Kiwi drivers get a ‘D’ in Car Insurance 101

> Download this press release

Test yourself – how do you rate?

Auckland, 17 November 2014 – How much do you know about your car insurance? Chances are not as much as you think. According to a recent survey by AA Insurance, the average score of 1,000 Kiwi drivers who were quizzed about car insurance was only 40% – or a ‘D’ grade.

Many respondents struggled to identify factors that influenced their premiums and some had difficulty determining what is covered by third party insurance. 

No one who took the survey received a perfect score, and only 7% got a ‘B’. The majority of respondents managed a ‘C’ (51%) or a ‘D’ (36%), with the rest landing an ‘F’ because they failed to score.

To help improve basic insurance literacy AA Insurance has posted the survey questions online, raising the bar by adding a few trickier ones:

  • A restricted driver breaches the conditions of their license by driving after 10pm. They are almost home when they are rear-ended by another vehicle.  Are they likely to be covered for the damage by their insurance?

  • A dog escapes its yard for the fifth time, runs out onto the road causing you to swerve and hit a parked vehicle. The owner has contents insurance and you have comprehensive (full) car insurance. In this scenario whose insurance typically covers the damage?

You can check out the survey and see the answers.

One of the most surprising findings from the survey is that only 10% of respondents fully understand what factors influence their premium. The numbers were better for understanding what comprehensive and third party insurance covers, with three quarters of respondents getting these answers right. Oddly, it was the drivers who had comprehensive cover (76%) who knew more about third party insurance than those who actually had a third party, fire and theft policy (54%). 

“Our survey showed that while some Kiwi drivers have a fairly good understanding of car insurance and how their policy works, there is room for improvement,” said Amelia Macandrew, Customer Relations Manager at AA Insurance. “For example, this survey shows us the vast majority of Kiwis don’t realise how much their home address affects their car insurance premium.  And correspondingly, a small number of people still believe the colour of their car is used to determine their premium.

“The survey also showed us what we as an insurer need to work on to help our customers understand their policies,” said Amelia.  “It’s important that our customers understand what they are buying before they take out a policy, or make a claim.  As most New Zealanders own a car, it’s really important that they understand how best to protect it.

“We recommend customers check their policy if they are unsure about what they are covered for, or ask their insurer, to avoid any surprises come claim time,” she said. “Having said that, we understand that customers don’t always know what they don’t know, so we’ve taken on board the findings of this survey, as well as the questions we’re most often asked, and come up with some plain-English insurance tips online to help drivers understand how their policies work.“

Curious to see how you’d rate? Go to to take the full survey, including bonus questions, and see how your score compares. The survey only takes a few minutes. Check out the tips at the end of the survey to learn more.

NB: The 2014 AA Insurance Drivers Index surveyed 1,000 Kiwis, 18+ years who drive at least once a week. This release relates to the four multiple choice insurance questions that were included in this survey.


About AA Insurance

AA Insurance is an independently operated, New Zealand-based joint venture between the New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA) and Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited (VINZL). Since 1994 we have demonstrated trusted expertise in home, contents and car insurance in New Zealand, and in 2018 introduced commercial small business insurance. We underwrite our own policies and sell direct to New Zealanders. Our 930+ staff look after over 480,000 customers with 970,000 policies.

We proudly partner with Variety NZ and Eden Park and have been consistently recognised by: Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands (since 2011) and Quality Service Awards for Car, and Home and Contents Insurance (since 2015), Kantar Customer Leadership Index (since 2019), Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers (2011-2018), and the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index (since 2015) that recognises New Zealand’s most successful companies. AA Insurance was also named Consumer NZ People’s Choice award winner for car, home and contents (2019 and 2020).

AA Insurance has an AA- (Very Strong) Insurer Financial Strength Rating given by Standard and Poor’s (Australia) Pty Ltd. For further information visit

For more information please contact:

Media Team, AA Insurance, 027 406 1787,