When can you drive an unregistered vehicle legally?

You can only drive an unregistered vehicle if you're going to get it registered.

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Under normal circumstances, it's not worth it to take an unregistered vehicle out onto the road. If police catch you, you'll face a whole heap of awful consequences. Not only can you be fined for driving without registration and without insurance, but police can take off the car's number plates and even lawfully seize it if they choose.

You can only legally drive an unregistered vehicle in Australia if you're heading out to get it registered. Any possible use requires that the vehicle is in safe working condition to venture out onto the road.

Driving your unregistered vehicle to get it registered

Whether you're driving to obtain a pink slip (registration renewal) or a blue slip (unregistered vehicle inspection), you are legally permitted to drive your unregistered vehicle on the road. However, keep in mind:

  • You must go to the closest possible registration venue (no visiting your favourite mechanic a little further away).
  • You must use the shortest and easiest direct route.
  • You cannot make any stops along the way there or back, for example, stopping off for groceries or taking an unnecessary detour.
  • Deviation will likely land you a hefty fine.

You might be asked to provide evidence that you're heading over to get your vehicle registered, so might need to provide proof of your appointment or a receipt showing payment for that day.

What is an Unregistered Vehicle Permit and can I get one?

In certain situations, you may be forced to drive an unregistered vehicle for a limited amount of time for a very specific purpose. This could be the result of purchasing a vehicle interstate and having to drive it back home to get it registered, or it could be a one-off move of a vehicle from one place to another, or you may need to drive your unregistered racecar on the road.

In Australia, you can apply for an Unregistered Vehicle Permit (UVP) at your road and transport authority. This will allow you to undertake a specific journey or set of journeys over a period of up to 28 days. Keep in mind that this is not intended to replace full vehicle registration and any departure from the approved use will result in the usual fees and consequences. As with any car, you must have the proper official proof that your vehicle is in a safe condition following an inspection. You'll be given a permit and a label that you should keep on display at all times.

NSW Unregistered Vehicle Permit

The method of obtaining a UVP differs from state to state, but you can obtain one in NSW by visiting your nearest Service NSW centre.

What if I get pulled over?

While the above uses are permitted in Australia, it's highly possible that any police who pull you over because you lack the proper registration may not be aware of the laws surrounding them. To avoid problems:

  • Ensure you have ready proof that you're going where you say you're going. This could be a copy of your safety check or inspection receipt.
  • Know your rights in court if you are issued a fine by the police.
  • Renew your registration before it expires to dodge the hassle in the first place.

Need to insure your car? Make sure you're comparing policies

Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: With Coles comprehensive car insurance, you could 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 your car is damaged, you could benefit from a one-week turnaround on repairs.

⭐ Current offer: Get 10% off your first year's premium when you take out a policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Australia Post Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Australia Post car insurance offers comprehensive cover for things like theft, fire, new for old replacement and emergency accommodation and transport. Cover also extends to anyone who uses your car, not just you.

⭐ Current offer: Get $75 online discount + $100 gift card when you purchase by 11 July 2021. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: If multiple people use the one car and you don’t want to worry about listing all drivers.
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.

⭐ Current offer: Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to manage their policy online 24/7.
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.

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

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. You don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, 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.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value.

⭐ Current offer: Earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up today and earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.

Who it might be good for: People who'd like to earn Qantas Points.
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.

⭐ Current offer: Get $50 cash back when you purchase online until 30 June 2021 using the code STELLA50. T&C apply.

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

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
Huddle Black Comprehensive
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Huddle's black comprehensive is its cover with highest limits and exclusive benefits. It includes roadside assistance. You can also get up to $2,000 for emergency travel and accommodation and up to $30 million legal liability cover.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a 24/7 claims processing.
PD Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed
Finder's summary: PD comprehensive car insurance policy lets you buy, manage, and start your claims process online. It includes cover for emergency repairs up to $500 and free windscreen chip repair. Ability to customise your extras cover.

⭐ Current offer: New policyholders can enjoy 15% off on their first year's premium. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those with low claims history and the only driver.
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.
ahm Comprehensive
Optional
Both
Finder's summary: ahm comprehensive car insurance lets you choose higher excess to reduce your premiums. Its Fixed Kilometre Plan can save you up to 30% compared to its standard comprehensive cover.

⭐ Current offer: Get up to 15% off when you purchase a new car insurance policy. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: People who drive less than 15,000 km per year.
QBE Comprehensive
Green Company
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2021 award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement.

⭐ Current offer: 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.
Woolworths Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Woolworths has some unique perks like a price-beat guarantee where it'll beat any current comparable comprehensive renewal notice if you're over 25. You can also get 10% off your grocery shop once a month and can add roadside assistance onto your policy for just $7.35 per month.

⭐ Current offer: Save up to 15% when you buy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Woolworths shoppers and those that want to take advantage of its price-beat guarantee.
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