Motorists are being urged to take care on the roads and allow extra travel time as they head off for the Easter long weekend. Double demerit point penalties have already come into effect in parts of the country, coinciding with police blitzes targeting speeding, seat belt offences, drink driving and other driver infractions.
But what many drivers may not realise is that, aside from the obvious physical threats of dangerous driving, an offense behind the wheel – or loss of licence – could see motorists face increased car insurance bills for years to come.
Michelle Hutchison, spokeswoman for RateCity, said car insurance providers won’t directly penalise their customers for losing a few demerit points from speeding if your licence is intact.
But, she said, insurance providers may charge drivers a higher premium or even refuse cover in some circumstances at their discretion. It could double your comprehensive car insurance excess.
“Many drivers won’t realise the ongoing impact of losing a licence or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol on their insurance premiums,” she said.
“Depending on the insurance provider and your circumstances a mistake behind the wheel could haunt you for the next five years when it comes to insuring your vehicle.”
Those most at risk of paying higher excess include drivers who have lost their licence or have restrictions because they are seen as being a greater risk to insure.
“The main reason for taking it easy on the roads and driving within the rules is your safety and the safety of other road users. But keep in mind that dangerous driving could end up costing you more than you realise,” said Hutchison.
Tips to prepare your car for a road trip
- Before you head off in your car this Easter long weekend make sure you’ve got appropriate comprehensive car insurance cover. It pays to shop around and compare car insurance rather than simply selecting cover on price alone.
- If you don’t have some sort of roadside assistance program, consider joining one before you set off on your holiday. Some car insurance providers offer this service for an additional fee, so contact your provider or sign up online.
- Check that the tyres – including the spare – are inflated to the correct pressure to carry a large load, and top up the vehicle’s water and oil levels, if necessary.
- Clean out any unnecessary items from the car because the more you haul the more fuel you burn.
- Top up the tank and brace for an estimated 20c a litre hike in the price of petrol this Easter. Reports suggest prices will exceed $1.50 this weekend. Consider using one of the many petrol price comparison and locator apps for smartphones or online to help cut costs.