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Almost one in four motorists shun roadside assistance

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), February 2014-January 2015 (n=13,076).Base: Australian drivers

So much for the old saying, ‘Better safe than sorry’: nearly a quarter (23%) of Australia’s motorists aren’t covered for roadside assistance. Tasmanian and Northern Territorian drivers are the least likely to be covered, lagging well behind the more cautious motorists of New South Wales and Victoria, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show.

Only 60% of Tasmanian motorists and 65% of those in Darwin/Alice Springs are covered by roadside assistance, well below the national average of 76%. In contrast, 79% of drivers in NSW/ACT and 78% in Victoria are covered.

Roadside assistance: motorists covered around Australia


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), February 2014-January 2015 (n=13,076).Base: Australian drivers

Basic/standard cover is the most popular level of roadside assistance around the country, accounting for 43% of Australian motorists. Even so, this varies considerably by state with 46% and 49% in NSW and Victoria respectively, compared with 33% and 37% in SA and Queensland.

Extra/Classic/Plus (13%) and Total/Premium/Ultra/Ultimate (13%) coverage is less common, but again this varies by state with 17% of Queensland motorists having top cover compared to only 9% in NSW.

Jordan Pakes, Industry Director – Automotive, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Just over three-quarters of Australian motorists are covered by some kind of roadside assistance, but this rate varies considerably around the nation. With 50,000 respondents interviewed every year, Roy Morgan Single Source is Australia’s largest and most comprehensive study of the country’s car owners and drivers.

“There are no surprises regarding which roadside assistance companies are most popular in each state. Australian motorists tend to be covered by the main bodies in their state of residence: of those covered in Victoria, 62% are with RACV; in Western Australia, 58% are with RAC; in NSW, 65% are with NRMA, and so on.

“It is interesting to note that despite the majority of motorists going with the main state providers, the level of coverage varies quite dramatically by state. There certainly appears to be an opportunity for NRMA to have a look at what RACQ is offering their customers for such a high proportion of them to have top cover.

“Not surprisingly, likelihood of cover increases with age. Of almost three million drivers aged 65+, close to 90% have some sort of coverage. When it comes to gender, males are more likely than females to opt for no coverage, while drivers of cars aged more than 10 years old are also less likely to have cover.

“With more and more auto brands offering complimentary roadside assistance for new car buyers, it’s crucial for the traditional providers to further their understanding of existing and potential customers.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%