The riskiest places to park your car in NSW

Car break-ins in NSW

It’s unsurprising that a higher concentration of theft occurs in city centres.

Did you know that the conditions we park our cars under can affect our insurance premiums?

Whether or not a car is garaged, undercover or out in the open can have an impact on how likely it is that something unfortunate will happen to it, and insurers take this into account when analysing this risk and calculating our car insurance payments.

The other big factor that can affect the safety of your vehicle is the area where you live – and the crime rates in that location.

Car break-ins in NSW

So how can you find out how your area rates for car crime?

The NSW Government’s Crime Tool website features an interactive map of the state, providing a snapshot of crime rates in different regions.

When it comes to car break-ins, the worst-affected areas are spread around, with a high concentration of break-in crime taking place in Central Western NSW.

City centres

It’s unsurprising that a higher concentration of theft occurs in city centres. The higher density of people and vehicles makes for prime conditions, and the statistics in Sydney and Newcastle lend credence to the theory.

The rate of car break-ins in Newcastle is high at 1200.5 per 100,000 population, while Sydney’s CBD has 837.5 per 100,000 population.

Outer suburbs

Regions such as Blacktown and Campbelltown on the outskirts of Sydney, and Cessnock and Maitland just outside of Newcastle are also trouble areas when it comes to auto crime.

Cessnock and Mailtand have a rate of 953.1 and 1109.5 per 100,000 respectively, both almost double the state average of 536.6 in 100,000.

Blacktown and Campbelltown have slightly lower rates than inner-Sydney, with Blacktown sitting at 716.9 and Campbelltown at 686.6 (per 100,000).

Regional problem areas

While the cities in NSW account for a large amount of theft, there is a widespread vehicle break-in problem in our regional centres, particularly the state’s central west.

From Parkes to Warren and even the Bogan Shire (yes, it’s a real place), theft from car break-ins is among the worst anywhere in the state.

Other areas experiencing worrying rates of car break-ins and theft include Northern NSW towns such as Lismore and Moree, as well as Riverina towns such as Wagga Wagga and the Murray Basin.

Protecting your property and vehicle

It’s all well and good to know where the car crime hotspots in our state are, but what how can we protect ourselves and our vehicles from property crime?

As always, prevention is better than a cure, so reducing the risk of a break-in is paramount.

  • Don’t leave anything valuable inside, or on show in your vehicle when parked, and if possible, remove the car stereo face.
  • Always lock your car.
  • Remove loose coins from the centre console.
  • Park under street lamps or in lighted areas where possible.
  • If possible, park in lock-up garage or fenced carport to dissuade thieves.
  • Use a car alarm.

Finally, it’s important to make sure your vehicle and its contents are properly insured so that you are protected in a worst-case scenario.

Car insurance can’t stop your car being broken into or stolen but it can stop the experience being devastating financially.

Read more stories about protecting the things you love on The Hub.

What you need to know about driving without rego and CTP Green Slip

Registration and CTP - Information

I’ve had an accident in an unregistered vehicle: now what?

It can happen to anyone. You’re driving a car (you might not even own it, it could be a company car or your parent’s car) and you don’t realize the rego is overdue.

Best case scenario, you get pulled over by the police, who alert you to the fact and you could get a hefty fine (the driver is responsible no matter who owns the car), provided you don’t meet some very specific criteria.

The worst case scenario is that you get involved in a motor vehicle accident and someone ends up being seriously injured or even killed.

While the emotional and legal ramifications of an event like this occurring are severe and ongoing, there’s also the financial aspect to consider, which is why Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP Green Slip) is mandatory in all Australian states.

Protecting you, protecting others

CTP Green Slip exists to protect drivers from the financial burden of providing compensation to individuals and their families who may have been in an accident.

NRMA Insurance CTP Green Slip is linked with your vehicle’s registration, meaning that you can’t register your car unless you have a policy in place.

Of course, driving an unregistered car is illegal, but oversights can and do occur, especially now that windscreen stickers with the renewal date don’t exist anymore.

So what happens if the registration has temporarily lapsed for one reason or another and you find yourself involved in an accident?

Registration and CTP

Your CTP Green Slip insurance is a policy you buy from an insurer, whereas your registration is a duty paid to the government, and you might think of them as them as two entirely separate entities.

The fact is however, that your registration and CTP Green Slip are inextricably linked; not only must you have a CTP Green Slip policy in place before your registration is valid, but your car needs to be registered in order for your CTP insurance to be valid.

As soon as your registration has expired, so too has your policy, which means an accident resulting in injury or death during this time can leave you financially vulnerable – or to put it bluntly you can be sued for a large amount of money.

Is there a grace period after your registration expires?

There’s no grace period – once your registration has expired, your policy is invalid, effective immediately.

I’ve had an accident in an unregistered vehicle: now what?

If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been involved in an accident while driving an unregistered vehicle, there will be a number of complications to deal with.

While this does mean that your CTP Green Slip insurance policy is invalid, NRMA Insurance will still allow you to make a claim and explain the circumstances under which the situation occurred. A case handler would then assess the situation on a case-by-case basis.

Ideally, you don’t want to find yourself in this situation.

How can I make sure I’m covered?

It’s always a good idea to double-check the details of your registration and CTP Green Slip policy.

You can phone the CTP Green Slip department of your insurer and check your policy, and you can also visit the Service NSW website to conduct a quick and free rego check.

It’s also good to understand that just having CTP Green Slip might not be enough car insurance for your vehicle.

There’s also Comprehensive Car Insurance, Third Party Property Car Insurance, and Third Party Fire and Theft Insurance to be considered.

Safety first

CTP Green Slip Insurance exists to protect you from unnecessary financial burden, should you be involved in a serious accident.

By simply keeping your vehicle’s registration up to date you can be sure that, should the worst happen, you won’t be held financially liable if you cause injury to someone else while you’re driving.

 

For more information about how CTP Green Slip Insurance works visit nrma.com.au.

Find out more about other types of Car insurance and what kind of cover you may need.

Read more articles about protecting the things you love at The Hub.

This article was contributed by NRMA Insurance, which is part of the Insurance Australia Group. The NRMA (National Roads and Motorists’ Association Limited) is a separate and independent company from NRMA Insurance.

How dash-cam footage can help with your car insurance claim

Dashcam - NRMA advice

Car crash 2.0: When it comes to motor vehicle insurance claims, dash cam footage can be incredibly useful.

Everywhere we go these days, whether it’s the supermarket, a music festival or a shopping mall, we’re being caught on camera.

Plus socially we’re being tagged and shared across Facebook, Instagram and more.

If it’s not a trusty smartphone it’s a GoPro mounted to a bike, a computer screen with an inbuilt lens or the increasingly-popular dash-cam, mounted to the inside of a vehicle’s windscreen, taking in everything that occurs out on the roads.

While there are definite downsides to the proliferation of all this filming in terms of privacy, there is one big benefit when it comes to your insurance claim – an impartial witness you can provide should you be involved in a collision and need to claim on your car insurance.

Will insurers accept dash cam footage?

Not only will your insurer accept footage as part of your claim, they find it very valuable.

With the increasing popularity of recording devices such as these, claims assessors are able to access more information than ever before, meaning they are able to deliver liability decisions with even more confidence.

Imagine, for example that you are in a parking lot, stationary, and the car in front of you reverses suddenly.

Perhaps they thought they were in a different gear, or maybe they didn’t see you – regardless, the end result is that they crash into the front of your car, causing damage.

Should the driver of that vehicle decide to lie and claim that you rear-ended them, dash cam footage would be a very quick (and satisfying) way of proving what actually happened.

Find out more about what to do at the scene of an accident.

How to go about submitting footage with a claim

When you first contact your insurer about making a claim on your car insurance, make sure you let them know that you have footage you’d like to submit for consideration.

Most insurers will ask you this anyway, but this will make the process easier.

There are a variety of ways in which you can get the footage to your claims department, depending on the size of the file, the format of the footage and the quality of the recording.

It’s always best to work closely with the insurer to decide which is the most appropriate way to submit footage, and always make sure you have a back-up copy in the event that you have to send a physical copy of your recording. You should be aware that insurers may make decisions based on their view of the information.

Find out more about what kind of car insurance cover you really need.

Read more articles about protecting what you love at The Hub.

This article was contributed by NRMA Insurance, which is part of the Insurance Australia Group. The NRMA (National Roads and Motorists’ Association Limited) is a separate and independent company from NRMA Insurance.

5 rules passengers should never break

Follow this passenger etiquette to keep all your friends and maintain a happy in-car environment.

Passenger Rules

If you want to ride in the passenger seat (‘shotgun’) there are certain rules you must be aware of.

Everyone hates a back-seat driver. But there are many other annoying things passengers do that can get under the skin of drivers. If you commute often with friends or family, you’ll recognise the below responsibilities that aren’t taken seriously.

The Aux Cable
The auxiliary cable connects your media device to the vehicle’s sound system. Those who hold it are responsible for the auditory enjoyment of everyone in the car. TIP: Keep a driving playlist of the best driving songs on standby so if your passenger is not performing as ‘car DJ’ you can take action. The same applies for Bluetooth connection.

Car Doors
Some passengers just don’t understand how irritating it is when someone gets in (or out) of your vehicle and slams the door. Unless the car door cannot close properly, there’s no need to close the door with huge force. TIP: Don’t slam the door.

Door Slam Meme

HADOUKEN: Doors are designed to be closed, not slammed.

Air Conditioning
During the summer this simple feature can make or break friendships if not used correctly and fairly. Agree on a temperature and sick to it, if there is ever an argument the drivers wishes take priority. TIP: Keep your car cool during the summer while parked to avoid heated arguments.

Radio Tuning
Similar to the aux cable, music playing in the car can be the difference between an enjoyable journey and a nightmare commute. Use the presets set by the owner of the car as these are more likely to be decent radio stations with good signal strength within the area. Never reprogram the presets the owner has set. TIP: Use the scan function to find nearby stations.

Eating and drinking
Okay, so there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the fast food drive-through. Does the driver order on behalf of the car, or does the passenger lean over to order their meal? Eating in the car is legal as long as you ask the driver first, but please do not chew with you mouth open or make any annoying chewing noises as this can drive some travelers crazy. TIP: Buy the driver’s meal as a thank you instead of offering petrol money.

What passenger behaviour grinds your gears?

Ask NRMA: Air conditioning or windows down?

 

air-conditioning-windows

Do you prefer to have your windows down or the air conditioning on?

Tips for economical driving have long been debated by motoring experts and day-to-day drivers. While there are a few no-brainers such as keeping your vehicle light and going easy on the acceleration, working out which is the better option between using the air conditioning or keeping the windows down continues to divide opinions.

And with good reason.

There is simply no way to get an exact answer on which option saves more money unless you were to drive the exact same vehicle, at the same speed and in the same weather conditions. Aerodynamics differ greatly between vehicles, and this impacts the drag faced when driving with the windows down.

Each car will have a different air conditioning system too, so while one may cause car’s speed and fuel economy to rapidly diminish, a different and more modern vehicle may see far better results.

There’s also other factors that can come into play. High winds will create more drag and high temperatures will force your air conditioner to work harder to keep a cabin cool.

“Sometimes it’s simply easier to wind the windows down, particularly during times of high and dry humidity,” says Matt from NRMA Motoring Advice. “It’s during these times that the a/c system fights an uphill battle to cool the cabin. This is due to minimised moisture within the atmosphere which the a/c condenser relies upon to cool the high pressure a/c gas as it charges through the system.”

Driver and passenger comfort need to be taken into account, and aside from the scenario above, there are undoubtedly times where air conditioning is an asset. Arriving to an interview or a date in a sweaty mess because you were too cheap to run the air conditioning isn’t going to do you any favours.

The opposite is also true from time to time. Are you really too precious to enjoy some fresh air coming in through the window? One of life’s great joys is the freedom of driving with the wind in one’s hair, although travelling down a freeway with the windows open and incessant sound of wind gusting by can be tiresome.

There’s even a select few that like to have their windows down while the air conditioning is running, but this is completely counterproductive from an economy perspective.

Perhaps it’s best to use a very basic rule of thumb. When travelling slowly (60km/h or less) it’s more economical to have your windows down. If, however, you’re at high speed (100km/h or more) the drag created by having your windows down is worse on your wallet than using your air conditioning.

Whichever you choose to do, make sure you stay safe on the roads and follow our guidelines for hot weather driving.

How do you like to stay cool when behind the wheel?