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The essential guide to choosing the right commercial car insurance

All geared up and ready to start your first trip as a Grab driver or to earn some spare cash? Or are you teaming up with some buddies to do some Lalamove gigs? The sheer excitement of being your own boss and deciding how you want to earn your keep is understandable.

But before all that sinks in, have a think about protecting yourself from unexpected situations. On the legal front, you need to have suitable car insurance, which can be either third-party or comprehensive, regardless if you’re driving for yourself, or as a Grab driver, or just picking up some moving jobs on the side.
While the key considerations for your commercial car insurance stay the same, there are a few other factors that you’ll also need to consider. But with so much to consider, what are the key points that will help you decide which commercial car insurance is the right one for you?

Key points to consider for commercial car insurance

No-claim discount protection

Most insurers provide up to 50% no-claim discount (NCD), which directly makes your premium more affordable. Look for additional perks such as guaranteed lifetime NCD with FWD Insurance (FWD) upon reaching 50% at no additional cost.

What’s covered

Loss or damage to car / Death or injury to a third-party / Damage to third-party property / Legal liability for any third party injury or property damage.


Check the approved list of workshops from your insurer, and whether it gives you the option to send your car to your personal workshop. Some insurers go the extra mile to guarantee your repairs are protected against defective workmanship. For example, FWD’s extended workmanship guarantee will ensure the repairs done at FWD’s Premium Workshops are up to standard. This guarantee applies until your car reaches 10 years of age from its original registration date.

Income replacement

Some insurers will include income replacement when your car is being repaired. Do check the daily rate and number of days or amount of money that it’s capped at. For an estimate, FWD covers $100 per day for up to 5 days while your car is being repaired, $100 per day for up to 30 days for incidents of a total loss.

Adjustable excess

Depending on how much excess you are willing to pay, your premium can be adjusted to fit your budget and age. Insurers such as FWD has an intuitive online interface to find the right balance between your premium and excess amount. Additional excess applies to those under 27 years old, while Aviva’s plan limits to 24 years and under or drivers with less than 2 years experience.

Protecting your no-claim discount (NCD)

Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you’ve worked so hard to be accident-free for the last five years to attain a 50% NCD, insuring your NCD is beneficial in the long run.

Most insurers have the option to protect your NCD, allowing you to retain your NCD even if you were determined to be at fault and had to make a claim.

This, however, applies only for the first time you’ve claimed in that year, so you’ll still need to take due caution to maintain your NCD.

What happens when you reach the maximum 50% NCD? Hold onto it for dear life. Protect it at all cost. Safeguard yourself further with an insurer that l guarantees a lifetime 50% NCD at no additional cost like FWD.

| See more: Is an NCD protector worth the money? |

Promo alert

Having a lifetime 50% NCD is just one of the many benefits you get with FWD Car Insurance. From time to time, the insurer has attractive promotions and discount codes for their commercial car insurance plans.

If you intend to purchase one anytime soon, have a quick look at FWD’s website to see what’s the current promotion. For all you know, you might be paying even less than you expected for your annual premium.

What’s covered

One of the top concerns for drivers, regardless if you are driving for personal reasons or on the road as a private-hire driver or as a courier, is the coverage afforded by the commercial car insurance.

While most insurers will cover the basics, be doubly sure that the following are covered:

  • Loss or damage to car for comprehensive coverage
  • Death or injury to a third-party
  • Damage to third-party property
  • Payouts for incidents relating to fire and theft
  • Excess due to third-party liability claim
  • Specific coverage areas i.e. if your vehicle is covered while airside at Seletar or Changi Airport
  • Uninsured driver coverage
  • Legal costs
  • 24-hour roadside assistance for breakdowns (towing and battery jumpstarts)

As for coverage limits, this is highly dependent on the insurer and policy plan chosen. For the most part, you should ensure that your third-party liability is well-covered. This is crucial to protect yourself from an unexpected claim by the third-party.

For example, FWD and Aviva’s maximum benefit for death or injury to a third-party has no limit, while property is covered up to $5,000,000 for FWD, $50,000 limit for Aviva.

Do lookout for the bells and whistles in your commercial car insurance plan, such as coverage for your car accessories. For one, this will ensure your in-car recorder, which has become a basic necessity, is covered and the amount you recover can be used to purchase a new one. Also, take into account the coverage and conditions stated for a brand new vehicle replacement should an accident occur and your car has been deemed a write-off.

| Related: Commercial car insurance plans for Grab and other private hire drivers |

Having the right workshop and income replacement

Just like your health, a car is a very personal object that requires a trusted person to look after it and fix all the problems. Before you commit to a particular commercial car insurance, have a look at the workshops on its approved list and if they fit your service level criteria.

Are the approved workshops trustworthy? Definitely. Workshops listed under an insurer’s approved list has one huge advantage – the workmanship quality is guaranteed.

If by some chance, the workshop doesn’t carry out a satisfactory repair, insurers such as FWD have an extended workmanship guarantee. This guarantee, which lasts till your car turns 10 from its original registration date, ensures your car is properly restored and ready for the road.

Still, a car is a very personal item, if you prefer to send your car to your handpicked workshop for repairs, most insurers will allow you to do so, with a slight top-up to the premium. Or a plan like Aviva’s commercial car policy allows you the flexibility over your choice of workshop.

For personal vehicles, insurers will either provide you with a daily transport allowance or replacement car. But in the case of commercial cars, you are compensated in the form of an income replacement. Do check the fine print and see how much you’re getting as there will be a limit on the amount and number of days. As a rule of thumb, it won’t exceed 30 days, and only if the vehicle has been deemed a total write-off.

Finding the right balance between excess and premium

Speaking of premium, no one likes to pay more than they should for the premium. This holds true for commercial car insurance. While the NCD can shave a significant amount off your cost, you’ll also have to figure out how much you’re willing to fork out for the excess.

Take a Kia Cerato 1.6 registered in 2010 as an example. With a 50% NCD and additional 5% discount for being a demerit-free driver, you can expect to pay for a comprehensive plan between $1,000 to $1,700 depending on the amount of excess.

The bigger question is – is a $700 saving in the premium worth the risk of paying much more for your excess? Balancing the perfect excess versus premium will take some specific calculations and scenario modelling on your end.

Often, insurers will be going back and forth with you to decide on the best ratio. But you have the option to do this on your own free time with FWD’s intuitive online quote and use the slider to determine the premium cost for a comfortable excess level. In fact, you could be looking at a premium that costs as low as $82 per month.

Accounting for the extras

Ultimately, choosing the right commercial car insurance will require homework on your side. Compare and contrast the benefits to decide which policy matches your needs most accurately. For some, it might be vital to have coverage airside as frequent trips to Seletar Airport is anticipated. For others, having a low excess due to age, or a number of years on the road is a non-negotiable, while other individuals may prioritise income protection and comprehensive coverage should there be a serious accident and the car written off. Whichever you choose, there will be a plan suited for you, if you need addditonal info we’ve got more car insurance articles to help facilitate with the decision process.

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