Get the Finder app 🥳

Track your credit score, free


Do demerit points affect your car insurance?

Racking up infractions on the road? It could make insurance harder to get.


Fact checked

Australia’s system of demerit points to punish rule breakers on the road can be difficult to navigate. It’s hard enough to figure out how many points you even have accumulated without trying to calculate how they’re going to affect your monthly premiums. To make it easier to understand, we’ve broken it down below.

How do demerit points affect your insurance?

To put it simply, the more demerit points you have, the higher your premiums will be. Two otherwise identical drivers, one with some demerit points and the other with none, will likely be offered very different insurance costs.

Why do they affect your insurance?

Demerit points matter because insurers base your policy cost on a range of factors, including things like age, gender and driving history. The more likely you are to get into an accident based on past behaviour, the less willing they are to insure you as the chances of you claiming are higher. Since demerit points are earned by breaking the rules of the road, insurers use them as just another piece of the puzzle when determining how well you actually drive, which affects the cost of what they’ll offer you.

Keep in mind that demerit points are not the end of the world when it comes to insurance premiums. Precisely because insurers take so many factors into consideration, demerit points may have a relatively low impact on total premium price.

How long do they affect your insurance?

Generally, demerit points last for three years from the date of the offence. In some cases, offences from more than three years ago may still apply because it can take time for the relevant state government to be informed of the offence (for example, if a court case is involved). Once expired, offences should be dropped from your driving record and therefore no longer affect any premiums. It’s important to always make sure your driving record is up-to-date and correct before applying for auto insurance to avoid incorrect charges.

How many demerit points can I have?

All Australian drivers, regardless of state, start at zero demerit points and gain them for various traffic offences. Once you get to a certain maximum limit, your licence will be suspended. The maximum number of demerit points you can have varies from state to state and also depends on what kind of licence you have.

For unrestricted licence holders, 12 points are allowed before suspension in every state except for NSW, which allows for 13 points. The maximum for restricted licences varies from state to state, from four points for learner drivers in NSW or Queensland to five points in Victoria; provisional drivers are allowed five points in Victoria and seven points in NSW. The three-year expiry period for points applies the same across Australia.

What are the different penalties in each state and what are the demerit points?

This is where the whole demerit system can get quite complicated. NSW alone has over 200 unique driving offences and you can earn more depending on whether the offence was committed in a school zone or if it’s a public holiday. Certain actions, such as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, may not incur demerit points but instead the outright suspension of your licence.

The table below lists out some of the major offences in each state and the demerit points they bring, to help you get a handle on the situation.

Demerit point fines per state

Speeding by 10km/h over the limit11212
Speeding by 25km/h over the limit44345
Not stopping at a red light33333
Using a phone while driving44333

How to check demerit points?

If you’re worried about your own driving record and how many demerit points you may already have, you should be able to find out online. Here are links and any information you might need for each state:

  • NSW: To check your demerit points, you’ll need to have or create a MyServiceNSW account.
  • WA: You’ll need your licence details.
  • QLD: You will need to either make or register a Transport and Main Roads account or use a Queensland Government (QGov) account.
  • SA: You will need to create or make a mySA GOV account.
  • NT: You will need extensive details from your licence.
  • TAS: You can’t check your Tasmanian demerit points online. You will need to contact Service Tasmania on 1300 13 55 13 with your licence details.
  • ACT: You will need to apply for a Licence History. To do this, you require a completed search of ACT records application form (from its site), two forms of proof of identity (one primary) and a $25.60 fee. Alternatively, you can call up Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Looking to save some cash? When was the last time you compared car insurance?

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
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
Finder's summary: Bingle consistently come up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. They only cover 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 their premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low cost option that covers them for the basics.
Qantas Comprehensive
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
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription - you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at anytime. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who only need cover for a short period of time.
Youi Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Youi Comprehensive Car Insurance is one of the few providers to include roadside assistance in their policy. You'll also get access to YouiRewards which gives you discounts on furniture, parking and more. Youi also have a live chat feature on their 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.
Coles Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Virgin Comprehensive
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 when you buy online and get access to their hail hero service.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy that's affordable.
Real Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Real Comprehensive Car Insurance provides similar coverage to other insurers for the important stuff like looking after your car if it's stolen or you crash. They're also one of the few insurers who offer a Pay As You Drive policy, so you might be able to save big if you don't drive much.

Who it might be good for: Those that don't drive much can take advantage of their Pay As You Drive policy.
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 on their online store. This usually comes in the form of a gift voucher or discount if you buy online. Plus, Kogan offer a pay as you drive option, which could be good if you're not on the road that much.

Who it might be good for: Kogan shoppers and those that don't drive much.

Compare up to 4 providers

Picture: Unsplash

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site