If you are a first-timer, buying car insurance can seem complicated. But do not feel small as even some of the seasoned car owners may still need help with car insurance. You can put your worry to rest as we are going to share a comprehensive car insurance guide in Malaysia. At the end of this guide, you shall understand how car insurance works and how to secure the best car insurance at the best price.
Why do you need to buy car insurance?
Following the Road Transport Act 1987, all vehicle owners must have a valid Motor Vehicle License (road tax) and motor insurance to use their vehicles on the road. Therefore, if you do not have valid motor insurance and road tax, it is illegal for you to drive on any public road in Malaysia.
For your information, you need to first renew your insurance (at least third-party insurance) before you can proceed with road tax renewal.
How does car insurance work?
In order to enjoy the protection by your insurance, you will need to pay an amount called “premium” to your selected insurer annually.
The premiums that you and other policyholders pay will go to the insurer’s funds. Your insurance company will then manage the funds and use them to cover the financial losses involving the insured cars of the policyholders.
Refer to our visual below to understand how car insurance works.
What types of car insurance policies can you buy?
There are three types of car insurance policies that you can choose which are (1) Comprehensive insurance, (2) Third party, fire and theft insurance and (3) Third party insurance.
The first is comprehensive insurance, also known as first-party insurance. This policy offers the most extensive coverage to policyholders.
Comprehensive insurance protects the policyholders’ cars in the event of a car accident, fire or theft. This policy also provides coverage to the third party.
Comprehensive insurance is usually mandatory for new cars that are 10 years old and below. For cars above 15 years old, most insurance companies will recommend third-party, fire and theft insurance (TPFT) coverage.
Third-party, fire and theft insurance
Third-party, fire and theft insurance protects the damage and loss to the third party where you are at fault. It also provides coverage to policyholders’ vehicles in the event of fire and theft. This policy does not cover the policyholders’ vehicles in other circumstances such as a car accident.
This insurance type is usually cheaper than comprehensive insurance and is more suitable for old (normally above 10 years old) and rarely-used vehicles.
Third-party insurance only gives coverage to the third party. It covers the damage or loss to the third party and their property caused by your vehicle. If your vehicle sustains any damage, you will have to bear the repair cost yourself.
For your ease of reference, below is a summary of the differences between the three types of car insurance policies:
How is a car insurance premium determined?
Following the motor tariff liberalisation by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) effective July 1, 2017, premium rates for Motor Comprehensive and Motor Third Party, Fire and Theft products are determined by individual insurers and takaful operators.
This liberalisation causes car insurance premiums to vary, giving more options to consumers. For your awareness, some of the factors that affect car insurance premiums include your car’s market value, car’s manufacture year, No Claim Discount (NCD), type of car insurance, car location, driving record and occupation.
How to calculate car insurance premiums
The basic formula to calculate car insurance premiums is as follows:
Car insurance premium = Gross premium (after NCD, if any) + Additional coverage (if any) + Service tax (6%) + Stamp duty (RM10)
No Claim Discount (NCD) for private cars
No Claim Discount (NCD) is a reward scheme for you if you make no claim on your insurance policy on an annual basis. For a private car, the scale of NCD ranges from 25% to 55%. You can earn NCD by not making any car insurance claims in a year. However, if a third party causes the accident and you are not at fault, you do not have to worry as you will get to keep your NCD.
For your reference, here are the NCD rates for private cars.
How much do you need to insure your car?
When you buy or renew your car insurance, you will have to decide on the sum insured for your car.
The sum insured for a car refers to the maximum amount for which your car is insured.
When deciding on the sum insured for your car, you may choose either the market value or the agreed value.
Market value refers to the current calculated worth of your car. If you choose the market value, your car is covered for what it is currently worth in the market. Say that you choose the market value as the sum insured for your car, your insurer will give you a payout according to the market value of your car at the time of theft or loss (not the market value at the time of your insurance renewal).
Agreed value is the value agreed upon by both the insurer and policyholder at the time of insurance renewal. Insurers determine the agreed value based on a few underwriting factors and risk assessment. Say that you choose the agreed value as the sum insured for your car, your insurer will give you a payout exactly as the agreed value.
What car insurance add-ons can you get?
Your insurance even comprehensive coverage may not adequately cover you. To secure enhanced protection, you may need car insurance add-ons or optional coverages. Some of the recommended car insurance add-ons are as follows:
Windscreen coverage will help cover the repair or replacement cost of your windscreen without affecting your NCD.
To get windscreen coverage, you only have to pay 15% of the sum insured for your windscreen. For instance, if your car windscreen is RM800, you only have to pay 15% of it or RM120 to enjoy the coverage.
Standard comprehensive insurance does not cover the damage arising from natural disasters. Therefore, you may want to include special perils coverage in your insurance policy especially if you live in a low-lying or flood-prone area, for example.
To enjoy this additional coverage, you will usually have to pay 0.5% of the sum insured for your car. The percentage of this additional premium may vary across insurers.
Your insurance provides its coverage when the insured car is driven by the policyholder or another named driver. If you let anyone else unnamed in your policy drive your car, you will have to pay an RM400 compulsory excess, if your car runs into an accident.
To extend your insurance coverage to anyone else whom you authorise to drive your car, you may include additional named driver coverage. For your information, other than yourself, you can name another driver in the policy for free. For a third driver or more, you will usually have to pay RM10 for every additional driver.
Similar to additional driver coverage, all-drivers coverage extends your insurance coverage to anyone authorised to drive your car. The difference between additional driver coverage and all drivers coverage is for the latter, you do not have to name anyone in your insurance policy, Anyone that you let drive your car gets the coverage automatically.
To enjoy all-drivers coverage, you will just have to add RM20.
Your insurance will only cover the repair or replacement of the standard and factory-fitted accessories. So if you are planning to get additional accessories such as customised sport rims, you should probably get a car accessories cover.
To get car accessories cover, you will have to pay 15% of the amount insured for your additional accessories.
This additional coverage will protect your car from damage or loss caused by riots or civil destruction. Typically, the premium rate for this additional cover is around 0.3% of the insured amount of your car.
Legal Liability to Passengers
This coverage offers protection to the policyholder or other named driver from the risk of legal liability sought by your passengers against you in the event of an accident due to your negligence. “Legal Liability to Passengers” coverage is compulsory for cars entering Singapore.
Legal Liability of Passengers
This coverage offers protection to the policyholder or other named driver against any action of legal liability for negligence committed by your passengers.
If your car runs into an accident where you are not at fault, you may claim for loss of use if you purchase “Compensation for Assessed Repair Time (CART)” coverage.
Your insurer determines the compensation for CART based on the assessment by their adjuster. Note that the compensation amount is subject to the estimated number of working days to repair your car. The amount is not based on the actual number of days that your car is repaired at a workshop.
“Betterment” is a portion of the cost you have to bear when a damaged vehicle part is replaced with a brand-new original part. As your car will be in better condition with the new parts, your insurer will require you to bear the difference in costs.
You can opt to purchase the additional coverage for waiver of betterment to avoid paying additional charges for new spare parts. Note that this coverage is only eligible for vehicles aged between 5 to 9 years old.
Standard car insurance will not cover your death or bodily injury due to a motor accident where you are at fault.
However, if you purchase personal accident coverage on top of your car insurance, you or your named beneficiary will receive compensation in the event of your total permanent disability or death as a result of a car accident. This cover also extends to the passengers travelling in the insured car.
Do you use your private car for e-hailing services? If you do, you must purchase this additional coverage as your standard car insurance does not provide coverage for e-hailing services.
For your information, the Ministry of Transport has made it mandatory for all private vehicles used for e-hailing services to have additional e-hailing protection effective 12 July 2019.
Most comprehensive insurance plans provide free towing services for accidents or breakdowns.
However, insurers usually provide free towing up to a certain distance or cost. If the towing distance or cost exceeds the stipulated limit, you will have to pay for the towing service. To enjoy unlimited towing services, you may purchase unlimited towing services as additional coverage.
When should you renew your car insurance?
You can choose to renew your insurance anytime before its expiry date. But you are highly encouraged to renew your insurance two months before its expiry date.
For instance, your insurance is expiring on 31 December 2021. You can renew it two months earlier that is on 31 October 2021. You do not have to worry as the insurance will only take effect beginning 1 January 2022. So you would not lose any money or miss your insurance renewal.
How do you check car insurance expiry date?
You can check your car insurance expiry date through your insurance policy or cover note or simply online.
Check the car insurance expiry date through an insurance policy or cover note
Simply refer to your insurance policy or cover note as it contains your insurance expiry date.
Check car insurance expiry date online
You can also check your car insurance expiry date online using MyCarInfo.
Do you have to renew your car insurance if you do not drive the car often?
Yes, you should renew your insurance and keep it active at all times. This is to avoid any losses should anything happen to your car. For instance, your car may get stolen or be damaged by natural disasters.
What are the documents required for insurance?
For online renewal, you simply need to key in your vehicle registration number and a few other particulars. You do not need to submit any documents.
If you choose to renew your insurance offline through any registered insurance agent, you may have to submit a few documents such as your existing insurance policy and vehicle ownership certificate (VOC).
How to choose the best car insurance?
Compare complimentary coverage by car insurers
Compare the complimentary or free coverage by different insurers before you buy car insurance.
Most insurers offer a free towing service to their customers who own comprehensive insurance. What you can do is compare this coverage limit as free towing service is usually limited by distance or cost.
Other complimentary coverage that you may want to consider includes a free child car seat replacement in the event of a car accident or theft. The best way to know the complimentary coverage offered by insurers is through their product disclosure sheet.
Check insurance panel workshops
Check whether the insurance panel workshops are available throughout Malaysia, especially near you. This is because certain insurers only allow their policyholders to get their cars repaired at their panel workshops. Should you send your car to a non-panel workshop, certain insurers may not cover the repair cost.
Choose between conventional insurance and takaful
Conventional insurance and takaful share the same purpose of providing coverage to the policyholder and/or the third party. However, the key difference between them is that takaful complies with Islamic law. But note that takaful is not limited to Muslims; anyone can purchase takaful regardless of their religion.
Refer to our visual below for the differences between conventional insurance and takaful.
Compare service quality by insurance companies
As a guide, do your research online to choose an insurance company that offers 24/7 customer assistance.
Check also the insurance claim procedure. An easy claim procedure will definitely help you in getting a service or compensation more efficiently.
How to renew car insurance?
You may use insurance comparison sites to compare quotations from multiple insurers before you renew your insurance. One of the biggest insurance comparison sites in Malaysia is Bjak.
You can compare and renew your car insurance at Bjak in 5 simple steps:
- Request free car insurance quotes at Bjak’s website
- Receive your free quotations via WhatsApp or email
- Compare insurance quotations and choose your preferred insurance
- Customize your insurance policy and include any add-ons that you need
- Proceed to make payment
You will get your insurance e-cover note through WhatsApp or email in under 5 minutes. As an added service, Bjak can also help you renew your road tax.
Aside from using insurance comparison sites, you may also renew your car insurance directly with insurance providers of your choice.
However, if you prefer to renew your insurance offline, you can visit the outlet of any registered agents of your preferred insurance.
Important terms of a car insurance policy
Before you renew your insurance, it is best that you understand the key terms and clauses of a car insurance policy. These are some key car insurance terms and clauses that you should know.
Your car insurance premium is the payment you make to your car insurance provider in exchange for coverage.
“What is covered” refers to the events that your insurance will cover and compensate. It is important that you know what your insurance covers to avoid any confusion during your claims process.
These are events that your insurance does not cover. If any of the events were to happen to your car, you cannot make a claim against your insurer. These events are also called “exclusions.”
Period of cover
Period of cover refers to the effective date of your insurance policy. During this period of coverage, you can make claims on your insurance policy for the events that your insurance covers.
The usual period of cover is one year. It is mandatory for you to renew your car insurance annually
A named driver refers to the individual that you name as an additional driver in your insurance policy.
For your information, you will have to pay a compulsory excess of RM400 if the person driving your car at the time of your car accident is not a named driver in your insurance policy.
Excess refers to the first payment that you need to make whenever you make a claim on your insurance policy, even when you are not at fault. However, note that the excess does not apply to loss or damage caused by fire, explosion,
lightning, burglary, housebreaking, theft, third-party property damage or bodily injury claims.
Betterment refers to a portion of the cost that you have to pay to replace a damaged vehicle part with a brand-new original part.
For your information, you can waive betterment costs by purchasing a waiver of betterment cost as additional coverage.
Loading refers to an additional charge imposed on the base premium based on insurers’ risk assessment.
Insurance companies impose different percentages of loading typically ranging between 15% to 35%. Some of the factors that affect a loading charge are the policyholder’s age, driving record, claim history as well as vehicle engine capacity and age. Loading is in place so that the coverage provided commensurates with the risk borne by insurers.
An insurance endorsement is a change or addition to an insurance policy that alters the terms or scope of the original policy. Adding an endorsement to your existing insurance policy usually means adding or modifying coverage.
How to make car insurance claims?
Accidents can still happen even to the safest drivers, so you should be aware of insurance claims in case you need to make an insurance claim. These are the different types of car insurance claims and car insurance claims processes in Malaysia.
Types of car insurance claims
Own Damage claim
This is when you make a damage claim against your insurance policy. Note that you can only make your own damage claim if you own comprehensive insurance.
Example: While driving, you accidentally hit a tree that damages the front bumper of your car. You can make your own damage claim to either repair or replace the bumper.
Note that while your insurance will cover the repair or replacement cost, you will lose your No Claims Discount (NCD) when you make your own damage claim.
Own Damage Knock-for-Knock claim
If an accident is caused by a third party, you can make an Own Damage Knock-for-Knock claim on your own comprehensive insurance, without affecting your NCD.
Example: A car hits the rear part of your car causing it to dent. As you own comprehensive insurance, you can make an Own Damage Knock-for-Knock claim given that the accident is caused by a third party.
Note that you can only make an Own Damage Knock-for-Knock claim if you own comprehensive insurance.
If you do not own comprehensive insurance, you can make a Third Party claim if an accident is caused by a third party. As you are not the party at fault, you can keep your NCD even after you make this claim.
Example: A car knocks on the rear part of your car and damages the rear bumper. As you own third-party insurance, you make a Third Party claim against the third party’s insurance for causing the accident.
In order to make a Third Party claim, you can submit your claim directly to the third party’s insurance company.
Car insurance claims process
If your car is involved in an accident, follow this car insurance claims process:
- Remain calm. Do not admit liability or offer any settlement or payment.
- Write down as much as possible of the following items:
- the personal particulars of the driver(s) involved in the road accident: name(s), IC number(s), address(es), driving licence number(s) and telephone contact(s) (if possible)
- the name of the insurer of the other vehicle(s)
- make/model and registration number(s) of the other vehicle(s) involved in the road accident
- registration number of tow truck(s) (if any)
- Draw a simple diagram of the accident scene.
- Take photos of and note down the extent of the damage(s) to the vehicles/property involved (if the situation permits)
- Immediately call your insurer’s towing service for your car to be towed to the nearest panel workshop if needed
- Make a police report of the road accident within 24 hours
- Cooperate with the investigator/loss adjuster appointed by the insurer
- Provide the necessary documents to the panel workshop as follows:
- The police report
- Insurance policy or cover note
- A copy of the policyholder and driver’s identity card
- A copy of the policyholder and driver’s driving licence
- Collect your car from the panel workshop upon repair completion
What should you do if you run into an accident with an uninsured car?
If you run into an accident with an uninsured car, you have the option to sue the party at fault. However, before you seek any legal action, ensure that you first lodge a police report within 24 hours and inform your insurer.
Please ensure that you note down the important details as follows:
- Third party’s vehicle make, model and registration number
- Third party’s name and address
- Your vehicle damage and conditions
- Contact details and statements of any witnesses
Follow the legal procedure to proceed with legal action.
Secure the best car insurance coverage at Bjak
We hope that you can now better understand how car insurance works and the procedure you need to follow to make insurance claims. As you have to renew your car insurance every year, it is important that you know what you are paying for. It is therefore essential that you compare multiple car insurance policies to secure the best coverage at the best price.
To help you secure car insurance that meets your budget and needs, we recommend you use Bjak which is one of the biggest insurance comparison sites in Malaysia. Comparing insurance policies at Bjak is easy as you can do it completely online. Wherever you are, you can conveniently compare up to 15 insurance quotations for free. Visit Bjak.my to get your free car insurance quotes online today.