by the seller. Even though this model of vehicle, with the accessories fitted could not be found for sale under $35k anywhere online she assured me redbook was a good indicator as to a vehicles value and they didn’t approve the loan. I told her the best indicator was how much people are buying and selling them for but she didn’t care.
    Not only did I manage to buy said vehicle for $38000, I sold it 2 years later for $38000 with another 40000kms on the clock.
    Who ever talks to me about redbook has lost my attention. It has possibly changed in the last 5 years but I doubt it

    1. Post

      G’day Kaz,

      Yep – the general market including financiers, general insurers and 99% of the general public will look at any modified vehicle be it a classic, muscle car or 4X4 and have no idea how to value it. In the absence of any expert knowledge they will fall back on available information sources, one of which is Red Book. As you’ve indicated, Redbook doesn’t consider the value of modifications and accessories and will often not reflect an accurate market value for highly sought after vehicles also (i’m thinking about TD42 GU’s and 80 Series Cruisers).

      The reality is, the 38k vehicle you bought would’ve been worth a whole lot more to replace. As we all know, when we invest “X” into a vehicle we get “x-60%” when we come to sell.

      One of the key reasons why Club 4X4 differs as an insurer is because we give (what we feel is) a very fair valuation of the vehicle including the modifications.

    2. being from the insurance industry we always used Glass’s guide as we found that it was more comprehensive and accurate

  2. Just going to drop in here and leave my 2 cents . Most insurance companies use glasses guied and they have a tendency to be a lot less than redbook , as an example a HZJ79 valued on rebook for $19500-22500 on glasses guied same care $14500-17200 best case scenario with a major player
    (general insurer ) for an agreed value is around $20200 . My point is my current insurer aka club 4*4 have insured me for what they and I concider to be fair value for my rig in the event something goes pair shaped . Redbook glasses its all the same what these guys are saying and putting into practise is they are a guide to reference not a true valuation. Being a specialising insurer they work on a rig by rig basses with the help of the guied.

    Now head over to Suncorp nrma or racv and see if they’ll give any where near the same valuation .

    Side note
    Keep up the good work and don’t unsubscribe me I enjoy reading the articles .

    1. Post
  3. This article says that a caravan is covered off road, yet your PDF states that you are not covered if your caravan was being used off road where it was not designed to be used in such away. Your definition of off road is, four wheel driving, trail driving, sand dune driving or some other driving activity of a similar nature that is conducted away from a public and prepared road. Your PDF shows a camper trailer at the foot of a sand dune and a caravan besides a river. Are these vehicles covered? Are some of these definitions conflicting? Interesting I was told (by CLUB 4X4) that they had to raise there premiums because they had lots of claims on vans and trailers that where in the wrong place. Why ?
    I am just looking for clarification as I am about to renew my Prado Ins. and have just signed with CLUB 4X4 for my van

    1. Post

      Thanks Ross, and it is refreshing to see someone actually reading the PDS!

      The clause in the PDS is ensuring someone doesn’t take an On Road van does the Canning. Common sense stuff really – it’s about making sure the vehicle is fit for purpose.

      If you drove an on road van onto some grass in a caravan park that’s not the same. I’m pretty certain the photos that we have used are trailer that are fit for the purpose they’re being sued for in the photos.

      You are correct Ross that we have experienced a higher claim rate than expected for trailers – but this is not due to them being in the wrong place at all. Most claims we get are on the road – its just the number and severity of them which necessitate increases across the board at times.

      Hope that helps


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  4. Hi Kalen,
    since you mention 100 series I have a question about costs. Last year I checked prices to insure my 1999 105R and Club 4×4 was only a couple of hundred dollar more but as I wasn’t using it a lot I stayed with my old insurer. When I checked this year you were almost twice the price ~$1300! Save or lower value then last year.
    I also have a 2016 200 series so I thought I would do a price check as it’s due in a couple of months.
    I currently pay sub $1000. Your price was ~$2300!

    This is a huge price difference that I for one can’t justify. Would appreciate some reasoning.

    1. Post

      Hi Ron,

      Thanks for the question. There could be any number of reasons why the premium difference you’ve noted would exist. Has anything changed in the quotes? Something as simple as a claim, age of driver or driving infringement can trigger price variations. I’m not saying that one of these would see your premium double, but a combination would.

      Like any insurer, the checks and measures for ensuring sustainability in a portfolio comes from the outgoing compared to incoming in premium (stay with me). Being almost 3 years old now and having a product that is unmatched in the industry (meaning you cannot buy the intelligence around how much things may cost) means variations on expected costs. In order to bring things back in check and sustainable there has been a need to increase premiums across the board.

      My guarantee to everyone is that it doesn’t happen at a flip of a coin – we have seen the rest of the market go up significantly too – in fact this analysis has guided our increases to a degree. However, we will always find it hard to compete on price because the product doesn’t match the market.

      Sorry to get a little technical and jargon-y but i want to be as upfront and transparent as possible.


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