This type of car insurance cover does what it says on the tin – insurers will offer a brand-new car of the same make, model and specification if yours is beyond repair or stolen.
Check your policy documents to see if it’s part of your existing cover, or compare policies to find insurance that includes it, if you need it.
There are some conditions to meet before your car qualifies for replacement cover.
Your car has to be damaged enough to need replacing rather than repairing.
Usually, the cost of fixing your car has to cost more than a certain percentage of the price for a new vehicle – often 60%, including taxes.
For example, if the list price of your car is £10,000, it would have to cost more than £6,000 to repair it for it to be eligible for new car replacement.
If your car is stolen, it must be declared a total loss to qualify.
The car needs to have been bought within a certain timeframe, usually 12 months - some policies have a set mileage limit too.
You must be the registered owner of the car or have permission from the lender if you’ve bought it with a loan.
If your car was pre-registered, the Financial Ombudsman Service treats the vehicle as if it was first registered when it was sold by the dealer.
You might not be covered for extended warranties, though this depends on the insurer.
You’ll also be charged a deductible amount (excess), though you might not have to pay this if you weren’t at fault.
Like with age and mileage, there might be a maximum weight limit for the car to be eligible and you might not be covered if your car is written off due to fire or flooding.
On the plus side, if your insurer can’t find a similar replacement car, you can search for one yourself and your insurer must honour it.
If your car doesn’t qualify, or your insurance doesn’t cover new car replacement, you’ll be offered the market value of your written off car by your insurer.
It’ll probably be less than you paid for it, as your car loses value over time. You’ll have to pay the difference between the amount your insurer gives you and the value of a new car yourself.
There are a couple of alternatives if you don’t have replacement car cover.
You can get Gap insurance if you’re worried you wouldn’t be able to afford a new car or pay off any remaining amount on a vehicle loan.
Gap insurance makes up the difference between what your insurer pays out and how much your car originally cost.
As soon as you have the details of your new replacement car, pass them on to your insurer to make sure you’ve got insurance in place.
Don’t forget to let your car insurance provider know the details of your replacement car after you’ve bought it.
This allows you and your insurer to negotiate a price to cover the cost of buying a replacement car when you first arrange the insurance policy.
Better car replacement is another option. With this type of cover, your current vehicle would be replaced with a newer model that has less mileage.
Only you can decide whether new vehicle replacement cover suits your circumstances.
If you’re worried about being left out of pocket in the event of a write-off, then it could give you peace of mind.
However, there are alternative cover options available, and it might not be worth it if you can afford to pay towards a new car yourself.
Remember that you can always challenge your insurers decision to write-off your car if you think it could be repaired or is worth more.
Last checked 3 June 2021
ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) data for April 2019 to March 2020