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Uninsured motorist benefit

Protection for your vehicle even if you don't have comprehensive cover.

Updated

Fact checked

If you're on the roads in Australia, there's a good chance you have some form of insurance be it comprehensive, third party property damage (TPPD), third party fire and theft (TPFT) or compulsory third party (CTP) insurance. But what happens when the person you're in an accident with doesn't have insurance?

Car insurance data from the 2015–16 General Insurance Code of Practice Report shows that there could be around 4 million uninsured drivers on Australian roads. If one of them collides with you, you may not be able to claim the damage if you don't have comprehensive car insurance.

Uninsured motorist benefit is a cover option you may want to consider. Read our breakdown to find out if it's right for you.

What is an uninsured motorist benefit?

While all car insurance policies provide cover if you should be at fault in a collision with another car, covering the majority of costs from damage, unless you have comprehensive car insurance you have no protection if someone else damages your vehicle. Most drivers generally have some level of insurance, but if they don't there may be no way to recoup the costs involved in an accident.

Uninsured motorist benefit is an option provided by most car insurance providers, which provides limits cover should an uninsured motorist be 100% at fault in a collision with your vehicle.

When does this type of cover come into effect?

If you're in a collision and the other driver is totally at fault and doesn't have insurance, you can contact your insurance provider and make a claim for the damage or injury. The benefit doesn't apply if you're in any way at fault.

Which policies have this benefit?

Cover will vary from insurer to insurer. However, uninsured motorist benefit is typically included in comprehensive cover or available as an optional extra. TPPD and TPFT policies usually offer uninsured motorist benefit as additional cover and often increase your premium. This is due to the added risk of another motorist being at fault in a collision with you, rather than only your personal risk of an at-fault collision being assessed.

How much cover do these policies offer?

Cover varies depending on your policy and any additional cover. On average, insurance providers offer up to $5,000 to cover any damage and towing costs. However, this amount can be higher for comprehensive cover. If you have this benefit through a TPPD or TPFT policy, this amount can be negotiated if your car has a higher value. Be sure to discuss cover limits for uninsured motorist benefit with your insurance provider before you take out a policy.

What are your options when claiming this benefit?

Unless you have comprehensive cover, your options are limited. As standard, the insurer offers the limited amount no matter the extent of damage, additional charges or if your car is considered a total loss.

What should you do following an accident?

If you're involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault and uninsured, first take any possible measures to get to a safe distance from traffic, prevent any further damage or injury and contact any emergency services required. Collect the details of the driver(s) involved, including names, addresses, contact numbers, email addresses, driver's licence and registration numbers. If there are any witnesses to the accident, collect their information as well. Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to lodge your claim and access any additional benefits your policy gives you.

For more details, read our guide to what to do after a car accident.

Bottom line

We all feel like competent drivers. We all do the right thing and get appropriate car insurance to protect against accidents and unexpected bumps on the road. But there are some still on the roads without insurance and unless you have comprehensive cover, you'll be naked against the cost of a collision with an at-fault uninsured driver. Be sure to ask your insurance provider about their uninsured motorist benefit and consider if it's right for you.

Want to protect your car? Get comprehensive car insurance

Comparing car insurance will not only make sure that you get the right price, but also, that you get the right product. When choosing a policy, don't forget to check out the Product Disclosure Statement to make sure it suits your needs.

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 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
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 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
Optional
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
Optional
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
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 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
Optional
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
Optional
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.
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