It is mandatory under Australian law to have a minimum amount of auto insurance to cover liability and damaged property. This mandatory coverage is included in the cost of state car registration (usually about $500 per year, depending on vehicle). While this coverage will ensure that the cost of any injury incurred, or damage to the other party’s vehicle is covered, it does not cover the cost of damages to your vehicle. As such, it is highly recommended that you purchase a comprehensive automobile insurance package from a well-known insurer that covers at a minimum Third Party Property, Fire, and Theft.
Premium insurance comes in varying levels, and if you negotiate your insurance carefully, can cover absolutely everything from roadside breakdown to the additional cost of a hotel if you find yourself without an operable vehicle a long way from home. Most insurance plans (with the exception of the most premium) include a minimum excess fee. An excess fee is a threshold amount you will have to pay before the insurer is liable to pay. Usually this ranges from $500-$1000 (depending on circumstances and type of damage), and is paid to the repairer.
While basic comprehensive coverage cost for most cars begins at $1,000 per year, total cost will vary based on your age, gender, driving history, and the neighbourhood you live in (some are considered safer than others for theft risk). If you are an older driver (over 55), or a woman, you can look for a specialist provider who recognises the generally safer driving of these demographics and offers cheaper rates.
Most insurance companies provide not only car insurance, but home and contents as well, and will offer significant discounts if you obtain all your insurance through them.
Automobile Insurance Companies
- Rate City – http://www.ratecity.com.au – A reliable site for comparing different car insurance (and packaged insurance options) is Rate City.
- AAMI – http://www.aami.com.au/car-insurance/car-insurance-details.aspx – A very established insurance company offering comprehensive coverage for all drivers, as well as package specials that include home and contents.
- APIA –http://www.apia.com.au/ – If you are over 50, you will find the best rates and service with APIA, who deal exclusively in insurance for the retired and semi-retired.
- 1st for Women – http://www.1stforwomen.com.au/ – For single women drivers, 1stForWomen is highly recommended.
Although many insurance companies offer Roadside Assist as a premium option, don’t take it unless it is included in another package. The best and most-established Roadside Assist program is the RACV (the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria) and you can buy a yearly membership for around $150. This includes services such as battery recharges, tire changing, or towing from remote locations (specific distances). The RACV also offers very competitive general insurance.
Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV)