Thanks to their flashy marketing tactics – like giving away free cashcards and “free ang pows” – Budget Direct has made a splash in Singapore. For better or for worse, it is aggressively positioning itself as a cheap and friendly insurer, complete with Muppet-style mascot. Not exactly traditional. But let’s look beyond the gimmicks. Is Budget Direct car insurance really worth buying?
Budget Direct car insurance plans
Buying car insurance from Budget Direct is really simple. No need to go through pages and pages of products because there are only 3 base plans: TPO, TPFT or Comprehensive.
|Car insurance plan||Key features||Recommended for|
|Third Party Only (TPO)||Covers third party damage only||Very old cars at the end of their COE lives|
|Third Party, Fire & Theft (TPFT)||Covers third party damage, fire and theft only||Older cars (8 years old and up)|
|Comprehensive||Comprehensive coverage (see below)
Authorised workshops only
|Cars no longer under warranty
Coverage on Budget Direct’s TPO and TPFT plans are pretty standard.
As for Comprehensive, coverage is very minimal. It includes towing and repairs at authorised workshops (you can upgrade for any workshop of your choice), various forms of damage (including fallen trees, floods and vandalism) and third party damage.
That’s it. No personal accident coverage, no transport allowance, no medical expenses or anything else. For those, you’ll have to add-on a la carte; see the next section.
After you choose a coverage plan, proceed to pick a driver plan. The Named Driver Plan is cheaper but is less flexible.
|Driver plan||Key features||Recommended for|
|Named Driver Plan||Main driver + named drivers
All drivers must be named (unnamed drivers are not covered)
|Sole driver of the car
|Authorised Driver Plan||Main driver + anyone you allow to drive you car
Household drivers must be named
All other drivers need not be named
|Drivers who take turns to drive (e.g. among friends)
Large families sharing the same car
Budget Direct car insurance add-ons
Ok, so buying Budget Direct’s Comprehensive car insurance plan is like buying a plate of plain rice at the hawker centre. It’s cheap but it just won’t do, man. You should probably think about adding some ingredients to your meal… and here’s where Budget Direct’s menu of add-ons comes in.
|Car insurance add-on||Description|
|NCD Protector||Protect your No Claim Discount from 30% onwards (good for one claim only)|
|Any Workshop||Add-on for flexibility to choose a non-authorised workshop|
|Personal Accident||PA cover of $20,000, $50,000 or $100,000 to be paid out if the driver is injured or killed in an accident|
|Medical Expenses||Medical expenses of up to $500 per person for driver & passengers|
|24/7 Roadside Assistance||Budget Direct will render assistance for emergencies, breakdown, flat tyres, flat battery and everything else|
|Transport Allowance||$50 per day transport allowance up to 10 days if your car is damaged or lost|
|Car Accessories & Modifications||Budget Direct will cover repair/replacement of LTA-compliant mods or parts – they must be declared beforehand|
|Windscreen Add-on||Up to 2 claims on windscreen or windows|
|Overseas Emergency Allowance||If you get into an accident driving in Malaysia or Thailand, Budget Direct will cover towing cost (up to $1,000), emergency phone calls (up to $100) and an allowance of $200 per person. Or evacuation home up to $25,000, if neede|
How to get cheaper premiums with Budget Direct?
Now we’re getting into what Budget Direct is best known for. Hey, don’t look at me like that. Even the website proudly proclaims “Cheap & Good”.
|Type of discount||Description||Amount|
|NCD (No Claim Discount)||Given in increments of 10% for each year you don’t file a claim||10% to 50%|
|Singapore-only cover||Restrict your coverage to Singapore only (i.e. no Malaysia and Thailand) for cheaper premium||5%|
|Off-Peak car discount||Weekend & off-peak cars get a discount||15%|
|Bring A Buddy||Referral programme to get either 5% off (if you have been referred) or $20 voucher (if you’re the referrer)||5%|
|Pay Less or Get $100||Get $100 if your insurer quotes you a cheaper rate than Budget Direct||$100|
|Go Paperless||Opt for digital documentation to save money||$20|
Promotions change from time to time. Keep up with them on the Budget Direct promotions page.
Why (or why not) choose Budget Direct car insurance?
Well, let me be blunt – the main reason why anyone would want to buy car insurance with Budget Direct is because premiums are some of the cheapest in town, especially if you minimise the add-ons and max out on their numerous promotions and discounts.
For that reason, I would recommend Budget Direct to extremely budget-conscious people looking for insurance for a “COE” car of advanced age. The Comprehensive plan covers cars up to 15 years old, TPFT covers up to 20 years old, and TPO covers even 30 years old (not that such antiques actually exist in Singapore…)
By all means, sign up to get a cheap rate on your car insurance, but just be aware of what you’re signing up for.
Do you think Budget Direct car insurance is a good deal? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments. Get sweet car insurance deals by using MoneySmart’s wizard.