Car Insurance Trends: What Drivers Need To Know In 2017

Here’s what Australian drivers need to know about car insurance in 2017, based on Canstar’s expert ratings and analysis.

Whether you’re a regional salesperson racking up the k’s  every week, or a retiree who takes their car out for weekend trips only, car insurance can give you peace of mind if something were to happen. So how do you get the most out of your car insurance?

Look no further than the Canstar website. We’ve just released our 2017 Car Insurance Awards & Star Ratings, along with our analysis of the current state of the car insurance market in Australia.

In this article, we look at the current premiums, the ‘hidden’ excess trap, insurance for younger drivers, and more car insurance trends in 2017.

Car insurance premiums in 2017

Canstar’s research has unearthed the following average premiums for car insurance in 2017, sorted by state/territory and the age of the listed driver:

Car Insurance Premiums 2017 – By State/Territory & Age
State Age Average Premiums 2017 ($/year)
NSW Under 25 Female $1,992.87
Under 25 Male $2,217.77
25-29 $1,018.67
30-49 $762.99
Family $2,277.19
Over 50 $653.09
QLD Under 25 Female $1,179.28
Under 25 Male $1,318.48
25-29 $627.66
30-49 $473.17
Family $1,376.60
Over 50 $419.07
VIC Under 25 Female $1,765.76
Under 25 Male $1,965.42
25-29 $900.19
30-49 $656.61
Family $2,113.28
Over 50 $568.89
SA Under 25 Female $1,340.86
Under 25 Male $1,497.39
25-29 $647.05
30-49 $483.35
Family $1,532.90
Over 50 $414.03
WA Under 25 Female $1,255.51
Under 25 Male $1,394.54
25-29 $660.16
30-49 $490.13
Family $1,435.08
Over 50 $423.56
TAS Under 25 Female $1,174.02
Under 25 Male $1,303.36
25-29 $600.89
30-49 $448.50
Family $1,381.43
Over 50 $392.24
Source: as at 4 May 2017.

Premiums are based on Canstar’s 2017 Car Insurance Star Ratings.

car insurance premiums

The market has seen substantial changes for car insurance premiums in 2017. As you can see from the table below, Canstar’s research shows an increase in premium prices for most of the profiles– except for drivers aged 30-49 and drivers aged over 50, where premiums remain competitively priced.

Car Insurance Premiums – Year-On-Year Changes 2016-2017
Age % Increase
Under 25 Female 12.31%
Under 25 Male 11.17%
25 – 29 Driver 14.98%
30 – 49 Driver -0.77%
Family 20.38%
Over 50 Driver -6.16%
Source: as at 4 May 2017.

Premiums are based on Canstar’s 2017 Car Insurance Star Ratings.

Of course, there’s more to car insurance than just finding the cheapest price – which is why Canstar is here. We aim to help drivers get the best possible coverage and policy terms and conditions, for an affordable premium.

With Cyclone Debbie leaving a trail of insurance claims in her wake and potentially bumping up insurance premiums for home insurance and car insurance, it’s more important than ever to shop around and compare policies.

Find out what else we look for in a great value car insurance policy – or dive straight into comparing car insurance policies.

If you’re considering car insurance policies, the comparison table below displays some of the policies currently available on Canstar’s database for a 30-39 year old male seeking comprehensive cover in NSW without cover for an extra driver under 25. Please note the table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest) followed by provider name (alphabetical) and features links direct to the providers’ website. Use Canstar’s car insurance comparison selector to view a wider range of policies.

Location, location

It definitely matters where you live. To illustrate this, we’ve compared Metro and Regional premiums to show how there can be hundreds of dollars difference in how much you pay for car insurance depending on where you live:

Annual Car Insurance Premiums – Metro Vs Regional($/year)
Age Metro Regional Difference
Under 25 Female $1,551.41 $1,186.28 $365.13
Under 25 Male $1,727.51 $1,325.35 $402.16
25-29 Driver $787.56 $615.55 $172.00
30-49 Driver $585.49 $462.11 $123.37
Family $1,803.82 $1,398.58 $405.25
Over 50 Driver $507.31 $400.23 $107.09
Source: as at 4 May 2017.

Premiums are based on Canstar’s 2017 Car Insurance Star Ratings.

Now, obviously you can’t move house just to lower your car insurance premiums. So here’s our other tips on how to get cheaper car insurance.

Family policy? Insure your kids or don’t let them drive

This year, our Research team is sending a message to the parents and legal guardians of Learner drivers, P-platers, and other young drivers:

If you let your children under 25 drive the family car, make sure they are listed as drivers on the family car insurance policy.

We know that each insured driver aged under 25 years old added to the family policy will result in a possible increase of premium, due to the increase in risk the insurer has to accept. But it may be worth it, because with certain insurers you can completely void your family policy if an unlisted driver gets your family car into an accident – even if the unlisted driver lives with you.

family policy car insurance

There’s always the option of forcing your kids to pay for their own car insurance, but that’s seriously expensive. Even if the premium for Under 25 policies weren’t so pricey, the excess for these young drivers can range from $1,000 upwards – which many young people would struggle to pay for without Mum and Dad’s help.

If you are a young driver aged under 25, your age matters a great deal to insurers. Women aged under 25 can pay on average $300/year less than men aged under 25 for insuring a new car.

So it’s worth considering the pros and cons of insuring all of your household’s drivers on the family policy.

Car insurance premiums for new cars vs old cars

When it comes to the age of your car, in general, older cars will have cheaper car insurance premiums than newer cars. This stands to reason because it’s obviously much more expensive for the insurer to replace or repair a new car compared to an older model.

The table below shows the difference in premiums we saw from the 20,628 quotes we obtained from insurers for this year’s ratings:

New Cars Vs Old Cars – Annual Premiums ($/year)
State Car Type Average Premiums Difference
NSW New $1,297.22 $165.24
Old $1,131.97
QLD New $817.80 $117.29
Old $700.51
VIC New $1,156.71 $162.60
Old $994.11
SA New $905.32 $118.13
Old $787.20
WA New $902.40 $126.40
Old $776.00
TAS New $835.40 $117.43
Old $717.97
Source: as at 4 May 2017.

Premiums are based on Canstar’s 2017 Car Insurance Star Ratings.

Beware the ‘hidden’ excess trap

Although opting for a higher excess is one way to lower your car insurance premiums, this can be deceiving when you’re comparing policies. One policy might look like they’re cheaper than other policies because they have a higher excess – and therefore have a lower annual premium.

But here at Canstar, we know that having to pay a higher excess at claim time is certainly not cheap. That’s why when we compare policies, we don’t just consider the monthly premium and leave it at that.

Instead, we combine part of the excess with the annual premium to calculate the total net cost of a policy based on claim statistics, and the result contributes to the star rating we give each product.

car insurance excess traps

Factoring in the excess is just one small part of the unique methodology behind the Canstar ‘Outstanding Value’ 5-star ratings for car insurance.

Learn more about how car insurance excesses are charged, or start comparing your options:

Find out which insurers have won our annual Car Insurance Awards or compare the rest of the market to search for policies that are outstanding value:

Read our detailed Car Insurance Awards & Star Ratings Methodology to understand why a car insurance policy might receive a 5-star rating for a particular driver profile:

Important Notes:

To the extent that the information in this article constitutes general advice, this advice has been prepared by CANSTAR Research Pty Ltd A.C.N. 114 422 909 AFSL and ACL 437917 (“CANSTAR”).  The information has been prepared without taking into account your individual investment objectives, financial circumstances or needs.   Before you decide whether or not to acquire a particular financial product you should assess whether it is appropriate for you in the light of your own personal circumstances, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  You may wish to obtain financial advice from a suitably qualified adviser before making any decision to acquire a financial product.

Canstar provides information about financial products. It is not a product provider and in giving you information it is not making any suggestion or recommendation to you about a particular product.  Please refer to Canstar’s FSCG for more information.

All information obtained by Canstar from external sources is believed to be accurate and reliable. Under no circumstances shall Canstar have any liability to any person or entity due to error (negligence or otherwise) or other circumstances or contingency within or outside the control of Canstar or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents in connection with the procurement, collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation, communication, publication, or delivery of any such information. Copyright 2014 CANSTAR Research Pty Ltd A.C.N. 114 422 909.  The word “CANSTAR”, the gold star in a circle logo (with or without surmounting stars), are trademarks or registered trademarks of CANSTAR Pty Ltd.   Reference to third party products, services or other information by trade name, trademark or otherwise does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of Canstar by the respective trademark owner.

Consider the provider’s detailed product and pricing information before making a decision to purchase a policy. The products displayed on this page do not include all providers and may not compare all features relevant to you. View the Canstar Car Insurance  Star Ratings Methodology and Report. The rating shown is only one factor to take into account when considering products.