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This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

Driving An Uninsured Vehicle


It is illegal to drive without compulsory third party (CTP) insurance in Australia. CTP insurance provides compensation for bodily harm caused by a vehicle in an accident and is mandatory in all states and territories. It must be taken out at the time a vehicle is registered. A vehicle becomes unregistered and uninsured when the registration is not renewed by the expiry date or when the registration is cancelled or suspended. The penalties for driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle vary across Australia.

Queensland

The Motor Accident Insurance Commission regulates Queensland’s CTP insurance scheme. There are four government-approved CTP insurers in Queensland: AAMI, Allianz, QBE and RACQ. Motorists can choose their CTP insurer when they register their vehicle.

If a person drives, or allows another person to drive, an uninsured vehicle on a road or in a public place, they face a maximum penalty of a fine of 80 penalty units ($10,676).

New South Wales

The State Insurance Regulatory Authority regulates NSW’s CTP insurance scheme. The policy is called a Green Slip and protects all third parties including pedestrians, passengers, cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles. It pays for medical treatment and partial loss of income for up to 6 months, and any damages. That period can be extended if the driver was not at fault and the injuries are serious.

There are six government-approved CTP insurers in NSW: AAMI, GIO, NRMA, Allianz, QBE and Youi. Motorists choose their CTP insurer when they register their vehicle.

A $697 fine applies if a person drives or parks an unregistered and uninsured vehicle on a road or road-related area.

Victoria

The Transport Accident Commission regulates Victoria’s CTP insurance scheme, and is the only CTP insurer in the state. The insurance is usually called a Transport Accident Charge.

An $826 fine applies if a person uses an unregistered and uninsured vehicle.

Australian Capital Territory

The Motor Accident Injuries Commission regulates the ACT’s CTP insurance scheme. There are four government-approved CTP insurers in the ACT: AAMI, APIA, GIO and NRMA. Motorists choose their CTP insurer when they register their vehicle.

If a person uses, or allows another person to use, an unregistered and uninsured vehicle on a road or road-related area, they face a maximum penalty of a fine of 50 penalty units ($8000).

Western Australia

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia regulates WA’s CTP insurance scheme. It is the only CTP insurer in the state. In 2016, insurance was extended to cover anyone catastrophically injured in an accident, regardless of fault. People with catastrophic injuries are covered for the treatment, care and support they require for the rest of their lives.

Vehicle registration is called vehicle licensing in WA and is administered by the Department of Transport. If a person uses, or allows another person to use, an unlicensed and uninsured vehicle on a road or road-related area, they face a maximum penalty of a fine of 50 penalty units ($8000).

South Australia

The CTP Insurance Regulator administers SA’s CTP insurance scheme. There are four government-approved CTP insurers in SA: AAMI, Allianz, QBE Insurance and SGIC. Motorists choose their CTP insurer when they register their vehicle.

If a person drives an uninsured vehicle, or allows an uninsured vehicle to stand on a road, or owns an uninsured vehicle which is driven or found standing on a road, they face a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine. There may be a defence in some situations, such as where the driver did not know the vehicle was uninsured, or where the vehicle was driven or left standing on road due to theft, or where the last registered owner was not the owner at the time of the offence. An uninsured vehicle may be driven if it is being driven for the purpose of extinguishing or controlling a fire that is a risk to people, animals or property. However, this exemption applies only if public liability insurance is held which indemnifies the vehicle owner and driver for death or injury caused by the use of the vehicle on roads.

Northern Territory

The Motor Accidents Compensation Commission regulates WA’s CTP insurance scheme. The Territory Insurance Office is the only CTP insurer in the state.

If a person drives a vehicle that has been unregistered/uninsured for one month or less, the fine is $300. If the vehicle has been unregistered/uninsured for more than one month but less than 12 months, the fine is $800. If the vehicle has been unregistered/uninsured for 12 months or more, the fine is $1500.

Tasmania

The Motor Accidents Insurance Board administers Tasmania’s CTP insurance scheme. It is the only CTP insurer in the state.

If a person uses, or allows another person to use, an unregistered (and therefore uninsured) vehicle on a public street, they face a maximum penalty of a fine of 20 penalty units ($3440). For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is a fine of 40 penalty units or imprisonment for 3 months.

Other insurance

CTP insurance does not protect the driver from other financial liabilities that may arise from an accident, such as damage to their own vehicle, to another vehicle or to property. Additional car insurance such as comprehensive insurance, third party fire and theft insurance, or third party property insurance are options to protect against those costs.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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