Do demerit points affect car insurance?

By Tara McCabe ·

As the holiday season approaches, you might be thinking about packing up the car and scooting off for some much needed R&R. The last thing you probably want to be pondering as you get behind the wheel is demerit points. However, as the Christmas break equals ‘double demerits’ in the ACT, NSW, QLD and WA, it is worth knowing exactly what they are and whether or not they affect your car insurance.

What are demerit points?

Demerit points are basically penalty points that can be given to drivers all over Australia for unsafe driving. Although no one really likes the idea of them, they exist to keep everyone safe and on the straight and narrow. Examples of offences that demerit points can be handed out for are:

  • Speeding
  • Parking illegally
  • Driving dangerously in a school zone
  • Driving through a red light
  • Driving a heavy vehicle without a permit.

Double demerit points can apply for offences such as speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a motorcycle helmet. Every driver starts off with zero points and can accrue them for offences like these.

Exactly how demerit points work and what you get them for varies in different states and territories. So make sure you check your local government’s website to find out exactly what the road rules are.

Do demerit points affect car insurance?

This is a tricky one, because yes demerit points can affect car insurance, but it depends on how many you have and which insurer you’re with. So let’s break this down:

The first thing to know is that when getting a car insurance quote, your insurer will most likely ask you if you have demerit points and how many you have accrued. If you don’t answer this honestly you could land yourself in a lot of hot water - e.g. your insurer could refuse to pay a claim further down the track.

Of course demerit points are not a good thing. It’s basically like having a mark on your record. So, if you have quite few or your license is suspended as a result, your insurance premium may go up. This is because the insurer will see you as a riskier driver.

That said, if you have a good driving history and you have been with your insurer for a number of years, there is a chance that if you accrue a few your premium may not be affected too much.

How do I check my demerit points balance?

If you’ve ever received demerit points, then you’ll probably know how many you have. However, if you are applying for car insurance and you want to double check, here’s how you can do so in each state and territory in Australia:

  • The Australian Capital Territory - To check the number of demerit points you have, you will need to apply for a copy of your licence history.
  • New South Wales - You can check your demerit points online, by logging into your Service NSW account.
  • Northern Territory - Check demerit points online, or by calling the NT Motor Vehicle Registry on 1300 654 628.
  • Queensland - You can review your demerit points on the QLD government website.
  • South Australia - Check demerit points on your mySA GOV account.
  • Tasmania - To check your demerit points in Tasmania call Service Tasmania on 1300 13 55 13.
  • Western Australia - Use WA’s Driver’s Demerit Points Enquiry page to see if you have accrued demerit points.

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