High-risk car insurance

Steps get cover when insurers classify you as a high-risk driver

Insurance providers are risk management specialists. When a car insurance provider sets your premiums, they’re largely based on what kind of risk level the insurer perceives you to be. Factors insurers consider can include driver age, driving history and vehicle.

If you’ve had a suspended license or have a history of traffic infringements, you might be lumped into an extra-high-risk category, raising your premiums even higher on top of the normal risk factors. In addition, your risk factor might be further compounded by the type of car you’re driving. Altogether, these and other risk factors make a substantial difference to your premiums.

What makes someone a high-risk driver?

Generally, different insurers will have their own driver categories. Some might have three different tiers (low, medium and high risk) while others might take a more nuanced approach with additional categories and the consideration of more factors.

Your category will affect your premiums, and your category is generally determined by a combination of risk factors, which can both raise and lower your premiums by different amounts. It can be a good idea to get a solid understanding of the factors affecting car insurance premiums, so you can easily pick out ways to reduce your costs. Some of the following factors can bump your risk level up:

  • Being a learner driver or on P plates
  • Having a history of speeding, DUIs or other violations
  • Spending a lot more time on the road than other customers
  • Having a high-powered car
  • Having made a lot of car insurance claims in the past

If you’ve been lumped into a high-risk car insurance category, there’s no magic bullet for more cover at lower cost. It’s worth comparing cover from a range of providers and if necessary, speaking with a specialist car insurance provider.

Do I have to let my insurer know if my license has been suspended?

Yes. The terms of most policies stipulate that you need to tell your insurer about anything that raises your risk level unless you can reasonably expect the provider to know about it already.

  • If your insurer does know about it, then informing them probably won’t affect your premiums.
  • If your insurer doesn’t know about it, then not telling them may be used to deny a claim later on.

It’s generally a good idea to let your insurer know about it.

How to reduce the risk and cut your costs

The following are some of the major steps you can take to reduce premiums:

  • Keep an eye out for discounts. Some brands offer discounts as high as 25% just for taking out cover online.
  • A different policy. You can choose a third party property damage only policy or a third party policy with fire and theft cover. This means giving up the benefits of comprehensive car insurance, but it can greatly reduce the cost of a policy.
  • Drive less. You might start taking public transport and get rides whenever you can, so you don’t drive unless you really need to. There are pay as you go car insurance policies which let you nominate a kilometre limit per policy period, which can give you reduced premiums for staying within it. If you need to go over your kilometre limit, you can top up your policy on a case by case basis.
  • Choose a higher excess. This has a major effect on your premiums. You might choose an unpleasantly high excess and then save your car insurance for the really important claims, like liability costs or a total loss.
  • Park off the street. A lot of car insurance claims come from someone damaging your car overnight. Some insurers may offer lower prices to people who park cars off the street, preferably under cover or inside a lockable garage.
  • Remove any modifications. These add to the overall value of a car and to your premiums.

You can also find multiple ways to stack smaller discounts on top of each other.

  • Nominate a driver. Depending on the policy, you might be able to reduce costs by specifically nominating yourself as the only driver.
  • Pay premiums annually. If possible, it often costs less overall to pay premiums in annual instalments rather than doing it monthly or fortnightly.
  • Use security devices. A lot of insurers will extend discounts to you if your car has certain security devices.
  • Use market value. It’s usually cheaper to insure a car at market value instead of agreed value.
  • Look for a multi-policy discount. If you have other forms of cover with one provider, you are often able to get a multi-policy discount, to the tune of 5-10%, by taking out car insurance with the same insurer.
  • Complete a defensive driving course. Even if you don’t need it, having a driving certificate can mean lower premiums with some insurers. Generally, courses need to be approved by the insurer.
  • Buy online. Significant discounts may be available for signing up online.

Compare car insurance policies from Australian brands

Each insurance brand will have an assessment criteria for applicants. It is crucial that you disclose all details to your insurance brand that may impact whether or not cover may be provided.
Details Features
Comprehensive
Comprehensive
15% discount for comprehensive policies purchased online.
  • Lifetime Guarantee on all authorised car repairs as long as you own the car.
  • Flexible payment options
  • 24/7 phone & online claims service
  • Up to $1,000 key replacement and lock re-code
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Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Get comprehensive cover for damage to your car and other people's cars and property.
  • Accidental Damage
  • Fire and theft of car
  • No age restrictions on drivers
  • Any number of drivers
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Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Save up to 10% when you buy online.
  • Protection against accidents, fire, storms, theft, damage to car and belongings
  • New car replacement in first 12 months
  • Guarantee on repairs for specially selected insurers
  • Lock and key replacement cover if keys are stolen
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Gold Comprehensive
Gold Comprehensive
Save 15% on Gold Comprehensive when you purchase online. Optional 24/7 roadside assistance with unlimited callouts.
  • New for old replacement for the earlier of 2 years/40,000kms
  • $850 ($100/day) emergency transport and accommodation
  • Cover for replacement of keys up to $500
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Comprehensive
Comprehensive
24/7 roadside assistance and up to $20 million in liability cover.
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Comprehensive cover for accidental damage
  • Optional hire car provision up to 14 days
  • Up to $20,000 legal liability optional cover
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Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Buy online to save 15% off your car insurance policy and receive a free 7" Android tablet.
  • New for old replacement for the earlier of 2 years/40,000kms
  • Online discount of 25%
  • $850 ($100/day) emergency transport and accommodation
  • $1,000 cover for hire vehicle following theft (max 14 days)
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Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Price beat guarantee for comparable comprehensive policies for drivers aged 25 or older.
  • New for old replacement of your car - 24 months
  • Choice of agreed value of car
  • Third party property damage
  • Theft and malicious damage cover
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Price Saver (Comprehensive)
Price Saver (Comprehensive)
Up to 15% discount for comprehensive policies purchased online.
  • Repairs with authorised dealers guaranteed
  • New for old replacement for the earlier of 2 years/40,000kms
  • No Fault Accident, no excess
  • Hail SMS alerts
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Comprehensive
Comprehensive
Low-cost, straightforward car insurance aimed at safe drivers.
  • Up to $20 million in liability cover
  • Optional windscreen and window glass only cover
  • Optional car hire replacement cover
  • Fast, simple online claims process
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Details Features
Third Party Fire and Theft
Third Party Fire and Theft
15% discount for comprehensive policies purchased online.
  • $3,000 uninsured motorist damage*
  • $20 million legal liability cover
  • $1,000 hire vehicle following theft
  • After-hours claim helpline
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Third Party Fire and Theft
Third Party Fire and Theft
Covers damage to other people’s cars or property, plus fire and theft protection for your car.
  • Damage to other people's property caused by car
  • Fire and theft of car
  • Accidental damage to car not covered
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Third Party Property, Fire and Theft
Third Party Property, Fire and Theft
Save up to 10% when you buy online. Receive cover for Third Party Property Damage along with theft or attempted theft, malicious damage and fire.
  • Cover for accidental loss or damage to car from theft, malicious damage and fire
  • New car replacement in first 12 months
  • Guarantee on repairs for specially selected insurers
  • Lock and key replacement cover if keys are stolen
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Third Party Fire and Theft
Third Party Fire and Theft
Cover for your car against damage by fire and theft. Get discount for restricted drivers. Optional 24/7 roadside assistance with unlimited callouts.
  • Fire and theft cover
  • $3,000 cover for damaged by an uninsured driver if not at fault
  • Liability cover for your car's damage to third party property
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Third Party Fire and Theft Cover
Third Party Fire and Theft Cover
Receive 15% off Third Party Fire and Theft Cover from Dodo when you buy online.
  • Up to $20 million in legal liability cover
  • $3,000 cover for Uninsured Motorists Damage
  • $1,000 cover (limit 14 days) for hire vehicle following theft
  • Lump sum or installment payments available
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Third Party Fire and Theft
Third Party Fire and Theft
Up to $20 million in legal liability cover and up to $5,000 cover for damage sustained by uninsured drivers.
  • Legal liability up to $20 million
  • Replacement vehicle up to 14 days
  • Cover for fire damage and theft of vehicle
  • Up to $750 cover for contents inside vehicle
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Third Party Fire and Theft
Third Party Fire and Theft
Up to $20 million in legal liability cover and a lifetime guarantee on repairs.
  • Hire vehicle following theft - $1,000 cover (limit 14 days)
  • New for old replacement (in first 12 months)
  • Lifetime guarantee on repairs
  • $20 million legal liability
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Details Features
Third Party Property
Third Party Property
15% discount for comprehensive policies purchased online.
  • $3,000 uninsured motorist damage*
  • $20 million legal liability cover
  • Flexible payment options
  • After-hours claim helpline
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Third Party
Third Party
Covers damage to other people’s cars or property, but not your own.
  • Damage to other people’s property caused by owner's car
  • Fire and Theft of car not covered
  • Accidental damage to car not covered
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Third Party Property Damage
Third Party Property Damage
Save up to 10% when you buy online. Protects you against the cost of any damage to other people’s cars and property.
  • Up to 20 million legal liability cover
  • Limited protection for damage caused by uninsured drivers
  • Roadside assistance option for breakdowns, batteries and flat tyres
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Third Party Property
Third Party Property
Cover for your car against damage to other peoples property. Get discount for restricted drivers and optional 24/7 roadside assistance with unlimited callouts.
  • Liability cover for your car's damage to third party property
  • $3,000 cover for damaged by an uninsured driver if not at fault
  • Lifetime guarantee on repairs
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Third Party Property
Third Party Property
Buy online to save 15% off Third Party Property Car insurance from Dodo.
  • Lifetime guarantee on repairs
  • $3,000 for Uninsured Motorists Damage
  • Up to $20 million legal liability cover
  • Lump sum or installment payments
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Third Party Property Damage
Third Party Property Damage
Price beat guarantee for comparable policies for drivers aged 25 or older.
  • Substitute car cover
  • Uninsured motorist benefit
  • Third party property damage
  • No extra charge for paying monthly
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Third Party Property Only
Third Party Property Only
Up to $20 million in legal liability cover for any accidents and damage caused to other properties.
  • Legal liability up to $20 million
  • Replacement vehicle up to 14 days
  • Up to $5,000 cover for accidental damage by uninsured third party
  • Maritime liability cover up to $10,000
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Third Party Property
Third Party Property
Lifetime guarantee on repairs and up to $20 million in cover for legal liability.
  • Lifetime guarantee on repairs
  • $20 million legal liability
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Third Party Property Damage
Third Party Property Damage
Receive up to $20 million in liability cover for accidental damage to someone else's car or property.
  • Up to $20 million in liability cover
  • Fast, simple online claims process
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Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com.au, comparing products, writing guides, sniffing out deals and looking for new ways to help people get the most out of their money.

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