Do demerit points affect your car insurance?
Racking up infractions on the road? It could make insurance harder to get.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
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 limit||1||1||2||1||2|
|Speeding by 25km/h over the limit||4||4||3||4||5|
|Not stopping at a red light||3||3||3||3||3|
|Using a phone while driving||4||4||3||3||3|
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?
More guides on Finder
ALDI’s 2021 Boxing Day deals revealed
ALDI has revealed its Boxing Day deals for 2021 and there are some great bargains on camping gear, home entertainment and audio gear. Here are the highlights.
Last minute Christmas gifts: Same day delivery
Are you trying to complete your Christmas shopping with mere hours to spare? These are the last-minute gifts you're looking for.
New on Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, Stan, Foxtel, BINGE and more in January 2022
You can easily elevate your binge-watching game in the New Year.
Where to buy Rightsign COVID rapid-antigen tests
Test yourself at home for COVID-19 with a Rightsign testing kit from one of these online stores. Results in 10-15 minutes.
Where to buy Ecotest COVID rapid-antigen tests
Buy an Ecotest rapid antigen testing kit from one of these online stores and find out if you have COVID-19 in just 10 minutes.
Where to buy Lyher COVID rapid-antigen tests
Here are the online stores where you can buy TGA-approved Lyher testing kits so you can test yourself quickly at home.
Where to buy Hough COVID rapid-antigen tests
Need to quickly test yourself for COVID-19 at home? Find out where you can buy Hough COVID-19 testing kits online in Australia.
How to watch Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Stars BBL and match preview
The Hobart Hurricanes will be looking to stay in touch with the top 4 when they take on the Melbourne Stars this week.
Where to watch Disney’s Encanto online in Australia
You’re invited to find your own magic this holiday season.
Rex Airlines’ $59 flights knocks Virgin out of the park
Book your $59 full-service flights this Boxing Day with Rex Airlines' sale.
Ask an Expert