Poor service from NRMA Insurance

NRMA Insurance needs to substantially improve their service. My 95-year-old father, who has been insured with NRMA for over 70 years, was poorly treated by NRMA staff after a recent accident. A tradie in a vehicle with a tow bar backed out of a parking space straight into my father’s Mazda 6 as my father was driving slowly past. Even though he identified and proved the other driver was at fault, the NRMA were unhelpful and uncommunicative throughout the whole process. Each day that my father rang the call centre, he was promised that staff would ring him back in 24 h. Each day for 3 days they promised to call, but never rang. Finally, after their first damage assessment, the NRMA agreed to repair the car as the damage was less than the $4,450 agreed value. But then NRMA did a second assessment, changed their mind and then decided the damage was greater than the insured value, presumably so they could just write the car off instead of repairing it. After over 6 weeks and innumerable phone calls, my father finally bought the car back for $1000. But instead of getting the agreed value, he only received $2760 back as NRMA took out rego, insurance etc to reduce their payout. Even worse was that NRMA re-calculated the agreed amount on settlement as $200 lower than agreed a few days previously. And when he arranged with them to pick up the car, they left him waiting for over an hour at the yard. My complaint to NRMA Insurance has not been answered. We expected better!


No matter how many years one is a customer of an insurer, each year is the only year the underwriter cares about. It is a bad experience when one is a victim, has an otherwise OK vehicle, and gets what seems like short shrift on a claim.

His NRMA policy should have a clause similar to this one from AAMI.

Deductions from your total loss claim
When we pay you for a total loss claim we will deduct the following where applicable,
from the amount we pay you:
• excesses;
• unpaid premium including any unpaid instalments for the period of insurance;
• any unused registration and compulsory third party/motor accident injuries
insurance (unless we decide to collect this from the relevant authority or insurer, in
which case you must help us if we ask);
• any input tax credit entitlement, see page 65;
• our estimate of the salvage value;

As for them ‘shifting the sands’ if he has documentation it is worth following up with a formal complaint for them to justify the reasons behind their decision.

Without knowing the details of the payout, he may be able to cancel the rego and get a part refund. If he was paying the policy monthly the insurer will deduct the annual balance noting the policies are generlly sold as one year contracts regardless of how one chooses to pay.

I presume you did have power of attorney or equivalent to contact NRMA on his behalf, and used the formal complaints procedure at

so they give themselves 30 days to respond. If you did not have a POA on record and were not listed as a representative on his policy account they cannot speak with you until that happens. Some companies tell the contact that, and others ignore the contact, so best to be sure about your status.


In addition to what @PhilT has posted, if the car has been notified as a repairable write off or a write off by NRMA, your father could have no end of grief trying to get the car re-registered or roadworthy certificates. It is worth reading:

Hopefully he made the decision well informed of the risks and status of the vehicle. Otherwise the losses could mount up significantly.

And the NRMA indicate what an agreed value is:

Registration and CTP Insurance (and GST where applicable) is removed from settlement where the car is bought back as the owner can rightfully claim these back where a vehicle is written off. In relation to registration and CTP Insurance, state road authorities issue pro rata refunds. As NRMA have removed these from the settlement, there is a risk it has been notified as a write off/repairable write off. They can also remove salvage value, which is the value of the vehicle if sold to a wrecking yard (again in the case of a write off or repairable write off). This might he why the agreed value has been discounted significantly.

Also was the $1000 included in the settlement from NRMA, that being the settlement was $3760 but the cash given was post repurchase ($3760 less $1000)? If the $2760 was includes the repurchase of $1000 (e.g. he got $2760 + car without giving NRMA $1000), then the agreed value would be $3760 + any costs removed.

If your father doesn’t know the vehicle status (write off/repairable write off), it is critical it is found out as he could be driving an unregistered vehicle if the vehicle is still drivable.


Thanks for your helpful comments about the deductions. We did put in the complaint to NRMA through the correct on-line portal (as my father) but 30 days has not passed yet. He wanted to keep the car as he is likely only driving for a few more years. It is a repairable write off and fortunately can be registered indefinitely. The worst thing for him was NRMA never returned his calls and kept promising to call the next day - but never did! The lesson here too is that there is no point in having comprehensive insurance for a car older than 15 years, or when the agreed value is so low.


Thanks for your response too. Yes, it is a reparable write off and can stay registered indefinitely. At his age, he didn’t want another car! I mentioned to PhilT that the lesson here is don’t bother comprehensively insuring an older model car. We won’t be insuring with NRMA again ever due to their poor communication and zero follow up service.


It is worth checking your state or territory as they can have conditions to re-registration of a repairable write off vehicle. Some require the vehicle to pass inspections. An example being the Australian Capital Territory:

Through to NSW which doesn’t allow re-registration of repairable write offs (except in expectational circumstances such as only hail damage):