The cost of chaos: The correlation between youth crime and car insurance premiums
12 January 2024
Economically, 2024 is off to a worrisome start for North Queenslanders with many residents reporting significant increases to their motor vehicle insurance premiums adding further strain to household budgets.
According to Finder, since 2021 car insurance premiums have increased by 19.8 per cent across the nation with Queensland recording the highest increase overall with the state experiencing a whopping 25 per cent increase.
Townsville in particular has experienced a notable surge of motor vehicle theft, leaving the community grappling with the consequences. In the last 12 months, over 1,600 unlawful use of motor vehicle offences were committed in Townsville equating to more than four offences per day. Across the 2023 financial year, RACQ Insurance alone received 169 car theft claims.
Only four of the 26 (or 15 per cent) of Townsville suburbs have a better crime rate than the state average, meaning a staggering 85 per cent of Townsville suburbs have worse crime rates than the state average.
Investor and small business operator Michael Kopittke said insurance premiums were on the rise because of the risks involved.
“My home was broken in to and my car stolen. My car insurance has now gone up 51 per cent or $900. Insurers are pricing to avoid having to insure in Townsville,” Mr Kopittke said.
“Taking into account rising car and home insurance premiums, the average two car family in Townsville has to find $4,000 extra per year just to pay insurance.
“Some small businesses have reported insurance increases of $19,000 up to $42,000 in just over 18 months.
“Credit to Premier Steven Miles for coming here and organising a police helicopter and organising extra police who away 70 people over Christmas, but why don’t we have those resources all the time? We need more support from the Queensland State Government.”
Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto said that although insurance providers have not publicly stated the youth crime crisis was behind the price increases, it was evident that insurers were adjusting their premiums to compensate for the elevated risk.
“I’ve heard from Townsville residents who have been shocked to see their car insurance premiums skyrocket, and when they’ve contacted the provider to question it, they were told that high crime rates and the risk of car theft was the cause,” Mr Dametto said.
“Crime and the cost of living are the biggest issues facing Queenslanders and up here in the north, we’re copping a double whammy of these issues.
“Victims of crime, including hundreds of families and small businesses, are financially impacted by not only the cost of recovering, repairing, or replacing stolen vehicles, but even if not a victim of crime, everyone pays through the increased cost of their car insurance premiums.
“Insurers have issued the standard advice to consumers about taking extra precautions or increasing their excess to lower premiums, but that’s really a catch-22 solution. Based on the current crime figures, it isn’t a matter of ‘if’ you’ll be a victim of crime but ‘when’, and then you’ll pay the price through your higher excess anyway.
“Even those who have taken advantage of the Government’s engine immobiliser scheme are saying they haven’t seen a notable decrease in their premiums and the reality is many residents face the prospect of not being able to afford insurance to protect their property.
“Residents are doing their part to secure their homes and protect their vehicles, in some cases forking out hundreds or even thousands of dollars in preventative measures and increased security.
“That effort isn’t being matched by the State Labor Government who keeps promising to ease the cost of living. If they’re serious about meeting that commitment they’ll get serious about curbing youth crime.
“The fact is the, the State Government is profiting from high crime, they’re pocketing millions of dollars from the stamp duty applied to premiums.
“Queensland has a new Premier who has vowed to do things differently, but he has a very short amount of time to bring about the significant change necessary to sway the views of voters.
“Although the solution isn’t easy, the answer isn’t hard: fix the youth crime crisis and help stabilise, and eventually reduce insurance premiums. Queenslanders can’t carry these financial burdens much longer.”
 Queensland Police Service – Online Crime Map, https://qps-ocm.s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/index.html
 Reported by Colin Dwyer Adjunct Professor (JCU) – The Cost of Townsville High Crime Reputation – Scoping Report