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Crunching the numbers to find the best car insurance policy

9News.com.au logo9News.com.au 23/05/2019 Ross Greenwood

It's a $20 billion business in Australia and dominated by a few players, but how do you pick the best car insurance?

Ratings agency Canstar has crunched the numbers, analysing policies from 37 different insurance brands and it's not the big names that always come out on top.

NRMA fared best of the well-known insurers but most, including AAMI, GIO and Allianz were considered average with a three- or four-star rating based on a range of criteria including price, customer service and quality and speed of repairs.

a busy street filled with traffic next to a highway: The best car insurance can be difficult to find. © AAP The best car insurance can be difficult to find.

Canstar found the best insurers across all profiles for young and old were Budget Direct and YOUI, mainly because of the substantial price savings.

"They're challenger brands with very good quality policies," said Canstar's Steve Mickenbecker.

"Price makes up a lot of it and it's a very competitive market."

In NSW, Australia Post, Budget Direct and Virgin Money received five stars across all age groups.

Australia Post and Virgin Money are provided by Auto and General - the same insurer that backs Budget Direct.

Canstar gave Budget Direct the Outstanding Value Car Insurance Award for the 13th consecutive year for getting the balance right between a feature-rich comprehensive policy at a competitive price.

YOUI was the best performer for drivers aged 30-49.

Suncorp was best on customer service for the fourth consecutive year based on communication, ease of claim, claim process, quality of repairs, speed of repairs and timeliness of claim.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Canstar

The latest IBISWorld report on the car insurance industry for 2018-19 shows it's worth $20.7 billion nationally and comprises 44 businesses.

Forty per cent of that business is in New South Wales.

"Several online-only car insurance providers have flourished, increasing competition for many industry incumbents," the report said.

"Industry competition is anticipated to intensify over the next five years with the ongoing proliferation of online aggregators."

Many insurers have also partnered with big retailers like Coles and Woolworths to tap into their network and client base to protect and expand their market share.

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