What is the best insurance for trips like the Madigan Line?

Submitted: Monday, May 18, 2015 at 15:12
ThreadID: 117897 Views:4086 Replies:12 FollowUps:13
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Contemplating doing the Madigan Line in the next couple of years. Has anyone checked about car insurance on these kinds of truely offroad treks? We will obviously do our research but a head start would be good. Interested in experience rather than opinions please.
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Reply By: Member - mechpete - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 15:56

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 15:56
best bet is to get a newest map of the area ,an check if it is marked on the map
if not , that will probably will be the deciding factor , I think with insurance
cover , my thoughts
I know ya said no opinions .
cheers mechpete
AnswerID: 553920

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 16:47

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 16:47
The best insurance is money in the bank, a PLB and a sat. phone.
If you can find anyone to accept the breakdown risks for this country, you won't want to pay the premiums.
That said, some policies will contribute a little. It is important to read the fine print very carefully as many have an "off road" exclusion clause of some sort. Some don't and you need to find one of those to protect against total loss.
I would advise going through a broker to select a policy. His responsibility is to you, not the insurer, but he must understand what you need or want.

OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 553929

Reply By: Rob K (VIC) - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:14

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:14
Hi Christine & Lindsay,

Look for an insurance policy that has the wording "no geographic limits" included as a starting point. There are some brokers around who will provide this. Whether they cover recovery from the middle of the Simpson Desert (track/road not shown on any maps) is a specific question you'll need to ask the broker and/or the insurance company. Otherwise, like already said - have plenty of money because a recovery will not be easy. You could be days away from the nearest help having been along the Madigan recently. Contact Mt Dare for possible recovery costs and you'll get the idea.

Good luck with your query.

Rob K
AnswerID: 553932

Reply By: The Landy - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:14

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:14
Christine and Lindsay

Try not to over-think the insurance aspect, especially if you have comprehensive insurance.

Check the PDS that accompanies your policy and you will find the wording almost identical with most insurers as they are written to general underwriting standards.

For example, Alliance has the following wording.

“We will insure you for accidental physical loss or damage or legal liability which happens within Australia arising out of the events set out in your policy during the period of insurance.”

It goes on to say;

Comprehensive cover – provides cover for:

“Accidental loss or damage to your vehicle up to an agreed value, or market value…”

Now it will also tell you what they won’t cover. In most cases this will indicate, claims that result from blood alcohol limit above the law, unlicenced drivers, overloaded vehicles and there are other standard type of exclusions.

But the key words are within Australia – the Madigan Line is within Australia. Often people look for insurance companies to qualify what they mean by “within Australia” – it leads to all kinds of confusion, especially when you ring a call centre and talk to a person that will have limited legal and underwriting experience.

PDS documentation is designed to be written in plain simple language under Financial Sector Regulations, which in essence means for dummies like us!Well, me at least…

A quick look at NRMA policy wording says “we don’t cover incidents that take place outside Australia” – which means they cover within Australia.

My best advice is spare the heartache of ringing the insurance company, go to a legal firm and ask them if you are concerned whether it will cover the Madigan Line. After all, it is a legal document...

We do complete off-track work in the desert and will be doing more this year – we are covered as it is within Australia…

Do your own due diligence but be careful you do not dilute the policy wording that is already quiet clear about the “where they will cover you” by asking them to qualify what they mean by “anywhere in Australia”…

If they don’t intend to cover the Madigan Line or off-road and off-track driving they need to tell you that as an “exclusion” when you take out the policy.

Enjoy your trip...

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 553933

Follow Up By: The Landy - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:20

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:20
And just for clarity, if you are looking for comfort on vehicle recovery costs in the event of a mishap, most insurers will pay the “reasonable cost” of recovery via towing etc.

It is fair to say the middle of the Madigan line back to Birdsville or Mt Dare will not be considered “reasonable” by most insurers so you can expect to be covering a substantial, if not all of those recovery costs – which will be expensive…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 10:28

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 10:28
Landy is correct. im with RAC and the relevent wording is within australia
then elsewhere whereever your legelly entitled to be

Dont forget the PDS is a legal document and if its not excluded then its included

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Reply By: tony_j - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:18

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:18
If you're talking about vehicle insurance, my insurance when I did the Madigan Line covered me (my vehicle) anywhere in Aust as long as I was legally there. Whether or not the vehicle would be recovered in the event of an incident is another question. Recovery costs will be huge, so it would depend on the insured value of the car. If the damage and recovery costs reach 75% of the insured value - the insurance company will probably just payout and leave it there.

Also, I believe you may now need a permit to travel the Colson Track from the SA/NT border north, and from camps 4 (maybe 5) until you exit NT from the CLC. There was a determination of that area several years ago and it is now Aboriginal land. This would come back to being legally there. Last time I checked the CLC web site, the map of CLC controlled land hadn't been updated, but I have read the court determination finding.

It is a fantastic trip, one that I would love to do again with a bit more time. We found some interesting areas that I would like to explore a bit, including a graded road and air strip near well 6. Can't find any info on it so I don't know why it was there.

I would suggest you go sooner rather than later - I expect soon it will be totally out of bounds.
AnswerID: 553934

Follow Up By: tony_j - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:29

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:29
Sorry - CAMP 6 no wells out there!
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Follow Up By: Member - Young Nomads - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 21:21

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 21:21
Permits for this line are from CLC...only need an entry permit...as you are only travelling a short distance on the Colson, passing through the native title land..No visits to camp 3 & 4..no further north of camp 5...then all camps except Adria Downs camps 23 and 24..you do need permission from Adria downs station owners to enter their property to visit the camps located on their station. CLC request you not visit camp 2...not prohibited though..yet!
Doing it this year.
Confident with our insurance company (RAA) as I have clarified their recovery of vehicle definitions..all good
Check your separate cover for ambulance though. (not just private health insurance cover) They will pay if you are a member and you are transported by an ambulance recognised transport..ie..not the cost if you are retrieved from the middle of the simpson by the local medic...RFDS yes..of course.
Hope this helps
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 22:38

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 22:38
Hi Robyn

Get sick out there or need urgent medical help and you will be on your own. There are no air strips out there and the only way that you would get any type of help would be a long range helicopter.

The the track out there has realy changed since we were out there 10 years ago, when it was cross country and GPS navigation from one waypoint to the next. I was speaking to one EO Member that did the trip last year and he said that it was now a well formed easy track to follow, which I could not believe.

It is also strange about camp 2 which was still part of Andado Station, not unless it has been taken over by the Aboriginals.


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Follow Up By: Member - Young Nomads - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 20:05

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 20:05
My additional comment re. the ambo cover (SA) was a general comment to possibly also consider, should we presume we are always covered..no matter what.
Should medical assistance be needed anywhere in oz, private health ambulance cover is limited (BUPA is anyway). Best to take out separate insurance with your ambo service.

My reference to camp 2 on The Madigan (request not to visit) is an addition to our current permits we have, to travel the Madigan in July....
Our transit permit was free of charge!..apply online to CLC website.

Camp 2 isn't prohibited..just a request at this stage.

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Reply By: Member - Trouper (NSW) - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:31

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 17:31
I have crossed the Madigan Line twice in 2011 & 2013. Its not the Insurance Policy you need to worry about but the ability to retreive yourself due to breakdown. I would consider the following.

Carry a SATPHONE have all the appropriate numbers
Travel with at least 2 other vehicles who can help with towing
Study the route closely to determine the various exit points. There is only 2 The Colson Track and the Hay River Track unfortunately both at either end on the Line
Mt Dare has a retrieval and Rescue Service ans does Birdsville
Take plenty of spares, 2 spare tyres and plenty of plugs.
Speak to your Road service Provider and ask the the Question then take out the best cover available.

Its not a difficult trip but the remoteness is the issue. In 2011 the crossing was quite hard as there was basicly no track. In 2013 it was a well used track and easy as


AnswerID: 553936

Reply By: Kenell - Monday, May 18, 2015 at 18:06

Monday, May 18, 2015 at 18:06
The Landy is pretty much spot on. There is an incredible amount of urban myth and hearsay around insurance and 4wd. One of the popular mags did an article last month and acknowledged this point. Their research revealed the lack of restrictions around geographics, water crossings, recovery and more. What people don't realise though is the need to have urgent and accurate advice when the ship hits the span. You don't need lengthy delays or someone telling you to get some quotes when you are out there. As someone with a long insurance history I would suggest you use a reputable broker. He /she will be your advocate when you need one most. Don't get drawn in to the cheap online only policies. They might do the job but you will be dealing with a different voice every time you call.
I envy you your trip and I am confident you won't be be left hanging by an insurer if things go bang.
AnswerID: 553937

Reply By: Moke Spider - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 18:58

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 18:58
A few months back, I was wondering much the same (Insurance and what's available) and I found these guys;-


This is NOT recommendation, I haven't even contacted them (as yet), but hey, it's only a phone call to find out what's what. I'd suggest you put some very pointed questions / scenarios to them, be interested to see what they have to say.

I was looking in to this type of Insurance for a Simpson Crossing, I have been informed that the major tracks across the desert are gazetted roads- at least within SA (I am guess to give the Ranger's power to breathalyse drivers and also be able to hand out speeding fines - it's only a 40 kmh limit through there these days), if this is correct, then your NRMA (or equivalent) roadside cover should cover any recovery operation to the limits of the normal cover.
AnswerID: 553976

Follow Up By: Member - Christine and Lindsay - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 19:07

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 19:07
I found them online just after posting my question. Thanks
FollowupID: 839885

Follow Up By: The Landy - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 20:28

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 20:28
I've used TCIS (Now OAMPS) for over 10 years for all my 4WD drive insurance. Very helpful and I suggest you speak to Lisa Brock in their Adelaide office...a true professional who knows the business inside out!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
FollowupID: 839895

Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 19:32

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 19:32
As a follow-up to my earlier comment…

When it comes to insurance risk, rejection of a claim won’t usually come from the geographical location of an incident or accident, after all most comprehensive policies say they will cover you “within Australia”.

That is fairly clear…

The greater risk comes from non-disclosure of modifications on vehicles to the insurance company.

And a simple review of this forum from time-to-time indicates many have modified vehicles.

When taking out insurance you don’t have to disclose information that is reasonable for an insurer to already know. For example, four-wheel drive vehicles are designed for off-road use – so it is highly probable a claim could arise from off-road activity, an insurance company should reasonably understand that . If the insurance company has concerns over where you might use the vehicle it is up to them to ask you prior to accepting your business.

Equally it is the responsibility of the person taking insurance to declare information that might influence the insurance company as to whether it is willing to offer insurance cover to you. This includes all modifications and whether they meet the State registration requirements and ADRs.

Performance chips, suspension modifications and lifts, bigger wheel sizes, to name just a couple are all classed as modifications which are more likely to cause consternation and possibly a rejection of an insurance claim, or reduced pay-out, than where an incident or accident occurs geographically.

Importantly, always read the PDS document of the company offering insurance and understand the responsibilities of all parties to the agreement…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy

AnswerID: 553977

Reply By: deserter - Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 14:53

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 14:53
As others have mentioned - the recovery costs are the biggy. And insurance doesn't cover breakdown. My son-in-law had problems on the Canning not long back and the recovery quote was $15000.
AnswerID: 554008

Reply By: Geoff N (NSW) - Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 22:31

Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 22:31
:) I think prayer is probably the best value for money.
AnswerID: 554062

Follow Up By: Member - Christine and Lindsay - Friday, May 22, 2015 at 19:14

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 19:14
As a matter of fact prayer is a significant part of our stay safe strategy Geoff. Cheers.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 22:53

Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 22:53
Affinity Insurance Brokers located in Cheltenham Vic are specialists in insurance for 4WD's. They currently use CGU insurance. Using a broker is best as while they will have their preferred insurers they are more independent and should be able to tailor the insurance to suit you. Once your vehicle is 3 years old the insured value is market value which is usually less than what we recon its worth. While it cost more to nominate an agreed value I would always do this as it gives certainty about what you will get in the event of a total loss. As a guide for a 2006 Cruiser with lots of mods etc for an agreed value of $62k premium is $1440 on best driver rating. If you get a quote from anyone that is less than that you need to ensure the conditions and benefits are the same. Any policy should be specific to 4WD's and cover the WHOLE of Australia with NO exceptions.
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 22:56

Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 22:56
BTW this policy specifically INCLUDES outback tracks and water crossings.
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, May 22, 2015 at 06:49

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 06:49
Totally agree that using a broker is helpful and the 4WD specialists include Affinity and OAMPS (previously TCIS).

The advertising material put out by the brokers sometimes specifies water crossings and all tracks, but if you read the PDS from the insurance company it will usually just state “anywhere in Australia”. After all that covers anything from a creek crossing in Cape York to crossing the Madigan Line in the Simpson Desert.

Remember if they don’t exclude it, it is included.

As I indicated earlier, the biggest risk for many 4WD drivers is not declaring modifications to the vehicle, which can be anything from tyres and wheels that have been changed, to performance chips (in fact many insurers won’t cover vehicles with Chips in them).

On premiums, making comparisons, even for the same make and year model is difficult as often factors such as driving history, age, how much excess you are willing to pay, accessories and modifications, and importantly, where the vehicle is kept (postcode).

As a note, I compared CGU recently via Affinity; the cost was in excess of 50% more than it was via OAMPS and Allianz.

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, May 22, 2015 at 08:21

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 08:21
On the independence of Brokers, most, if not all, receive payments from Insurance Companies for placing business with them.

That doesn't mean they are not independent, but equally, they benefit financially from the transaction...

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
FollowupID: 840031

Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Friday, May 22, 2015 at 20:06

Friday, May 22, 2015 at 20:06
Today I thought I would check out OAMPS and their quote for the same cover was $40 higher that what I am paying from Affinity. Their policy looks to be very comprehensive and well worthy of consideration by any 4WD driver. I think where the insured value is "market value" you could get differences and you do not get enough to cover all the added fruit. If there is a large variation in premiums I would question what you would get paid out if the vehicle was stolen. IMHO where the vehicle is older than 3 years having an agreed value is best as there is certainty as to the payout in the event of theft or writeoff. The premium for agreed value will always be higher than market value but the payout for a total loss will be higher, your choice. Also with agreed value the comparison of rates is quite simple, whichever is the cheapest between OAMPS and Affinity. Last consideration is that if you are in a 4WD Club affiliated with Four Wheel Drive Victoria and you have any problems with a claim you have Four Wheel Drive Victoria to go into bat for you, which is worth some dollars I would suggest.
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