Driving dangerously this Easter could cost you

Driving dangerously this Easter could cost you

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.


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Learn more about car insurance

Can I drive a new car without insurance?

It is illegal to drive a car in Australia without insurance. Most states require that you get your insurance in place before you drive the car off the dealership’s plot. So, the answer to whether driving a new car without insurance is no, it is not allowed.

The only time you can possibly legally drive an uninsured car is when you have to get the vehicle registered. You should drive straight to an inspection station or your state's vehicle registry. You must also make sure that you take the most direct or convenient route possible.

It is important to note that your compulsory third party insurance (CTP or green slip) isn’t valid until your car is registered.

Driving an unregistered or uninsured vehicle can have severe legal repercussions. If you are involved in an accident, and are driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, you will be personally liable to pay compensation to anyone hurt, as well as for damages. If you are caught driving a vehicle without insurance, you may be fined or even have your vehicle seized.


Does insurance cover a stolen car if keys were in the car?

A car insurance policy that covers the theft of your car, such as third party fire and theft insurance, usually covers a stolen car, even if the keys were in the car’s ignition.

However, your insurer may deny the claim if you live in an area where there have been several car robberies reported recently. They will see you leaving the keys in the car as a case of negligence. In such cases, your insurance provider may even expect you to have installed anti-theft security measures in your car. 

You may need to confirm whether or not you left your keys in your car, and if they had been stolen or misplaced, before filing your car insurance claim. The loss or theft of your car keys may be covered by a comprehensive car insurance policy, but usually as an optional item.

If you can confirm that your car keys were stolen, mention this in your claim as this will help establish that your car was not stolen as a result of your negligence.

Can you insure your car for 6 months?

Most Australian insurers won’t offer you a 6-month car insurance policy, so you may need to buy a policy that covers your car for damages and cancel it after six months. You will need to purchase comprehensive car insurance to protect your car from accidental damage, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.. 

Consider checking whether your 6-month comprehensive car insurance will cost more if you pay monthly or six-monthly premiums instead of a one-time annual premium. Another question to ask the insurer is whether you’ll need to pay administration or cancellation fees when you cancel the policy.

Alternatively, you can look for a suitable ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance policy, which usually offers you the coverage of a comprehensive car insurance policy but only requires you to pay for the distance driven. Such a policy may not be the ideal 6-month car insurance plan as it is based on how much you drive rather than for how long. If you need to drive a lot, you may end up paying more than you’d pay for regular car insurance.