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Car insurance without a permanent address

Travellers, backpackers and newcomers can still get car insurance without a permanent address.

You need to provide your insurer with an address when you purchase a car insurance policy. However, many travellers, backpackers and Aussies don't have a permanent address, but that doesn't mean you can't get car insurance. In most cases, you can put down the address where the car spends most of its time.

Do you need a permanent address to get car insurance?

There are plenty of people with cars who do not have a permanent address. However, in order to get car insurance, you need to put down an address. You will usually be asked for the address where the car is normally kept at night.

Why? Because where you live helps insurers determine your premiums. This is because they use data to assess the risk of insuring your car, looking at factors such as theft and vandalism in the area, traffic accidents and the number of drivers on the road. By putting down an address, they'll have a clearer idea of the risks you're likely to encounter.

However, that shouldn't prevent you from travelling or seeing Australia. In most cases, you should still be covered if you plan to take a road trip. Just keep in mind that exclusions and limitations may apply so it's worth checking your product disclosure statement beforehand.

How to get car insurance without a permanent address

When you purchase a car insurance policy, you'll need to put down a fixed address. If you don't have a permanent address, you need to put down the address where the car spends most of its time e.g. where your car is usually parked overnight. If you're not sure, you won't be able to proceed. If you are staying with friends, in a hostel or backpacker lodge, you should put that as the address.

If for instance you put down a hostel you are staying in, it's worth updating your insurer each time you change address.

Some providers will be happy to insure you if you can provide your electoral roll address. Of course, this only helps if you are an Australian resident.

It's also worth keeping in mind that if you leave your nominated residential state for more than three months then you need to change your driver's licence and registration to the new state you are residing in. So for example, if you originally registered in New South Wales but have spent more than three months in Victoria, you are legally required to register in Victoria.

If you're travelling for more than three months but have not stayed in one state the entire time, you are not required to change your address.

What if I'm homeless and need car insurance?

If you don't have a home, you should put down the address your car is at most frequently. If you don't have a fixed address (somewhere your car spends most of its time), an insurer won't be able to offer you insurance. But if you find yourself spending a majority of your time in a particular area, you should be okay to just use the place where the car is parked most of the time.

Getting car insurance if you're new to Australia

If you've just arrived in Australia and don't yet have a permanent address, you should put down the address you are residing in, provided that is where the car will also be parked at night. It could be a hostel, backpacker lodge, airbnb or hotel. Once you have a permanent address, you should call your insurer before moving and let them know that your address will be changing. Not only will this allow them to recalculate your premiums based upon where you are moving, but it ensures any mail will go to the correct address. Other important requirements include:

  • An overseas licence that is current and valid. You will need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) if your licence is in a language other than English. You will need to apply for a local licence if your overseas licence expires while you are in Australia.
  • Registration. If it hasn't been done already, you will need to register your car in the state you live in. If you are not sure if it has been registered or not, you can check online for free on the Australian government website.
  • CTP insurance. Cars registered in Australia also need to have compulsory third party insurance (CTP). CTP covers the driver for liability e.g. if you are at fault, CTP covers you for any compensation for injury or death that would need to be paid to other parties.
  • All insurers require you to keep them informed if you change address. Where you reside can have a significant impact on your premiums. To avoid claims being rejected, always keep your insurer in the loop. Also, if you move to a different state for more than three months, you are required to register in the new state.

In New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, you will need to take out CTP insurance yourself. You can do this through a state approved insurer. In all other states, CTP insurance is included when you register your vehicle. Keep in mind though that this is the bare minimum. If you're planning to travel, or simply want full protection, your best option is comprehensive car insurance.

Compare car insurance policies

Name Product Roadside assistance Accidental damage Storm Choice of repairer Agreed or market value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: The 2023 winner of our Best Value Car Insurance award. It's cheaper than most, plus you can lower costs by adding age restrictions.

⭐ Current offer: 15% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Anyone who wants a good value policy.
Youi Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: The 2023 winner of our Best Features Car Insurance award. Plus, it's one of the only insurers to automatically include roadside assistance.

Who it might be good for: Those who want good customer service with lots of inclusions.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Covers a little more than other insurers. You don’t need to pay an excess for windscreen repairs and cover applies to anyone who uses your car.

⭐ Current offer: Get $100 off your first year's comprehensive car insurance premium when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Multiple people using one car.
Bingle Comprehensive
Finder's summary: Our data shows it’s the cheapest comprehensive policy. It just covers the basics such as damage to your car, theft and storms – it doesn’t go in for add-ons and extras.

Who it might be good for: Those wanting a low-cost, no-frills policy.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Our best-rated Car Insurer for Customer Satisfaction in 2021/2022 and Green Insurer for the last 3 years.

⭐ Current offer: Save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those who want a trustworthy insurer and more cover than other brands, such as 3-year new car replacement (e.g. they'll give you money for a new car for up to 3 years if yours is written off).
Kogan Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Kogan comes with all the perks that most comprehensive car insurance policies include, but you'll also be entitled to some benefits from its online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online.

⭐ Current offer: Get $115 off first year premiums when you purchase Kogan Comprehensive Car Insurance online + $10 monthly credit. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those after a good range of policy options.
Qantas Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You need car insurance so why not get one that lets you earn Qantas Points? It's good value too (it's underwritten by the same insurer as Budget Direct). .

⭐ Current offer: Earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points with every Qantas Car Insurance policy you take out by 7 February. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want more bang for their buck with Qantas Points.

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