Is it illegal to drive without insurance?
Yes, it's illegal to drive without compulsory third party insurance in all states and territories of Australia as this insurance provides financial compensation in the event of bodily harm in an accident.
While there are many kinds of insurance that you might choose to risk not having, like life insurance, home contents insurance, or travel insurance, compulsory third party insurance (also known as CTP insurance and usually called a green slip in New South Wales) is, yep, compulsory!
According to the Insurance Council of Australia, CTP insurance is a requirement in all states and territories of Australia and it covers compensation for all bodily harm that your vehicle might cause in a collision. This legal requirement for everyone on the road exists to make sure that when accidents happen, compensation for injuries is guaranteed. But it doesn't protect you from being financially liable for anything other than causing bodily harm, and doesn't cover you for any damage caused to your vehicle, so it's important that you also look into different, additional kinds of car insurance like comprehensive insurance, fire and theft only and third party property only.
So how do you make sure that you don't get caught out without CTP insurance? Well the most important thing you need to do is only drive cars that are registered and keep any cars that you own registered, as CTP insurance is required as part of the registration process - although it's important to note that the process differs from state to state. As Compare The Market explains, CTP insurance is included in your registration in most states, but in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, you have to choose your CTP insurer.
The penalties for driving unregistered and uninsured vary across Australia, but in general you're looking at some pretty hefty fines.
According to the New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services website, in NSW you'll risk a $607 fine for driving a vehicle that's unregistered and a $530 fine for driving a vehicle that's uninsured. In South Australia, according to the Royal Automobile Association, you can be fined $366 plus a $60 victims of crime levy for driving an unregistered vehicle and a whopping $677 plus a $60 victims of crime levy for driving a vehicle not insured with compulsory third party insurance.
Obviously, since CTP insurance exists to protect you from financial burden in the event of an accident, if you drive without it then you're not only risking getting in trouble with the law but you're also putting yourself in a very precarious position in the event of a crash. You'll be financially liable.
This article is not intended as legal advice. You should check with your local road authority to verify the information written here is suitable to your situation before driving in this manner.