Your new pride and joy is sitting in the showroom, and you’re about to drive it home for the first time. It’s time to organise some insurance cover, right?
For many new-car buyers, factoring in the cost of insurance isn’t front of mind in the decision to purchase their new ride. If your car has a high risk profile – it’s a car that crashes often, you park it at places wheres car are commonly stolen, or the cost of repairs are high – expect to pay an insurance premium that factors that in.
But some cars simply can’t be insured, with at least one insurance company in Australia saying it would not cover vehicles it considered “unsafe” as part of its “Safer Cars Commitment” campaign to encourage members to put crash safety at the forefront of the buying decision.
In 2012, West Australia-based insurer RAC announced it would no longer offer insurance on any vehicle with less than a four-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) crash rating.
That means if you buy anything from a Ford Mustang – it was controversially initially given only a two-star rating after being marked down for its shortcomings in pedestrian protection and how children fared in the rear seats in a crash before being re-rated to three stars – to a Suzuki APV, a cheap small van that’s largely unchanged from when it first went on sale here more than a decade ago, you’ll have to shop for cover elsewhere.
“Consumers see these brand new cars with elaborate aesthetic features and assume they have high-quality safety features as well; however this is not always the case,” RAC vehicles and fuels manager Alex Forrest said.
“Just because a vehicle looks good, doesn’t mean it does a good job at keeping you safe.”
ANCAP says people travelling in a three-star vehicle are twice as likely to die in a crash, or be seriously injured, than those travelling in a five-star one.
Insurer IAG, which manages brands including NRMA Insurance, SGIO, SGIC, CGU and Swann Insurance, founded its own research centre after a big spike in Australian car thefts in the 1980s – the time Sydney was regarded as the car theft capital of the world. It has since expanded its role to test how well head restraints work in a crash, important work done on behalf of ANCAP that helps to calculate a car’s final crash rating.
Its research into automatic emergency braking has allowed IAG to let insurers give premium discounts to car owners who have vehicles equipped with the potentially lifesaving – and claim reducing – technology.
According to IAG, about a million vehicles a year are involved in collisions in Australia, resulting in “a considerable cost to the community in terms of personal injuries and property damage”.
NEW CARS BELOW FOUR STARS
Model Class ANCAP rating
Great Wall Steed Trade ute Two stars
Suzuki APV Van Two stars
Mahindra Pik-up Trade ute Three stars
LDV V80 Van Three stars
Ford Mustang Sports coupe Three stars
Foton Tunland Trade ute Three stars