Mike Stevens | Oct 24, 2012

West Australian insurer RAC WA will no longer offer insurance or finance on new cars that do not carry at least a 4-Star ANCAP crash safety rating.

The new policy, which applies to vehicles manufacturers in 2012 and beyond, means that buyers of cars with a lower rating, or no rating at all, will not be eligible for insurance through RAC WA.

RAC WA's Pat Walker said the change is designed to reflect a commitment to reducing the state's road toll, which currently stands at 133 - 13.5 percent of the national toll so far in 2012.

"Through our Safer Cars policy change, we’re demonstrating our commitment to safer cars and protecting the wellbeing of our members," Walker said.

"We are hoping to encourage WA motorists to check the ANCAP safety ratings of a new car before purchasing it."

Walker stressed that the change does not affect the insurance policies or finance contracts of existing customers.

"This is about encouraging safer new car choices at the point of purchase," he said.

The move has been praised by ANCAP Chairman Lauchlan McIntosh, describing it as a "yet another way we can make consumers aware of the importance of safer vehicles".

Mr McIntosh urged other insurers and financiers to adopt similar policies, compelling buyers to prioritise 4- and 5-Star rated cars.

"There are many fleets, leasing companies and businesses employing policies which require minimum ANCAP safety ratings. Initiatives such as these will have a significant effect on the road toll," McIntosh said.

So far in 2012, 35 new cars have been awarded 4- and 5-Star ANCAP ratings. But many vehicles still available on the new car market - particularly among Chinese brands and in commercial segments - carry 3-Star or lower ratings.

Toyota's 70 Series LandCruiser, despite recent safety upgrades, is currently rated as a 3-Star vehicle, as is Nissan's ageing Y61 Patrol.

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