Do I need car insurance?

Yes you do! And you need to understand the different types of car insurance.

Compulsory Third Party insurance is compulsory in Australia for all registered vehicles and might be included in your registration or known as a CTP or Green Slip. This covers other drivers and individuals for any costs incurred by injuries caused by your driving or your vehicle.

Other types of car insurance are not legally required but highly recommended if you want o be covered in the case of accident, injury, damage, theft or breakdown.

Where do you buy CTP insurance from?

You’re covered by CTP automatically when you register your vehicle in most states, apart from NSW, ACT or QLD, where you’ll have to find your own provider.

While CTP is the legal minimum, comprehensive car insurance covers all your accident and damage expenses as well. If you write off your car or have medical bills yourself, this insurance will cover you so you’re not left struggling.

Is the extra insurance really worth it?

If you’re an uninsured driver driving an unregistered vehicle on the road, you are breaking the law in Australia. If you cause an accident, you’re liable for any repairs and medical bills for anyone else involved.

If you have just CTP and you cause an accident, you’re liable for your own medical costs and for the other person’s property.

However, if someone vandalises your uninsured vehicle and isn’t apprehended, you probably won’t get your money back.

This is why, if you can’t afford the cost of comprehensive car insurance, you can think about TPP fire and theft insurance – as it is cheaper but still covers major expenses.

Why you need car insurance

Vehicle accidents can be very expensive. While your TPP will cover you for any damage to other people’s property, including walls, shopfronts, lawns and pets, it won’t cover you for your own damage. Your own repair bills will come out of your pocket.

Your TPP may not cover you for incidents where no–one is actually responsible for the damage to your car. Your car could be damaged by hail, or a flood, or someone could hit your car and drive off, or vandalise or steal it. In these cases, you’ll have to pay to repair or replace your car and this might not be possible straight away.

Very often, a car loan and insurance above and beyond CTP have to come as a package.

Your lender may need you to have TPP or comprehensive insurance as part of the agreement to protect the asset (the car).

The different types of car insurance

There are three different types of car insurance above and beyond CTP.

Third party property damage car insurance, also known as TPP or TPPD, covers you for the damage to others’ property, including homes, gardens, personal items and even pets or animals.

TPFT covers the other driver and covers your car from theft and fire.

Comprehensive insurance covers you for everything that TPP and TPFT will, as well as storms, uninsured drivers, hit–and–run incidents, vandalism and even accidents that you cause.

Which car insurance is best for me?

Ideally, everyone would have comprehensive insurance, but it can be expensive, so you need to think about your car and your driving habits and record before settling on your most cost–effective level of cover.

Here’s some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

Do you owe money on the car?

The chances are that the lender will make your mind up for you here, as it’ll want to protect the loan and the asset that guarantees it, which is the car. It’s also very much in your interests because you don’t want to end up paying for the loan and the repairs or, in the worst–case scenario, the original loan and the loan on the replacement vehicle.

How much is the car worth?

If you’re driving an old vehicle and you’re thinking about replacing it within the next year anyway, then CTP or TPP will probably suffice.

You won’t be stung for anyone else’s repairs in an at–fault accident and you won’t break the bank to buy your next set of wheels.

How much do you rely on your car?

If you’re in your car a lot, then you should choose comprehensive insurance as this will help you out if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere after an accident or failure. This insurance may pay for a hotel stay as well as a hire car until your own car is repaired or replaced.

Where do you live?

If you live in an area where car thefts are common, or where bushfires can breakout, TPFT is ideal. If you’re somewhere that experiences floods or severe storms, then comprehensive is the way to go.

Is it ever worth getting comprehensive insurance on an old car?

Comprehensive is handy, but it won’t cover you for damage to other vehicles or property and just because a car is old doesn’t mean it can’t ruin a fancy new car and cost you thousands. You should at least get TPP insurance, regardless of the age of the vehicle.

Having TPFT or comprehensive insurance may be worthwhile if the costs of suddenly replacing your old–but–faithful banger would really hurt. Having higher levels of cover can soften the blow quite a bit, or at least pay for the last round of repairs before you finally move onto your next vehicle.

Compare car loans from Australia’s banks, credit unions and other lenders at InfoChoice.

The products compared in this article are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market and influenced by a range of factors including interest rates, product costs and commercial and sponsorship arrangements

InfoChoice compares financial products from 145 banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in Australia. InfoChoice does not compare every product in the market. Some institutions may have a commercial partnership with InfoChoice. Rates are provided by partners and taken from financial institutions websites. We believe all information to be accurate on the date published. InfoChoice strives to update and keep information as accurate as possible.

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. Do not interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us.  You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

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