Buying your first car in Australia

While living in Australia, you must abide by a set of rules, whether you are a local or a foreigner. Buying or selling any property or asset requires proper documentation, taxation and registration set up by a distinctive set of procedures. Having a car in Australia while you are working or studying is both a need as well as a luxury. However, the process is not merely choosing and paying for the car you want; it requires several formalities per se the law that needs to be fulfilled. Here is a guide that offers you information about buying a car in Australia.

How to choose a car?

The first step is choosing the car; if you are a student or a newly employed worker who is conscious about earning a living and have a shrunk budget, you may visit different websites that connect buyers to the sellers of used and second-hand cars at a cheaper rate. We recommend you to compare the features, prices and conditions of the car you are going to buy. You may also secure an appointment with a mechanic who may in person take a test drive of the vehicle you are about to buy. You may visit websites with a good reputation like “Gumtree ” and “Car sales” to have an idea and comparison of features of cars that fall in your budget.

Proper research before buying a car is suggested. Some agents can look for a car in your given budget. If you fall short of budget, besides the fact that most international students do not get car loans easily, a few companies provide loans to students if they have a valid visa to study in Australia for at least two years, and the amount of the car to be bought exceeds $10,000.  Any of the above modes can be adopted. However, if you are looking for a brand-new car and have a wide pocket, you may visit the showroom and book the car you desire. You can check a list of some of the most affordable used cars in our article.

Checking the car history

When you are purchasing a used car, it is a good idea to check its history. If you are buying from an authorized car dealer, it may not be necessary. But if you are buying from a private seller, the person may try to scam you by selling you a stolen vehicle or a vehicle that’s been in an accident. In NSW, you can do that by going on the Service NSW page and entering the car’s plate number. If you want to know whether the car is under a loan and the private seller does not have full ownership of the car, you can check it on the page PPSR – Home.

Do I need to have an Australian license?

Before you take your first ride in your car, you need to know that you must possess a license before making your way to the beautiful roads of Australia. Foreigners may not need an Australian license. An international driving permit is applicable in Australia as in other parts of the world, given that it must be in English.

Car insurance

Once you are done buying your car, the most important thing you need to know is that you must get car insurance. There are four sorts of automobile insurance which include: Compulsory Third-Party Insurance, Fire and Theft Insurance, Comprehensive Insurance and Third-Party Property Insurance.

Compulsory Third-Party Insurance has been made mandatory throughout Australia. It ensures to cover any harms caused by the vehicle. It only covers personal injuries. It does not cover any deterioration caused to the car; however, many other forms cover such insurances. The rates of CTP insurance vary from state to state; one may request quotes from different companies to find the most budget-friendly CTP insurance.

Third-Party Property Insurance covers the damages and harms caused by the vehicle of the owner of the insurance policy to other parties’ properties, excluding the vehicle’s insurance. In most states, the cost of insurance for an individual in the early or late ’20s is 30-35 AUD per month.

The Fire and Theft Insurance also covers damages caused by fire or in case of theft of the car. Besides, it also covers that is covered by Third-Party Property Insurance. Most of the cars are damaged due to fire during hot seasons; you should try having an insurance plan that includes fire and theft insurance.

Comprehensive Insurance offers certain policies that can cover collision, malicious damage, damage caused by natural havoc or environment, theft, fire and even the damage caused to other vehicles.

The most crucial matter after buying a car is getting it registered. It is illegal to drive a car or any other vehicle in Australia without getting it registered.  The process of vehicle registration is different in different states and is not a cumbersome one. Some of these steps are briefly discussed below.

Registering a Car

The vehicle registration and vehicle license renewal processes slightly differ from state to state. To use, drive or park your car in public streets, you must get it registered. To be eligible to get a car registered, you have to fulfil specific criteria. Registration can be made in the name of a person of 16 years of age. In case of heavy vehicle registration, the eligibility criteria demand 18 years of age at least. An inspection certificate, also called a roadworthy certificate in some states, issued by any of the licensed vehicle testers along with proof of identification is required. For the inspection, the vehicle is needed to be taken to an authorized station. You can get your car registered for varied or specific uses. This includes registration for a varied period also. The next step involves the completion of some forms along with proofs. These proofs include proof of identity and proof of vehicle ownership. This application is to be submitted by the applicant in person. On average it requires a fee of $300 to get a vehicle registered in most of the states. The rates vary according to the ‘rego’ status of the vehicle that can be checked online. If you want to check the cost of registration for NSW cars, the link is here. So basically, what you need are evidence of identity, residential address with proof and a road safety certificate. If you are buying a second hand or used car, the seller and the buyer’s ownership transfer form is also needed. You have to visit the authorized vehicle centre to secure more information. There are several authorized offices in different states.

Recurring cost of a car

At last, comes the recurring cost of having a vehicle in Australia. This part can be divided into six main categories. First of all, fuel consumes a lot of funds as soon as you own a car. No one buys a car to dry up the fuel tank, on average, an individual in Australia refills the car fuel tank twice a week. Calculating the said confirms that on average it costs $40-70 a week. The prices of petrol vary in some states like Hobart and Canberra, in the mentioned states the average weekly fuel cost is $75. Secondly, Comprehensive Insurance’s weekly cost is $20-35, varying according to the conditions. This cost increases by 7% per annum. Thirdly, the standard fee of maintenance is $20-30 that changes according to the car type and condition. Some cars do not need much maintenance while others require a mechanical survey every ten thousand kilometres. The per week cost of licensing and registration of vehicle ranges from $30 to $40 roughly. In case you have a car on loan from the bank, the weekly car insurance payback ranges from $50-100 as per the policy chosen. To count a total monthly estimated cost of having a car in Australia ranges from $200-400.


As said above, having a vehicle of your own in Australia is a luxury as well as a need of time. It is usually required to travel from place A to place B to work in Australia. However, the process of getting a registered car is mandatory as well as necessary to maintain the vehicle on record. Having failed to get your car registered can lead to unavoidable problems that do not end early. The registration process is slightly different in some parts of Australia; there are authorized centres available in every state for vehicle licensing. Along with getting your vehicle licensed, it is also important that you get vehicle insurance done for saving your car from damage charges. There are other companies which cover a more comprehensive array of damages. Missing vehicle insurance can put you in trouble every time you drive your car to the roads. The recurring cost of keeping a car in Australia can vary depending on the frequency of the use and distance travelled by the vehicle. We hope you found this topic helpful, and that you found adequate information in this article. For any queries and details about the registration or car insurance, you are free to contact agents or go to the authorized centres in person.

If you are planning to come to Australia, you have come to the right page. We will keep you informed with our up-to-date information, news and blogs.

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