Car Insurance for Overseas Visitors to Australia

Overseas visitors have a few things to keep in mind when travelling or moving to Australia and looking to drive a vehicle.  Not only do you have to (possibly) adjust to driving on the opposite side of the road, you also have to deal with a range of road rules and laws you might not be familiar with.

One such set of laws related to insuring your car to drive. Each Australian State and Territory has varying laws and restrictions for car insurance which must be followed by visitors and permanent residents alike.

Before we analyse the details of each Australian state and territory legislation regarding vehicle insurance, let’s go through a brief rundown of the types of insurance available.

There are three types of motor vehicle insurance available in Australia.

Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP Insurance)

CTP Insurance covers personal injury liability. It is issued by the relevant authorities and known as a ‘Green Slip’ in NSW. CTP Insurance protects the vehicle owner and driver in the event of a personal injury claim made against you by other drivers. CTP or a Green Slip is the minimum legal requirement in order to drive in Australia.

Third Party Property Insurance

Third Party Property Insurance covers damage to another person’s property or vehicle that you are responsible and thus liable for. Without this cover an accident can be very expensive if you are determined to be at fault. Third Party Property Insurance is the highest level of insurance available to any backpacker/non – resident of Australia.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive Insurance covers damage to your vehicle from an accident in addition to any damage that you are responsible for to someone else’s property or vehicle. It is a combination of CTP and Third Party Insurance.

An overseas visitor and non – resident of Australia will not be able to apply for Comprehensive Insurance, only CTP and other Third Party Insurances.

Australian State and Territory Car Insurance Laws

Each Australian State and Territory has varying laws and restrictions for car insurance.

In South Australia, Third Party Personal insurance from the Motor Accident Commission is included in the licence registration fee for people over 17.

Western Australia also adopts a similar scheme to South Australia.

In Victoria, Third Party Personal insurance from the Transport Accident Commission is included, through a levy as part of the vehicle registration fee process.

In New South Wales and Northern Territory Compulsory Third Party Insurance (commonly known as CTP Insurance) is a mandatory requirement and each individual car must be insured or the vehicle will not be considered legal. Therefore, a motorist cannot drive the vehicle until it is insured. A ‘Green Slip,’ another name by which CTP Insurance is commonly known due to the colour of the pages which the form is printed on, must be obtained through one of the five licensed insurers in New South Wales.

In Queensland, CTP is a mandatory part of registration for a vehicle. There is choice of insurer but price is government controlled in a tight band.

These state based third party insurance schemes usually cover only personal injury liability. Comprehensive vehicle insurance is sold separately to cover property damage and cover can be for events such as fire, theft, collision and other property damage.


Australia is a large country with lots of wide open spaces and beautiful roads to drive on. It is important to be aware of all the rules and restrictions regarding car insurance to ensure that your own road adventures are safe and legal. For overseas visitors and potential Australian residents this process can be slightly different, so it is advisable to consult with your chosen car insurance provider for more details.