What Is Car Insurance & How Does It Work?

21 September 2016

No matter what vehicle you drive, whether you’re driving it every day, just for work, or just on the weekends, it’s important to understand what car insurance is, and just how important it could be. 

According to the ABS 2016 Motor Vehicle Census, there are 18 million motor vehicles registered in Australia. This includes over 16 million passenger cars and commercial cars, around 3 million trucks, and over 807,200 motorbikes, and the number is growing at a rate of 2.4% every year. Over the past 12 months, 1.12 million new cars were sold in Australia.

Aussies are especially buying more motorbikes, light trucks, and campervans now than we were in 2010. Motorbikes and scooters are the fastest growing type of vehicle as our capital cities getting more crowded.

No matter what vehicle you drive, whether you’re driving it every day, just for work, or just on the weekends, you need to make sure it is properly insured.


What is car insurance?

Car insurance is an insurance policy that covers damage to other people’s property or their car, harm to other people, or damage to your own car, including accident and theft, depending on the type of policy you have.

Road accident statistics in Australia

The annual economic cost of road crashes in Australia is a shocking $27 billion. The average age of vehicles registered in Australia is 10 years – around the time when your car starts to show some wear and tear and has an increased risk of getting in an accident.

Motor vehicle theft statistics in Australia

According to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, there was 54,094 vehicle thefts in Australia in the year to June 2015 – that’s an average of 1,482 vehicle thefts per day. Of that, car theft represented an average of 118 per day

All vehicles that are 25 years or newer are manufactured with immobilisers to prevent theft, but that’s no use if owners leave their keys in an obvious place, or even leave their car unlocked. People tend to assume that if their car is at home, it’s safe – but 47% of stolen vehicles are taken outside your own home or a friend’s home, according to the ABS. What’s more, you’re also at risk of losing valuable property that you leave inside your car.

And it turns out that thieves love motorbikes, too, with 8,299 motorbikes stolen in the year to June 2016.

With statistics like this, you should make sure your vehicle is covered at least for accident or theft.

Types of motor vehicle insurance

There are four main types of car insurance:

What is car insurance claims Compulsory Third Party (CTP)
Third Party Property
Third Party, Fire and Theft


Car problemsCase study: Richie’s lack of insurance gets him into debt

“Richie decided not to get any extra insurance on top of his CTP because his car was very old. A few months later, he hit a brand new sports car, which needed $20,000 worth of repairs. Because he was not insured for damage to other cars, Richie had to take out an expensive personal loan and work extra hours to pay off the debt over 5 years.” Source

Compare Car Insurance Policies with CANSTAR

Canstar have made it easy for you to compare car insurance policies on our website with our Expert Ratings.



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