Young students driving car

Car insurance for international students

Heading down under for study? Learn the steps to get car insurance as an overseas student.

Australia has long been a popular option for overseas students looking to study abroad. If you are currently living in Australia as a temporary student or planning on visiting, you may have considered purchasing a car for getting around your area or for trips away. Whether you are borrowing a car or purchasing a car of your own for the duration of your stay, you will need to ensure that you have adequate cover in place.

This article will explore what you need to know about getting car insurance in Australia as an international student, licensing requirements and steps to pay less for cover.

Compare car insurance from these Australian brands and apply securely

Name Product New Car Replacement Pay monthly at no extra cost Choice of repairer Roadside Assistance Hire car after theft Personal effects
Optional - If your car is written off in the first 3 years
No
No
No
Optional - Up to $50 a day until your claim is settled
$0
Save 24% on your policy if you've been claim free for 3 years.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years or is under 40,000 km
No
Yes
Optional
Yes - Up to $1,000 (Max 14 days)
$250
Buy online and save 15%.
Yes - If your car is written off or stolen in the first 2 years
No
Yes
Yes
Yes - Reasonable costs (Max 14 days)
$750
Emergency roadside assistance included in Comprehensive policies.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
No
No
Optional
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
$500
Save up to 10% when you buy online.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years or is under 40,000 km
No
Yes
Optional
Yes - Up to $1,000 (Max 14 days)
$500
Save 15% when purchasing online. Eligible customers can earn up to 20,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer Points when purchasing a new policy by 31 Oct 2018. Excludes NT. Min 6mths policy & T&CS apply.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
No
No
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
$500
Transforms your driving so it's 100% carbon neutral.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
Yes
No
Yes - Up to $100 per day (Max 30 days)
$1,000
Buy online and save up to 10% on your policy.
Yes - If your car is written off in the first year or is under 20,000 km
No
No
Optional
Optional - Up to $60 per day (Max 14 days)
$500
Save up to 20% on car insurance when you purchase cover online.

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What you need to know about car insurance

Car insurance requirements are slightly different in each Australian state. When you register a vehicle, get car insurance or do anything else, you need to use the state where you are living or studying.

Compulsory third party (CTP) car insurance is mandatory cover in Australia.

  • This type of insurance only covers medical expenses. It does not pay for any property damage or vehicle damage.
  • The person who was responsible, or at fault, for an accident will pay medical costs with their CTP insurance policy.
  • If there was no one at fault, or no one knows who was responsible, your own CTP insurance policy should cover you.

Because CTP insurance does not include any cover for property damage or damage to your car, you should get additional car insurance too. There are three types of policies to choose from and you should choose the one that’s most suitable for you.

  • Comprehensive car insurance. This is the highest level of cover available and provides cover for a wide range of losses. It provides cover for various kinds of damage, including fire, theft, vandalism, flooding, storms, and hail. There are additional options offered such as accomodation cover and car hire theft cover.
  • Third party property damage. This type of insurance will only cover the cost of damage you cause to another person’s vehicle or property while driving. It generally does not insure your own car against any damage. Sometimes these policies will include extra benefits, such as covering the cost of a tow truck.
  • Third party property damage plus fire and theft. This covers damage to other people’s property or cars and also insures your own vehicle against fire damage or theft. Fire and theft are two of the most common causes of car insurance. It generally does not insure you for any damage to your own car other than fire and theft, but may include some additional benefits, like partially covering emergency repair costs.

About driver’s licenses and car registration

As an overseas student, you are recognised as a temporary resident. This means you’re able to use your current overseas driver’s license with no problems as long as it’s current and valid.

  • You must carry your driver’s license with you at all times while driving.
  • If your license is not in English, you will either need to carry an international driving permit or a certified translation of your license. To get a certified translation of your license, find a translator on the official NAATI website. Alternatively, you can get a license in Australia by passing the required tests.

You also need to register your car.

  • Each registration period is one year, and you need to renew it annually.
  • You get one year of registration included when you buy a new car. If you buy a second hand car, the seller should provide a transfer of registration form, which you need to send to the state motoring authority.

How much does car insurance cost?

How likely you are to make a claim and what risk group an insurer places you in determines the cost of your car insurance.

  • Male or female. Males are statistically at higher risk of accidents and will often pay more for car insurance than females.
  • Your age. If you are under 25 years of age, you will pay more for car insurance. Once you turn 26, you can start getting cheaper insurance with lower premiums.
  • Where you park the car. If your accommodation comes with undercover car parking, you can often pay less for car insurance than someone who has to park on the street.
  • How much your car costs. More expensive cars cost more to insure.
  • How much you drive. If you drive long distances every day, you will usually have to pay more for car insurance than someone who only drives short distances or not very often.
  • Your driving record. Safe drivers, who don’t have a history of car accidents, are often able to pay less for car insurance.
  • Where you are staying. If you live in a safe neighbourhood, you can often get lower prices than someone who lives in an area with a higher crime rate.
  • Your car’s safety rating. All cars in Australia have a safety rating. Insurers will often use these to set prices, and they will give lower premiums for safer cars.

Read the complete guide to car insurance cost

These are just some of the many factors which affect car insurance prices. To find out how much you’ll be paying, get quotes from multiple insurers.

Your car insurance premiums are the regular, ongoing costs of having a policy, but they are not the only expense. It’s also important to consider the excess.

  • The excess is a fee that you need to pay when making a claim.
  • There might be more than one excess on your policy, in which case you will need to pay all of them. For example, if you’re under 25, then you might have an age-related excess as well as the basic excess.
  • You are often able to choose your own basic excess. A higher excess will have lower premiums while a lower excess will have higher premiums. The choice is up to you, and how you want to balance the costs.

Important: There are many large and reputable car insurance providers in Australia. If you only get quotes from one, it’s likely that you will end up paying more than you need to for insurance. By getting a number of quotes, you can find the cheapest car insurance with the cover you need.

How to pay less for car insurance

There are a lot of different ways to reduce the cost of car insurance and make sure you have effective cover.

The only way to find the right cover, at the right price, is to get quotes from a range of different insurers.

Compare car insurance from Australian brands

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Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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