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Buying car insurance in Australia is something to consider immediately after you buy a car. Australian car insurance is pretty inexpensive. You have companies like AAMI and GIO and 1Cover offering reasonable vehicle insurance. Would you really take the risk and have no car insurance in Australia? Stop being a wuss. Get car insurance. Shop around.

Vehicle Insurance

"With millions of hyperactive kangaroos hopping about and Australians drinking beer as an appetizer, main course, and dessert, insuring any vehicle in Australia, including a bicycle with training wheels, starts to make a lot of sense."  Doug Knell, Doug's Republic
automobile insurance Australia
Automobile Club MembershipVehicle BureaucracyFuel PricesVehicle Purchase Links

Basic third-party insurance is included with your mandatory car registration, but that won't cover your own car if you're at fault in an accident.  Comprehensive additional car insurance is highly recommended.  Driving in Australia is not the same as driving at home. Here's what I noticed early on about driving Down Under:

  The Australians drive on the left.  A free left turn on red is the standard in this land, not a free right turn on red.  Okay, this point may not be so illuminating or unnerving if you're from that third of the world which already drives on the left side of the road.  If you hail from the other two-thirds of the world, driving on the left will feel strange initially.  It's not just that the steering wheel will be situated where you're used to having the passenger seat.  Even after months in Australia, by impulse, I always approached my car by the front left door, where the steering wheel would be in an American-standard car.  You'll notice that the turn signal lever and windshield wiper lever are the reverse in Australian-standard vehicles.  You'll often activate the windshield wipes when you intended to indicate a lefthand turn.  It will also take some getting used to switching gears with your left hand when you've spent years doing those same moves with your right.   Driving is driving, and the technicalities of doing so don't change with the alteration of the steering wheel, but the feel of driving will, in the beginning, be quite different.  You're bound to drive on the wrong side of the road much of the time, cause massive accidents, and will be glad you had insurance to cover all or most of the damage.

Car wreck Australia

With a little bit of insurance, you'd never know four kangaroos had stomped the living $@*()$@ out of this

  Australian routes can be narrow and dark.  Coming from the United States, Australian roads were a step down.   Australia gets compared to the continental United States a lot of because the two countries are of similar size.  They don't get compared because of comparable roads.  The United States has the population to justify well-lit multi-lane highways for long stretches.  Australia does not.  Within and near the big metropolitan centers, Australian roads are equivalent to those in North America in size and night-time illumination, but most of the Highway 1 which encircles the entire Australian continent is not near where the people are.   The roads can be two lanes and not always paved.

  Passing the vehicle in front of you can be a b-tch and just downright dangerous at times.   Multi-lane highways in Australia are rare.  Most of the time, I drove on two-lane roads, one side went in one direction, the opposite side went in the other. To pass, you had to cross into the opposing traffic lane when you sized up that there were no cars coming from that direction.   On lucky occasions, there was a third lane, which acted as a temporary passing lane.   Every so many kilometers, the passing lane was ceded to the traffic going in the other direction, and then another so many kilometers, ceded back.  Australia is loaded with road-trains -- long, long, long trucks with freight that seem to stretch several kilometers.   Try passing one of these on a two-lane road.  I made the mistake of following another car as it darted into the opposite lane to pass a road train.  As that car cut back into the correct (left) lane, I saw a car coming right at me from the opposite direction, and it was a cop!  I floored it back into the left lane and avoided a collision.   The cops, needless to say, pursued me, and when I didn't admit to any Australian address, I was told I might have to sit in jail until a hearing could be arranged.  The cop's partner must've realized that this was a big hassle all around, and I was eventually just handed a USD 75 ticket.  Passing a car becomes even more complicated when driving at night. 

Are you fearless enough to pass one of these machines on a two-lane road in the dark?

Get used to potential meals wandering around the road at night -- at the cost to your car.  Wombats, emus, cows, koalas, and especially kangaroos will all be about.  There are warning signs on the road, but get real.  Wombats and kangaroos have never learned how to use crosswalks.   4-wheel drives, road-trains, and other cars spending long periods in rural terrain have rigid bull bars fixed onto the front of the car to protect the radiator, headlights, and hood from damage should they meet, greet, and beat livestock or wild life as you're cruising down Australian roadways. 
Australia emu Australia kangaroo
Australia koala bear Australia wombat
Meet the creatures who want to plow into your vehicle and raise your insurance premiums

car insurance in Australia

Where To Buy Vehicle Insurance In Australia
All insurance companies have one thing in common:  they eagerly take your premiums and grudgingly pay out any benefits.   This is a universal law.  The advantage of Australian vehicle insurance premiums is that they're not very costly.  In the United States, I was paying over USD 1,500 per year for a comprehensive insurance policy with a USD 500 deductible.  In Australia, my insurance policy cost less than a third, with an AUD 500 deductible.  

All the various state automobile clubs offer vehicle insurance.  The precise premiums you pay obviously depend on the value of the car you're driving, your age, the deductible amount you're willing to accept (the higher the deductible in case of an accident, the lower your premium), and the upper limits of your injury coverage.   I'd recommend calling up or visiting a branch of the state auto club which corresponds to the license plate of your car -- if your car is licensed in Western Australia, then inquire at the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia.  

Not all Australian insurance companies will insure non-Australian licensed drivers, which is something that makes no sense.  If you pay your premium, it shouldn't matter where you're from.   Some of the companies simply can't process foreign driver's license numbers on their computer forms. 

Some places to start looking:

Company Website
1cover Click Here
AAMI Click Here
GIO Click Here
Rate City Click Here

Words of Doug Wisdom:  insurance companies will give you the option to pay annually or pay monthly. By paying annually in one lump sum, you may save 10%. Don't do it. Pay by the month, even if ends up 15-20% more. If you're in an accident, your insurance company should pay out what they promise, but the terms of your agreement will probably include a termination of your policy from that point onwards. So if you've paid for a year's insurance and you total your car just a few months after your policy begins, you've paid a year's insurance on just a few months of coverage. This is exactly what happened to me on my second car. If you're paying by the month and get in an accident for which your insurance company pays out, your insurer has no advance monies of yours in its possession to screw you out of.

Doug Knell Doug's Personal Story Doug Knell
The day after my first car finally arrived, I was on the internet and phone trying to buy comprehensive auto insurance. The first place I tried -- it may have been the RACV, I don't remember -- started processing my application, but when they asked for my Australian driver's license number, and I replied that I had a license but not an Australian one, they would not insure me. This happened with another company. My third call was to AAMI. I called them first to find out if they'd insure a foreign driver. When they said they would, I bought my insurance policy over the internet to save a few percent. Because it was another savings to pay the policy in one lump sum, this is what I did.  Car #1 had cost me AUD 4,800, but its insured value was for AUD 8,300.  It would've made a fine car to total in an 'accident' weeks before I was to leave Australia.

After I returned to Melbourne from Tasmania 6 weeks later, I'd made up my mind to get rid of car #1, a 1996 Ford Futura wagon, and instead get a sedan.  I called up AAMI and got a refund on the rest of my policy.   When I became the title holder to car #2, a 1993 Ford Fairmont sedan, I called AAMI back and set up a policy for this car, also paying in one chunk. This car, which I'd purchased for AUD 3,700 had an insured value of AUD 4,300.  It would've been another excellent car to have gotten in an accident just before I was ready to depart Oz.   I discovered later that I could have saved AUD 50-75 had I not cancelled the first policy and set up a second.   I would've kept the same policy and added the second car and subtracted the first. 

Two-and-a-half months later, car #2 met its maker in a three-way kangaroo jumping in the Outback.   Repairs were estimated at a garage in Alice Springs, Northern Territory at AUD 6,300.  You can do the math.   The car wasn't worth resuscitating.   I was paid out AUD 4,300 minus the AUD 500 excess, so I wound up making an AUD 100 "profit" on the car.  Big deal.   AAMI more than ate that AUD 100 and then some because the rest of my pre-paid lump sum policy went up in smoke.  Bye bye AUD 500 in unused premiums.

AAMI did offer me an AUD 10/day rental vehicle, brand new, for ten days, per their terms, and paid for a taxi to and from the residence I was staying at in the suburbs.   Oddly, or perhaps quite normal by insurance company standards, AAMI refused to allow the AUD 500 in my policy that was earmarked for damage to personal possessions to be applied towards damage to my laptop caused by the car accident.  "Damage," as they defined it, meant damage to jewelry or clothing.  It's got to be great being an insurance company and inventing new definitions as you go for well-defined words.

I waited around in Adelaide for another week until car #3, a 1996 Ford Futura sedan, was delivered from Melbourne.  My car deals were getting worse.  This one had an insured value less than what I paid for it.   AAMI was again granted the insurance policy, but this time around, I paid my policy monthly.   Car #3 was an excellent representation of the Ford company in general.   This car kept its value in four-and-a-half months just about as well as Ford's stock shares hold their value. 


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 Buying car insurance in Australia is something to consider immediately after you buy a car. Australian car insurance is pretty inexpensive. You have companies like AAMI and GIO and 1Cover offering reasonable vehicle insurance. Would you really take the risk and have no car insurance in Australia? Stop being a wuss. Get car insurance. Shop around. Vehicle insurance is reasonably priced, and AAMI, GIO, 1cover, or any of the Royal Automobile Clubs will insure your vehicle Australia wide.