How to check car insurance

Finance Writer · 29 June 2021
Checking your car insurance from time to time could be a good idea, particularly if you are unsure of when the compulsory cover for the car you are driving expires.

Compulsory third party car insurance, (known as CTP insurance or Green Slip insurance in NSW) is compulsory for every registered vehicle in Australia. In all states and territories, it is a legal requirement to purchase CTP insurance at the same time as you register your vehicle. Some states give you a choice of insurance provider, while others provide the insurance through government-owned insurance commissions.

If you are taking ownership of a used car or are just unsure of when your current registration and CTP insurance expire, you can visit the website of your state or territory vehicle registration department and check online using the vehicle registration plate.

In this article, we explain:

How do I know if my car is insured?

To check if the vehicle you are driving is registered and covered by CTP insurance, you can visit the ‘check registration’ website of the state or territory your car is registered in. These checks are free of charge and will include, as a minimum:

  • the status and expiry date of the current registration period; plus
  • the make, model, year and colour of your vehicle

The expiry date of your CTP car insurance will be the same as the car’s registration expiry date, since regardless of where you live, it’s a legal requirement to purchase both at the same time. You can’t have one without the other.

To check if any other car insurance policies you may hold, such as comprehensive car insurance, third party property damage and third party fire and theft, are up to date, it may be a good idea to speak with your insurer directly. It’s likely you would have received information about any policies when taking them out, either as a hard copy or electronically, that you may be able to refer to. You may also have an online account with your car insurance provider that includes your policy details and renewal dates.

How do I check who my car is insured with?

If you live in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia or the ACT, your CTP insurance will be provided by your choice of one of the following providers, which have been selected by your state or territory government.

  • NSW: AAMI, Allianz, NRMA, GIO, QBE and Youi
  • Queensland: Allianz, QBE, RACQ, Suncorp
  • South Australia: AAMI, Allianz, QBE Insurance, SGIC

You can check who your car is insured with using your vehicle registration number on the check registration website of the state or territory your car is registered in. Along with your registration details, you can also see who your CTP insurer is and the policy expiry date. While you can change provider if you wish, you can generally only do this at the commencement of the next registration period for your vehicle (at registration renewal time, in other words).

In Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, CTP insurance is only provided by government-owned insurance commissions.

Should I check my car insurance on a regular basis?

Checking the registration and compulsory car insurance status of a vehicle is a good idea if you are thinking of buying or selling a used car. Some sellers choose to sell their car just as the registration is expiring to save on renewal fees, while some buyers are attracted to cars that come with a few months left on the registration. It’s also a good idea if you are interested in comparing CTP premiums from other insurance providers, if you live in a state that gives you a choice of provider.

If you are driving a car that is not your own, it’s important to know that as the driver, you are responsible for ensuring the car is registered and covered by a CTP insurance policy. If you are involved in an accident and found to be at fault, you could be liable for the legal fees and treatment of others who are injured if you don’t have CTP car insurance in place.

Aside from CTP insurance, you may want to check details of any wider car insurance policies you own, such as comprehensive cover, third party property damage and third party fire and theft cover. If your car insurance policies are due for renewal soon, there may be deals and renewal offers you can consider. Canstar also rates and compares comprehensive car insurance providers across Australia, with recent research revealing considerable savings could be available by switching to an Award-winning provider.

How do I check when my car insurance expires?

You should be able to check when your car insurance expires by visiting the applicable state or territory roads and transport department website based on where the car is registered, and checking the registration details online. You will need your registration number to access the details.

We have listed the websites for each state and territory below:

If you have purchased additional optional insurance, such as a comprehensive car insurance policy, then you will find the expiry date for the policy on your insurance certificate. A car insurance certificate is a document provided to you after you purchase an insurance policy that provides proof of your cover. It may also be known more formally as a Certificate of Insurance or Certificate of Currency.

Is my car automatically insured when I renew the registration?

In Australia, it is compulsory to take out CTP insurance at the time of registration. The exact process for doing this varies depending on which state or territory you live in. However, you can’t renew your car registration without also renewing your CTP insurance policy.

If you live in a state where CTP insurance is offered by multiple providers, you will need to select the insurance provider and provide proof of purchase before you can complete the car registration process. In those states and territories that offer CTP insurance through government-owned commissions, your CTP insurance will automatically be included in your registration.

Other types of car insurance are optional and not included as part of your registration, meaning you will generally need to purchase and renew these policies separately. The insurer you choose for your third party property, third party fire and theft or comprehensive car insurance does not have to be the same one that provides your CTP cover.

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Compare Car Insurance with Canstar

If you’re comparing 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’ websites. Check upfront with your provider and read the PDS to confirm whether a particular policy meets your needs before deciding to commit to it. Use Canstar’s car insurance comparison selector to view a wider range of policies. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.

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