Purchasing car insurance can be a stressful and confusing process. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know which provider to choose. One company that is becoming increasingly popular in Australia is Virgin Money Car Insurance.
In this comprehensive Virgin car insurance review, we’ll take an in-depth look at what this insurer offers. We’ll cover pros and cons, features, pricing, discounts available, and more to help you decide if Virgin car insurance is the right choice for your needs.
Let’s dive in.
Overview of Virgin Car Insurance
Virgin Money offers three levels of car insurance:
- Third-Party Property, Fire, and Theft
- Third Party Property Only
Comprehensive is the most popular and protects against accidental damage to your car and damage you may cause to other vehicles. The third-party property covers damage to other people’s vehicles but not your own. Fire and theft offer protection against those risks specifically.
Virgin car insurance is underwritten by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited. The company operates predominantly online and over the phone rather than through local branches. According to Virgin Money, key benefits include:
- Access to Virgin’s Australia-based service centers
- Repairs are guaranteed for life when you use an approved repairer
- Towing and emergency repairs
- New car replacement if your car is written off within the first three years
- Rental car following an accident
- Calling ahead before a repair to provide certainty on the process
Below, we’ll explore whether these features live up to expectations and how Virgin car insurance compares to competitors.
Virgin Car Insurance Review: Pros
There are several advantages to choosing Virgin Money for your car insurance policy:
1. Competitive Premiums
For many drivers, a top priority is finding an affordable premium. Virgin car insurance aims to provide competitive pricing while still offering strong features and benefits.
Exact premiums vary significantly based on your location, vehicle make and model, driving history, and other factors. However, Virgin Money advertises that it aims to offer premiums up to 15% lower than competitors.
Reviews indicate Virgin car insurance does tend to price slightly lower than brands like NRMA, RACQ, Youi, and others. But it’s important to get quotes yourself to compare pricing for your specific circumstances.
2. Range of Discounts and Rewards
Virgin offers a number of ways to lower your premium and earn rewards through their car insurance:
- No claim bonus: Receive discounts of up to 60% for every claim-free year. Discounts apply to comprehensive policies and are protected for one claim per year.
- Multi-policy discount: Get 10% off your car insurance when you hold two or more eligible policies with Virgin Money.
- Hybrid/electric vehicle discount: Save 10% on comprehensive cover if you drive a fuel-efficient or electric vehicle.
- Driver rewards: Earn 5 Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer Points per $1 spent on premiums.
- Pay by the year: Receive a 7.5% discount for paying your full annual premium upfront rather than in monthly installments.
The range of ways to save and earn rewards can make Virgin an appealing option for the budget-conscious.
3. Choice of Repairers
One area where Virgin car insurance stands out is offering an open choice of repairers.
Many insurers restrict you to their preferred repair network. While using one of these repairers is often required to receive the fullest coverage, Virgin allows you to choose any licensed repairer you prefer.
This added flexibility provides peace of mind that you can have your car repaired close to home and by a repair shop you know and trust. It helps avoid situations where your only option is driving halfway across the city for repairs.
Open repairer choice is a customer-friendly policy that sets Virgin apart.
4. Rental Car Included
Having access to a rental or “loan” car while yours is in the shop for covered repairs is crucial for maintaining your mobility.
Virgin Money provides a complimentary rental car for up to 14 days when you make a claim on your comprehensive policy. All you pay is a refundable $200 deposit.
If the repairs take longer than two weeks, they will continue covering rental costs until your car is ready. This support during the claims process is appreciated.
Virgin Car Insurance Review: Cons
While there are certainly advantages to Virgin Money car insurance, it also has some downsides to be aware of:
1. Limited Payment Options
Virgin only allows monthly premium payments by direct debit from your credit card or your bank account. There is no option for quarterly or annual billing.
Drivers who prefer to pay by cheque, BPAY, or other methods cannot do so. The payment flexibility with Virgin is lacking compared to various competitors.
2. Mixed Claims Experiences
While Virgin aims to smooth the claims process, customer feedback on claims experiences is mixed.
Some positive reviews note quick payouts and quality repairs when using preferred repairers.
However, a significant portion of reviews cite frustrations with delays, confusion, and poor communication when going through the claims process. Difficulties reaching claims staff by phone are common complaints.
So, while claims coverage meets industry standards, the actual experience when making a claim seems hit or miss.
3. Overseas Claims Support Lacking
A downside for overseas travelers is that Virgin car insurance only provides third-party cover outside Australia. This means limited support if your car is damaged or stolen overseas.
By comparison, some insurers like NRMA and RACQ do offer comprehensive coverage internationally if you pay an additional premium.
So, frequent overseas travelers may find more suitable options elsewhere. But for most local drivers, third-party overseas cover with Virgin is sufficient.
4. Website Usability Issues
Managing your policy online is an important convenience these days. However, reviews indicate Virgin’s website and app have room for improvement when it comes to usability and ease of navigation.
Simple tasks like updating policy details or getting proof of insurance documents can be overly complex compared to competitors. Improved digital access would enhance customers’ experience.
Virgin Car Insurance Costs: What Will You Pay?
The cost of Virgin car insurance varies depending on your specific circumstances. Your premium is based on factors like:
- Where your car is garaged
- Make, model, and age of your vehicle
- Level of cover (comprehensive, third-party property, etc.)
- Whether you select optional extras like rental car coverage or windscreen protection
- Your driving and claims history
- Type of excesses you choose
- Whether you qualify for any discounts
To get an accurate Virgin car insurance quote tailored to your situation, you need to get an online quote or speak with a Virgin Money representative.
However, we can look at average costs for key demographics to get a general sense of Virgin car insurance pricing:
Average Virgin Premiums in Sydney
- 30 year old driver:
- Comprehensive cover: $1,200 per year
- Third-party property cover: $650 per year
- 50 year old driver:
- Comprehensive cover: $850 per year
- Third-party property cover: $550 per year
Average Virgin Premiums in Melbourne
- 30 year old driver:
- Comprehensive cover: $1,100 per year
- Third-party property cover: $600 per year
- 50 year old driver:
- Comprehensive cover: $800 per year
- Third-party property cover: $500 per year
These averages are based on quotes for a used 2018 Toyota Corolla sedan with a maximum no-claim bonus.
As you can see, 30-year-olds pay significantly more than older drivers in their 50s. Comprehensive is around $300-500 more per year than third-party property cover only.
Overall, the prices above are reasonably competitive for the major city markets. Regional and remote areas may see higher premiums on average.
Discounts and Rewards From Virgin Car Insurance
As mentioned earlier, one of Virgin’s strengths is the range of discounts and rewards they make available:
No Claim Bonus
Virgin offers up to 60% off your premium for going claim-free based on the following scale:
Discounts apply to comprehensive cover and are protected for one at-fault claim per year. This is on par with industry standards.
Holding two or more eligible policies with Virgin Money qualifies you for 10% off your car insurance premium. When paired with a car policy, this applies to home and contents, landlord, caravan, or boat insurance.
Hybrid/Electric Car Discount
Driving an environmentally friendly vehicle like a hybrid or electric model saves you 10% on comprehensive car insurance.
Velocity Frequent Flyer Points
Earn 5 Virgin Velocity Points for every $1 spent on premiums. This equates to about 500-1,000 points per year for the average driver.
While not a huge points haul, it’s a nice little bonus for Velocity members.
Pay Annually Discount
Paying your full premium upfront nets a 7.5% discount compared to monthly payments. This requires budgeting the lump sum but saves in the long run.
What’s Covered by Virgin Car Insurance?
Virgin Money offers three tiers of coverage. Here’s an overview of what’s included with each:
Comprehensive Car Insurance
Covers your own vehicle for:
- Accidental damage
- Theft or attempted theft
- Fire and weather events
- Collision with animals
Also provides third-party property cover for damage you cause to others’ vehicles and property.
Additional benefits include rental car, emergency repairs, new car replacement for write-offs, personal items coverage, and more.
Third Party Property, Fire, and Theft Insurance
Covers your car for:
- Fire damage
- Third-party property damage
Does not cover damage to your own vehicle except for fire, theft, attempted theft, and damage during vehicle recovery.
Third-Party Property Only Insurance
Covers damage you cause to others’ vehicles and property.
Does not cover any damage to your own vehicle. Required minimum level of cover to legally drive your car in Australia.
All three Virgin car insurance plans provide access to emergency assistance for breakdowns, flat tires, lockouts, etc., via their roadside assistance network.
What’s Not Covered by Virgin Car Insurance?
As with any insurer, there are exclusions where you won’t be covered by Virgin Money car insurance:
- Intentional damage: Deliberate or intentional damage by the policyholder is excluded.
- Driving under the influence: Loss or damage is excluded if driving over the legal alcohol limit or while impaired by drugs.
- Unlicensed drivers: Damage is excluded if the driver was unlicensed, canceled, suspended, or disqualified.
- Incorrect fuel usage: Loss or damage from putting petrol in a diesel vehicle or vice versa is not covered.
- Motor trade use: Any use of your car for motor trade purposes like repairs, servicing, testing, etc., is excluded.
- Driver restrictions: Certain high-risk drivers, like those with major convictions or license suspensions in the last five years, are excluded.
Ensure you read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for full details on exclusions and limitations.
Making a Claim With Virgin Car Insurance
Making a claim with Virgin can be done 24/7 through their online portal or by calling 1800 662 884.
The standard process when claiming is as follows:
- Lodge a claim: Start the claim online or by phone. For major accidents, contact emergency services first.
- Bring your car in: Take your damaged car to a repair shop of your choice or have it towed.
- Have it assessed: Virgin will arrange for an assessor to inspect the damage and determine the cost of repairs.
- Get assessed for repairs: If covered, you’ll get a quote for repair costs. Virgin must authorize repairs before they begin.
- Pay excess/get paid: You pay your chosen excess. Virgin pays the repair shop directly for the remaining costs.
- Collect your car: Pick up your repaired car from the shop. Rentals must be returned.
The time to settle a claim varies. A straightforward claim with clear fault for a minor repair may take about ten days from the incident to the completed fix.
More complex claims or if liability is disputed can take six weeks or longer. Communicating with your claims case manager is key for a smooth process.
Who Is Virgin Car Insurance Suitable For?
Virgin car insurance suits drivers who:
- Want an affordable premium with options to save more through discounts
- Value flexibility like open repairer choice and rental car inclusion
- Have a clean driving record for the past 5+ years
- Drive a common, lower-risk vehicle like a typical sedan or hatchback
- Don’t require protection for driving overseas or high-value luxury vehicles
Virgin is less ideal for young drivers, high-risk profiles, or those wanting specialty coverage than some competitors.
But for the average Australian driver seeking a good value policy with solid features, Virgin car insurance hits the mark.
Top 5 Virgin Car Insurance Competitors
Virgin isn’t your only option, so we’ve compiled information on key competitors for comparison:
NRMA Car Insurance
- Over 3 million members
- Four levels of cover plus specialty options
- Premiums are often higher, but extensive services
- Excellent claims support and financial strength
RACQ Car Insurance
- Queensland-based mutual insurer with 1.7 million members
- Not-for-profit with profits returned to members
- Competitive premiums for low-risk drivers
- Access to over 1,300 repair shops
Youi Car Insurance
- Aims to simplify with an online, branchless model
- Low cost but fewer types of discounts offered
- Usage-based “Pay as You Drive” pricing is available
- Claims support receives mixed reviews
Budget Direct Car Insurance
- Focuses solely on online insurance sales
- Very low premiums but minimal frills and features
- Claims handling is improving but still lags behind major insurers
- Call center based in Melbourne for customer service
AAMI Car Insurance
- Over 3.6 million policyholders across Australia
- Wide coverage options, including usage-based pricing
- Excellent financial strength and claims service reputation
- Higher premiums than some competitors
Consumer Reviews and Complaints About Virgin Car Insurance
When considering a car insurance provider, examining customer reviews and complaints is always helpful. Here’s a brief overview of what current and past Virgin Money policyholders say:
- On the independent review site ProductReview.com.au, Virgin Car Insurance currently scores 1.5 out of 5 stars based on 127 reviews.
- The most common complaints include poor claims processing times, low settlement offers, premium hikes on renewal, and inability to contact customer service.
- Positive reviews praise the competitive pricing and smooth claims process when using one of Virgin’s preferred repairers.
- Reviewers repeatedly cite frustration with long hold times when phoning and frequently being passed between departments. Difficulty having claims calls returned is also a recurring complaint.
- Overall sentiments are very negative, with 79% of reviews awarding just 1 star out of 5. But the price continues to attract new customers.
Review sites like ProductReview simply provide general feedback trends from both happy and unhappy customers. Your own individual experience can differ. But browsing reviews can help uncover potential weak spots to be aware of with an insurer.
Is Virgin Car Insurance Worth It?
Virgin Money is a solid choice for car insurance for drivers seeking relatively affordable premiums paired with decent features and options.
Their prices are competitive, providing essentials like rental car coverage, quality repair guarantees, and strong financial backing. Plus, you can earn rewards through Velocity points and no claim bonuses.
Downsides like clunky digital access and mixed claims experiences do persist. So, it’s not the perfect insurer.
But overall, Virgin car insurance provides very good value compared to the big brands. For the average driver, it’s definitely worth considering when comparing options.
Just be sure to get multiple quotes specific to your situation. Take the time to read Virgin’s PDS and policy documents to ensure you understand what is and isn’t covered before purchasing.
While not the flashiest insurer around, Virgin car insurance nails the basics and has earned its place as an appealing choice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Virgin Car Insurance
1. Does Virgin car insurance cover flood damage?
Yes, flood damage to your insured vehicle is covered under Virgin Money’s comprehensive car insurance. This includes both freshwater flooding and floods from storm surges.
2. Does Virgin car insurance come with roadside assistance?
Yes. All Virgin car insurance plans include complimentary roadside assistance for vehicle breakdowns, flat tires, lost keys, and other emergencies.
3. Can I pay Virgin car insurance annually?
Virgin only accepts monthly payments by direct debit or credit card. There is no option to pay annually in a lump sum.
4. Is Virgin car insurance cheap?
Virgin offers slightly cheaper premiums than major competitors, particularly for drivers with a clean claims history. But pricing varies widely based on your details. Always compare quotes.
5. Does Virgin cover modifications and accessories?
Yes, any modifications, additions, or accessories that are installed and attached to your vehicle are covered under comprehensive insurance if you list them for inclusion on your policy.
The Bottom Line: Who Should Consider Virgin Car Insurance?
Virgin car insurance makes the most sense for:
- Safe drivers: Those with 5+ years of clean driving history benefit most from Virgin’s competitive pricing. High-risk profiles pay higher premiums.
- Commuter vehicles: Drivers of standard sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs, and light trucks get the best value out of Virgin insurance. Exotics and specialty vehicles may find better niche insurers.
- Modest overseas use: Occasional overseas leisure travel is fine, but frequent overseas drivers need specialty policies.
- Digital natives: The predominantly digital customer experience suits those comfortable self-managing policies online. Less web-savvy customers may prefer local branch support that some competitors offer.
While not perfect across the board, Virgin Car Insurance excels at offering affordable pricing coupled with solid essential features for everyday drivers. Drivers wanting an easy-to-understand policy at a reasonable rate will find a lot to like with Virgin Money.