Your driving record is an important factor in the price of your green slip. Do you know what type of driver insurers consider to be a good driver? We look at how your driving history affects your greenslip price.
Driving and claims record
When you want a quote for a greenslip, insurers ask about your driving and claims history:
- Number of demerit points on your (or other drivers’) licence
- Road accidents that were your fault, in the last 3-5 years
- Any drivers licence suspensions, disqualifications, cancellations or restrictions in the last 3 years
- Drug and alcohol convictions in the last 3 years.
Each insurer will focus on certain factors to assess your driving history. The best way to know who offers the cheapest green slip price for your particular driving history is to use the greenslips.com.au calculator.
What is a good driver anyway?
Do you fit the broad definition of a “good driver”? Good drivers tend to have more driving experience. They are usually over 30, have no demerit points or traffic offences, and drive a reasonably up-to-date vehicle with some safety features.
Even so, many people who do not entirely fit that definition can be good drivers and qualify for cheaper greenslips.
Do you have demerit points?
Some people refer to “losing points” on their licence. In fact, everybody starts off with zero demerit points on their licence. Drivers accumulate demerit points on their licence with each offence, until they reach 13 points within a 3-year period. This leads to refusal or suspension of their drivers licence.
The idea of demerit points is to encourage safe and responsible driving within the law. It’s easy to accumulate demerits if you don’t drive within the law:
- Demerits apply for parking, speeding, heavy vehicles, school zones and general offences
- Penalties are higher in school zones
- Double demerits apply for seatbelt, speeding, mobile phone and motorcycle helmet offences around public holidays.
Some insurers charge the same higher price whether you have one or 12 demerits. Other insurers increase the price with each demerit on your driving record. Insurers use demerits as a sign of your willingness to drive safely and within the rules and, to some extent, your risk of having an accident and making a claim.
Do you have a clean licence?
Insurers ask if, in the last 3 years, you have had any drivers licence suspensions, restrictions, cancellations or disqualifications:
- Suspension – Temporary loss of licence for a fixed period
- Disqualification – Imposed by the court
- Cancellation – When a licence has lapsed for over 2 years, police confiscate your licence or you surrender your licence
- Restriction – Licence conditions, such as driving within a certain distance or only at certain times of day.
Insurers also ask about any convictions or fines for drug or alcohol-related driving in the last 3 years. The NSW government began mobile drug testing (MDT) and random breath testing (RBT) some time ago. As with RBT, drivers who are stopped for MDT must still do a breath test for alcohol. Also see The danger of pot and booze together.
Road accidents that were your fault
Insurers need to know if, in the last 3-5 years, you have had any accidents that were your fault. This is an indication that you may have been driving unsafely and you made a claim.
Whether or not you were at fault is not always a simple decision. The law says At Fault means you were 100% at fault or what you did to contribute to the accident (contributory negligence) was more than 61%.
Having had an accident that was your fault in the past 3-5 years will push up the price of your greenslip.
How can I get a cheaper green slip?
If you are not paying the lower prices of a “good driver”, there are ways to reduce prices. The best method is to affect the primary factors insurers use to set the price of your green slip. For example:
- Drive a newer vehicle with safety features
- Hold other motor insurance on your vehicle
- Live in a cheaper rating region, eg, rural rather than metro
- Never incur demerit points
- Follow all road rules
- Avoid making unnecessary motor insurance claims.
Can I get greenslip discounts for good driving?
Many people ask if there’s a way to get discounted green slips for a good driving record.
In fact, all green slips are already discounted on the basis of risk factors insurers consider favourable. For example, if you have no demerits and have not made a claim on your insurance recently, your green slip is discounted on that basis.
As long as a greenslip price is based accurately on you and your vehicle, insurers can’t offer any further discount:
- Prices are the same no matter where or how you purchase your green slip
- Agents or brokers are not allowed to offer a different price to the one the insurer quotes
- Green slip prices can’t be discounted on the basis of product bundling.
Note, some insurers offer discounts on their other insurance policies if you hold your green slip with that insurer. Some offer multi-policy discounts – but discounts are still not on their greenslip.
Your driving record is a very important factor in the price of your green slip. Insurers consider demerit points, road accidents that were your fault, licence suspensions or restrictions and drug and alcohol convictions. All green slip prices are discounted for good drivers and can’t be discounted further.
Have you ever wondered why you need a green slip? Do you know what your green slip covers and doesn’t cover? Do all insurers offer the same green slip? These are all good questions you ask that greenslips.com.au will answer.
This is the fifth article in our 8-part series, How greenslip insurance works. Read the fourth article, How much do greenslips cost?