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Car insurance without a permanent address

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

Updated

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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.

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
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary: Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2020 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. You'll get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you buy online and get access to its hail hero service. Plus, get a $100 e-gift card when you purchase a new policy by 30 November 2020 (T&Cs apply).

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to pick and choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be thanks to optional extras like roadside assistance, choice of your own repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus, you'll earn Qantas Points when you join and get access to the Qantas Wellness App.

Who it might be good for: People who love collecting frequent flyer points.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household. As at November 2020, new and existing customers will receive a 30% premium reduction. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
Youi Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in its policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also has a live chat feature on its site to talk through any questions.

Who it might be good for: People over 25 who want comprehensive cover with a focus on customer service
Woolworths Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths catches our eye due to some unique perks like a price-beat guarantee, where it'll beat any current comparable comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You'll also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.35 per month.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of its price-beat guarantee.
Stella Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Stella’s a female-focused insurer. It'll cover you if your car is damaged as a result of domestic violence. It offers higher cover for baby gear than most, with up to $2,000 cover for prams, strollers and child seats. You get a free Bauer magazine subscription when you sign up and a portion of your premiums go to supporting female-led businesses.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a female-centred car insurance policy (it will cover men too).
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