Car Insurance in NSW
Like many other countries, Australian road regulations require that your car be insured and have a valid registration at all times should it be driven on public roads.
The kind of insurance you need to hold to drive in Australia and what it covers slightly varies between states and territories. In this article, I'll be focussing on the state of New South Wales (NSW) as it is my home state - It should also be noted that costs of insuraing and registering your car in NSW is also substantially higher than other Australian states and territories due to the high risk factor allocated to the large cities in the states (including Sydney).
The following are the types of car insurance options available to drivers in NSW - Please note that this article in no way is intended to plug any particular insurance provider and is for general information only.
Compulsory Third Party Insurance a.k.a. CTP or 'Greenslip'
This type of insurance is mandatory for all types of vehicles across NSW - the cost of a CTP forms a major component of registration costs in NSW which drivers have to fork out each year.
There're 7 insurance providers which offer competetive CTP pricing and inclusions across NSW with each company using its own weightings and factors to determine final cost of the Greenslip to its end-consumer.
A CTP essentially covers drivers in the event of an accident which has injured them or fellow drivers and passengers - The CTP should be confused with 3rd party insurance which covers damage to vehicles and property rather than injuries sustained to occupants.
4 insurance companies out of the 7 in NSW also provide 'At Fault Driver' Cover on their CTP. Until the late 00's, drivers at fault were not covered for their injuries (unless catastrophic) during an accident which demanded reforms from both the consumers and industry bodies.
Other standard inclusions in a CTP also include Lifetime medical cover for seriously injured drivers/passengers (funded by a Medical Care levy in addition to the base premium which is shown as a seperate item on your statement).
The costs? Well these vary based on your age, gender and how many years you've held your licence and if you have any demerit points. Based on my research and as a rough guide, a 30 year old male in Sydney with no demerit points over the past 3 years and driving a European car (having held a full licence for over 5 years) can look at paying around $700.00 for the year (plus standard registration costs of around $330.00) - Yes, it is not cheap however it is compulsary.
From what I've seen so far, AAMI offers the cheapest CTP (albeit without 'At Fault Driver Cover') while NRMA seemed the priciest of the lot (especially for European cars).
Third Party Cover/ Third Party + FIre & Theft Cover
In NSW, it is not compulsary to hold any kind of insurance (with the exception of the CTP) however it makes sense to take out some protection (especially if you live around Sydney).
There're many insurance providers out there (in addition to and including the 7 which issue Greenslips) and this segment with the aim of providing cheap car insurance is getting increasing competetive thanks to new players entering the market.
The Third Party Insurance scheme essentially covers drivers involved in an accident for costs to repair someone else's car or public property but not their own vehicle. It is a great way to save some coin considering Third Party Insurance can be significantly cheaper than comprehensive policies .
In addition to standard third party insurance (which to my knowledge covers damange to public property upto a value of $20,000,000.00), drivers have the option of taking out additional fire and theft coverage.
As the term states, it covers the owner when the vehicle's stolen or catches fire (uptil a certain amount).
For example, NRMA's Fire and Theft policy covers damage due to fire uptil an amount of $10,000.00 or the market value of the vehicle - whichever's lesser).
If (like me) being totally risk-averse is your forte, then a comprehensive auto insurance is the way to go.
There're again plenty of players in this market too who're giving the big players a run for their marketing. For example, a company named 'Youii' tailers their insurance quotes based on actual kilometers driven instead of using a standard weighted rate.
The actual cost of a comprehsive insurance can vary on a lot of factors (including those that govern prices for Greenslips). These factors include the car, age, the age at which you received your licence, accident history (including at fault incidents) and also your post code and whether you wish to add additional drivers on the policy or not.
A comprehensive policy can also be tailored to include hire car relief should you become immobile and windscreen/glass replacement (with or without an excess).
For example, NRMA's Comprehensive PLUS insurance offers unlimited hire-car access and an excess free windscreen/glass replacement as against their standard comprehensive policy which charges an excess for windscreen/glass replacement and only offers hire-cars for up to 14 days.
So there you have it - a summary of auto insurance in the state of NSW here in Australia.
Drive safe and with consideration for yourself, your passengers, your car and others on the road and hopefully you'd never find yourself making a claim :)