Young drivers

Car insurance for young drivers

Just got your Ls or your Ps? About to buy your first car?

There are lots of things you need to do before you hit the streets. You need to set up a budget so you know exactly what it costs to run a car. You need to find a car that matches your personality and your needs. And you need to think hard about insurance.

Drivers under 25

Smart tip

Buying a car, getting a loan and paying for insurance are three separate things. Always shop around. You might be better off getting each of these services from three different places.

The cost of insurance is determined by the level of risk your insurer is taking on. As more young drivers are involved in accidents than older drivers, most insurance companies charge a higher premium for drivers under 25.

Young drivers may also have to pay an additional 'age excess' when making a claim. Always check your policy carefully to see what excesses might apply.

If your parents are letting you use the family car, they will have to pay extra to insure you and the car. It's important that they inform their insurer when you start driving. Otherwise, the insurer might not pay for damage if you have an accident.

The table below shows the coverage offered by different types of insurance.

Type Damage to your car Damage to other people's property (e.g. other cars) Damage or loss caused by theft of your car Injuries or death to other people in an accident
Compulsory third party  cross  cross  cross  tick
Third party property  cross  tick  cross  cross
Third party property, fire and theft  cross  tick  tick  cross
Comprehensive  tick  tick  tick cross

Important

When working out how much cover you need, as a minimum, you should get third party property insurance so you're covered if you wreck someone else's car.

 Insurance and finance from a car dealer

Here are some things to watch out for if your car dealer tries to sell you:

  • Finance to buy the car. Ask what the interest rate is. Even before you start going to car yards, find out what rates other lenders are offering. See car loans.
  • Comprehensive insurance. While lenders can insist you take out comprehensive insurance if they take a mortgage over the car to secure the loan, they can't tell you which insurer you have to take out the policy with. Shop around.
  • Gap insurance. If your car is written off, your insurer will pay off your loan if there is a gap between what the car is worth and what you owe on the loan. Gap insurance can be expensive and you're unlikely to need it if you have a small loan or pay a large deposit. You may be better off spending your money on agreed value insurance, or having a smaller loan.
  • Consumer credit insurance. Covers your loan repayments for a set amount of time if you can't work due to illness or unemployment. Check very carefully to see if you really need it.
  • Breakdown insurance. Covers the cost of repairs to your car and can be expensive. Again, think about putting this money towards a better car or building up an emergency fund. Check whether you get a refund if you cancel the insurance, as this is not always the case.

Case study: Dave crashed his car

""Dave decided not to get any extra car insurance on top of his CTP, but he did get consumer credit insurance. Weeks later, he backed into his neighbour's garage door and caused $3,000 worth of damage.

Dave was shocked when he realised his consumer credit insurance didn't cover the costs of repairing the garage or his car. It only covered him if he couldn't meet some of his loan repayments due to a serious accident, illness, unemployment or death.

Insurance if you buy privately

If you buy a car privately, including through an internet site, you still need to shop around for insurance and be sure that you're covered before you drive away with your new car. In fact, when you're buying privately it pays to be extra vigilant checking the details and doing all the appropriate paperwork and back checks.

Go to your state or territory roads and traffic authority for helpful information on what you need to do when buying a car privately. It's also very important to call your insurer before you buy to find out everything they need to know about the car.Always add on the cost of insurance when working out how much to borrow. Consider the cost of:

Smart tip

If you're driving a used or old car you might save a lot of money and hassle by becoming a member of a roadside assistance program.

  • Registration
  • Compulsory third party cover
  • Additional cover, especially third party property

And always factor in the ongoing running costs of your vehicle including petrol, car parking, car washing and anything else you want to spend.

When you're buying a car privately you should always do a REVS check. REVS stands for Register of Encumbered Vehicles. REVS is a free service run by State and Territory governments which can tell you if the car you're thinking of buying is carrying a debt, and could be repossessed.

Case study: Mandy shops around and saves

""

Mandy bought her first car and wanted to insure it. Her mum suggested she buy the insurance from the same company she was with. Mandy rang the company and got a quote.

Instead of just accepting the quote, Mandy asked three other insurance companies to compare what cover she could get and how much it would cost. It turned out her mum's insurer charged high rates for young drivers. By shopping around, Mandy was able to get the level of cover she wanted at a cheaper price.


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Last updated: 17 Oct 2013

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