What is the Total Cost of Owning a Car?

This is the one. You’ve scoured the internet searching for the vehicle that checks all of your boxes: it has a manual transmission, it’s safe, dependable, just a touch sporty—but most importantly, it has ten large cup holders.

Everything is in order, but the price is a little…uncomfortable. It’s at the top of your range. You can easily add on another few months of financing to manage the monthly payment and handle it that way, right?

Hold it right there. Before you start leveraging your home to buy your dream car, read on to learn the 5 most important costs dealerships leave out of the equation and what the true cost of a car is.

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1. Depreciation

“Depreciation isn’t a cost, though. I’m not paying anything.” That’s correct—however, you are losing something, and that is value.  A car is an investment. You want to keep it as valuable as possible because you know you will likely sell it one day.

Let’s say you buy your new car for $30,000. It drops to $24,000 a year later because the average depreciation rate for a new car is 20%. You just burned six grand!

2. Gas

Most people think of fuel as a monthly expense that everyone must bear. Sure, you can curse your un-walkable city and heavy traffic, but how much can you really do about it?

The type of car you choose to drive will make an enormous difference in your gas expenses. In 2019, the best trucks for fuel efficiency were still only peaking at 10 liters per 100 km. The best sedans hover around 4.7 L/100 km.

Since the average Canadian drives about 15,200 kilometers, a year and average gas prices are $1.48 per liter right now, that’s a difference of about $1,200 per year.

3. Insurance

Insurance premiums are right next to your car payment when it comes to cost. To avoid high premiums, you can use MyChoice’s comparison tool and find the best coverage for your dollar.

It’s worth shopping around. The average car insurance. premium costs $1,426 per year. Of course, your mother’s advice still stands—” Don’t get into an accident”. If you tend to forget that advice, you can read this to learn how to manage a poor driving record.

4. Financing

The general rule is: avoid financing your vehicle through dealerships. They tend to tack fees and fine print onto your deal. Every deal will be different, of course, depending on credit and even the condition of the car.

If you give the dealer a 10% down payment and finance your car for the national average of five years, you’ll pay an average of $669 per year.

5. Maintenance and Tires

You can only avoid that oil change for so long. If you don’t want your engine to explode, AAA says you’ll have to shell out an average of $1,186 for maintenance and tires. They also factor in an extended warranty.

Keep in mind, this is for a new car. An older car with more mileage will begin hurting your wallet with maintenance fees.


Let’s take a look at the total price of your new car in one year:

Average cost of a new car: $34,000

20% depreciation: $6,800

Fuel (@ 6.7 L/100 km): $1,500

Insurance premium: $1,426

Interest payment: $669

Maintenance/tires: $1,186

This brings your total cost of owning a new car to $11,581 in the first year!

Final advice: shop around for the best deals and find the most value for your money. Buy smart and avoid those financial headaches.

Readmore Am I Insured If I Drive Someone Else's Car?

Am I Insured If I Drive Someone Else's Car?

A common question that many vehicle owners ask when seeking insurance for the first time is whether or not other drivers are covered when using your vehicle. It is not at all uncommon to let a friend or relative who is not named on the vehicle, borrow your car. They may need to run a quick errand with your truck because they can’t fit their new mattress in the back of their sedan. Or, maybe their car is being serviced, and you have an extra vehicle that they can leverage for a temporary time to get back and forth to work. Whatever the situation is, what’s the deal? Are these other drivers covered or not?

Top 5 Things to Know About 4-Seater Auto Insurance 2020

The answer to whether or not other drivers are covered on your vehicle is a bit complicated. In most cases, a policy is issued for a specific vehicle, and that vehicle is identified by its unique vehicle identification number (VIN). However, there are cases where coverage can extend to the driver when they use other vehicles.

The first thing to understand is that in most situations, it is lawful to drive someone else’s vehicle, provided that they have provided you with the permission to do so. And, it is important that they have knowledge of when and where you will be driving. In these situations, the insurance will cover the car, as long as they are just borrowing the vehicle occasionally.

When you drive someone else’s vehicle regularly, even if they have given you permission to do so, then the insurance company needs to be informed and may require that the additional driver is added to the policy. Insurance companies view occasional use and regular use as two different scenarios, and in the latter scenario, the person needs to be added to the insurance policy.

Your rate can go up when adding another driver, especially if that driver is young with little to no driving history. You can also expect to see a hike in your rate if the driver has a poor driving record. In some cases, the car insurance. company may elect to decline coverage to that driver, and if that happens, you should cease allowing them to drive your vehicle.

Can I Drive a Car That is Not Tied To an Auto Insurance Policy?

As mentioned previously, car insurance is tied to a specific vehicle through the VIN, and a specific driver or drivers. So, it is unlawful to drive a vehicle that is not tied to an insurance policy, even if you are insured on your own vehicle. An easy way to remember this is that the insurance follows the car, not the driver. If you are pulled over for driving a vehicle that is not insured, you will be subject to fines, impounding of the vehicle, and a suspension of your license.

Before driving someone else’s car, always ask for a copy of their insurance card before taking the car on the road. While you may feel uncomfortable asking for proof of insurance, doing so will protect you in the long run. Further, the policyholder is legally obligated to ensure lawful and responsible use of their vehicle. If they are unwilling to show you insurance, this is an indicator that you should not drive the vehicle.

Readmore Avoid Fines - If You're a Canadian Driver, Make Sure You Are Insured

The Single Biggest Differentiator Between Visa Approval and Visa Refusal

I have a good friend who is a bit of a scatterbrain. He hardly ever RSVPs to events he’s invited to. 

When he does come, he always arrives late.   

He once called to say he couldn’t meet me for an arranged night out because he had forgotten to renew his driver’s license. 

Last year I organised a beach weekend away with a bunch of friends. When I put the call out for help, he put his hands up, insisting we could rely on him to bring the beer. 

You know what happened next, right? A very sober weekend.  

Now, in the grand scheme of things, these are pretty small issues. We can always buy more beer, right? 

But if the stakes are higher than drinking on a beach holiday, it matters.   

In our previous article we shared 12 different mistakes that can kill your application. In this article we’re going to talk more about a mindset that is without question the single biggest differentiator between those visa applicants who get approved and those who get refused: disorganisation.

Don’t worry – I know you’re not reading this for a motivational pep-talk about your “mindset”. I’ll leave that to Oprah. Instead, as always, I’m here to give you concrete, actionable advice.

Disorganisation is a villain with 1000 faces, so below I have identified the most common ones that I have encountered among people who get refused.

Aiming To Do the Minimum Effort Necessary  

Being a bit laid back in life can be a real positive.  

Some of the best lawyers I’ve known have been unflappable – in the face of genuine disaster they’ve been able to stay calm with the assurance that everything will be okay. 

While this attitude can certainly help in a disaster situation, sometimes a little sense of urgency helps ensure get important life stuff gets done.  

We’ve talked before in previous articles about how the Immigration website can be a bit misleading about the ease of the visa process. One could be forgiven for believing that all one needs do is complete a form and attach a few basic documents.

Don’t fall into this trap.  

As we said in our last article, if an Immigration officer thinks your application looks a bit light on evidence, they’re not obligated to ask you for information to fill the gaps.  

They can just refuse it outright. 

Think about each question in the form. Think about every single visa requirement.  And really go to town with documentary evidence to support everything you’re claiming to be. 

Remember, this isn’t a slab of Tooheys. It’s your life.  Or your business. Give it more than the minimum. 

Not Providing Documents at the Right Time 

Provide certain documents too early, and they might expire before they can be of use to your application. But provide other documents too late, and you might have no application at all.  

Some visa application requirements must be met at the time of lodgment, and others at the time of decision. 

But which is when?

And when is which?

It can be tough to know if you’re looking at the Immigration website on its own. This stuff is often in the Regulations or Act. Or it might be in the Policy, which is available to immigration lawyers but not to members of the public – a bit unfair, but our immigration system favours the well-organised and well-advised, not fairness.  

As an example, if you’re lodging a TSS nomination, you need to show you’ve tested the local labour market. But when do you need to provide evidence of this? At the time the nomination is lodged.  

Like, immediately as it’s lodged.  

And there is absolutely no wriggle room on this – if it’s not attached, you can’t provide it later. The application’s dead in the water. 

If you need to provide evidence of Competent English, this generally needs to be provided at time of lodgment.  But Functional English? Usually at time of decision.   

And what about the skill requirement? This is usually time of decision criteria, but if you need to provide a skills assessment, that thing better be good to go at the time of lodgment.

Gets a bit confusing, right?  It’s important to be across this stuff.  And if you’re not sure? You could try providing everything upfront. This has its pitfalls – like I said, many different types of documents can expire – but if you’re not on top of the regulations and you don’t have professional help, this may be your best bet. 

Not Providing Consistent Information or Evidence  

Nothing raises a red flag quite like inconsistent information. So, everything you provide to Immigration needs to be picked through with a fine-toothed comb.  Even the smallest inconsistency can open a pandora’s box. 

For example: if you’re applying for a TSS visa, do the duties in the position description you’re providing match those in the CV?  Do they line up with the duties in the advert for Labour Market Testing (LMT)? 

And do the dates of employment in the CV match the employment references?  Will the dates match tax records if anyone checks?  As we wrote in a previous article, Immigration and the tax office can – and do – ‘data match’ these days, so there really are no secrets. 

Also keep in mind your visa conditions. If you’re coming into Australia as the holder of a tourist visa, you need to look like a tourist.  And we don’t mean a Hawaiian shirt and passport lanyard around your neck.

Don’t be checking in on Facebook at the airport with “ciao forever Italia!”, and maybe rethink packing your steel-toed construction boots when a pair of flip-flops would be more consistent with your stated intention of a break from work.

Think hard, too, about information you’ve provided with previous visa applications. If, for instance, you’re not sure about the dates you put in a statement about your criminal convictions in your previous application, you should make a Freedom of Information application to check your immigration lawyer in Australia file.

Be Really Clear with Your Supporting Evidence 

A disorganised application will make your case officer work.  Your case officer doesn’t want to work harder than s/he has to, so s/he’s prone to missing things when they are difficult to find. 

So, if you’re lodging a Sponsorship application for your business, don’t provide your Profit & Loss statement at the end of a 24 page document that also includes your Lease Agreement and Trust Deed. 

If the location of the Profit and Loss Statement is not blindingly obvious, don’t assume your case officer will go looking for it.  S/he might find it easier to just refuse your application because there is “no evidence” of annual turnover. 

While we’re on documents, how is your case officer going to understand the relevance of what you’re attaching if you don’t label documents clearly?  When you scan that BAS to your email, rename it before you attach it to your application so your case officer knows what s/he’s looking at. If you don’t think it’s worth your time to relabel it from the random name your scanner gave it, like SHF38fFH.pdf, you might as well just label it RefuseMeNow.pdf. 

Readmore The Ultimate Guide to Visas, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the Australian Border

The Ultimate Guide to Visas, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the Australian Border

It takes a global pandemic to make a complex, uncertain, frustrating migration system even more complex, less certain, and…so on. 

While the situation has been changing on a daily basis, the government’s official line has been that temporary visa holders who are in Australia, and who cannot afford day to day expenses due to losing their employment or other circumstances, should return to their home country. 

But what if you don’t want to leave Australia – or can’t?   

Or what if you’re a temporary visa holder stuck offshore – how do you get in?  

OK. Let’s take a closer look.

What Australian Travel Restrictions Are in Place for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)? 

Australian Permanent Residents and Citizens Entering Australia

Australian Permanent Residents and Citizens are able to travel into Australia, however must undertake a mandatory 14 day quarantine, which will be facilitated by the Australian government (generally in hotel rooms at the place of entry). 

Australian Permanent Residents and Citizens Exiting Australia 

Conversely, what if you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident who wants to travel out of Australia? 

You’re going to have some challenges. 

The Australian government has placed a ban on Australians departing Australia, and there are pretty limited exemptions.  You won’t need to apply for an exemption to leave if you’re departing to return to your usual place of residence overseas, or work for an airline, in freight, or in government.  You will, however, need to apply online for an exemption to travel if you’re traveling

  • As part of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) response; 
  • For work in a critical industry (including import and export);
  • To receive urgent medical treatment not available in Australia;
  • For urgent and unavoidable personal or business; or 
  • Your travel is in the national interest.

It is worth noting that many airlines have stopped running international flights, and the flights that are available are at extortionate rates.  

Like Australia, most other countries have substantial travel bans in place, and many won’t even be processing visa applications.  You’ll need to check on your country of destination before you make arrangements. 

Restrictions on Temporary Visa Holders Overseas 

Travel restrictions are in place prohibiting visa holders who are currently overseas from traveling to Australia.   

Are there any Exemptions to Australian Travel Restrictions for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)? 

While there are a number of exemptions, these are granted very selectively and the refusal rate is high.

Exemption 1: Immediate family members of Australian Permanent Residents and Citizens

If you are an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident (a married or defacto spouse, a dependant child or a guardian), you may be eligible to enter Australia under the same mandatory quarantine requirements as citizens and permanent residents. 

This is relatively straightforward if you’re married to an Australian – a copy of your marriage certificate would be sufficient.

But what if you’re not married?  

If you are in a defacto relationship, you will need to show you have shared cohabitation and financial commitment with your partner for at least 6 months. It’s a bit like applying for a Partner Visa, and you may experience similar levels of scrutiny and suspicion. Good evidence of a defacto relationship may include: 

  • Evidence of a joint bank account; 
  • Evidence of lease agreements of mortgage documents;
  • Birth certificates for biological children;
  • Utility bills in both names; 
  • Mail to the same address.

For children, family books and birth certificates will be important evidence, and for non-biological children it will be important to carry relevant custody documents. 

The above lists are not exhaustive, and ultimately the evidence you provide will depend on your unique family circumstances. 

Exemption 2: Compelling or Compassionate Grounds for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Exemptions

If you can convince Immigration that there are ‘compassionate’ or  ‘compelling’ reasons to be allowed to travel, you might obtain special permission to enter Australia. There is an online form that can be completed to ask for permission to travel.  

Given how recent this situation is, there are limited guidelines from Immigration yet as to what reasons will be considered good enough to travel.  However, we can look to other parts of Immigration policy for some guidance. 

Compassionate or Compelling Circumstances 

Generally, ‘compassionate or compelling’ circumstances are those that effect the interests of Australia, or an Australian citizen or permanent resident. This is a subjective assessment – it is up to an officer at Immigration to decide if these circumstances exist. 

The onus is on you as the visa holder (and/or you as the employer of the visa holder) to show unequivocally that these circumstances exist. This means you’re going to need to do more than just provide a couple of sentences in the online form – you are going to need to back it up with detailed submissions and supporting evidence. 

So – what would fit into this ‘compassionate or compelling’ category? 

It could be anything, really, provided it really stands apart (i.e. it is not a hardship that applies to most people/organisations going through the current crisis) and can be supported by evidence.  Some examples include: 

  • You need to return to Australia to provide primary care to an Australian (where there is no one else to care for that person). You would need to provide a detailed statement regarding the circumstances and supporting medical evidence – ideally a letter from a treating doctor. Things to think about:
    • How will the Australian individual be impacted if you can’t travel?
    • What financial impact will the Australian encounter? 
    • Will you not being able to travel cause a drain on Australian communities and/or resources? 
  • You are providing critical skills and labour to an employer or an industry in need in Australia. This would require a detailed letter/statement from the sponsoring employer, as well as supporting evidence regarding the importance of your role and critical projects relying on you being in Australia. Things to think about would be: 
    • What are the specific skills, experience and qualifications you have that make you critical? 
    • What are the specific, critical projects that require your skills and expertise? 
    • How will those specific projects be of benefit to Australia, both culturally and economically?
    • What will the financial impact be on the business or community if the project does not go ahead? 
    • What efforts has the business made to find these skills in the local workforce?  Specific evidence of adverts for the role and responses would be great supporting evidence. 

Are There Any Other Travel Exemptions? 

Immigration has indicated if you are a temporary visa holder who has ‘established residence’ in Australia, or you are a family member of a subclass 457/482 visa holder, and were established before going offshore temporarily, you may be eligible for an exemption.  An ‘established resident’ is not defined in the regulations, however we suspect at least 6 months of previous residence in Australia would be considered good evidence. 

There are also some specific exemptions determined by the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force: 

  • Foreign nationals coming to Australia at the invitation of the Australian government; 
  • Critical medical services, including medical supplies coming into international ports; and
  • Diplomats. 

All these exemptions require prior approval from the Australian government before travel.  If you or your employee believe you meet one of the requirements above, but you’re not quite sure, we are happy to provide further guidance specific to your situation.

But what about visa holders already in Australia? 

The New Subclass 408 COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Stream 

A new stream of the subclass 408 visa has been made available to certain visa holders onshore in Australia. You need to meet the following fairly specific requirements to be granted the visa: 

  • Be in Australia;
  • Hold a visa that expires in less than 28 days, or did not expire more than 28 days ago; 
  • Be unable to depart Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Be unable to apply for the same temporary visa they hold or held or any other subclass of temporary visa other than the Subclass 408 visa;
  • Be currently working in an area of ‘critical work’ in Australia – this includes agriculture, horticulture, aged care and public health; and
  • Not be eligible to apply again for the visa you currently hold, or any other kind of visa onshore. For Working Holiday Visa holders, this means if you are eligible to apply for a further 417 or 462 visa you should do so before applying for a 408 visa.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and 457 and 482/TSS Visa Holders 

The lack of communication from the government regarding sponsored the impact of COVID-19 on sponsored visa holders has created some understandable anxiety. 

While the announced ‘Job Keeper’ program is only for Australian and New Zealand citizens (who meet certain residence criteria), the Red Cross may be given funding by the Australian government to assist temporary visa holders.  We recommend you contact immigration lawyer in Australia
directly about this. 

The government has announced the following additional measures for 457 and 482/TSS visa holders: 

  • Visa Validity – If you are a visa holder who has been stood down, but not laid off, you will maintain your visa validity and will have the opportunity to extend it as per normal arrangements.
  • Superannuation – If you are a visa holder who has been permanently or temporarily stood down (or who has had their hours decreased) you will be able to access up to $10,000 of your superannuation in this financial year to assist with supporting yourself through the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.
  • Visa conditions – If you are a sponsor, you can reduce the hours of the visa holder without your employee being in breach of their visa condition. Visa holders will continue to only be able to work for your as their sponsor in their nominated role (unless a nomination transfer application is lodged and approved).
  • Permanent visa eligibility – If you’re a Temporary Skilled visa holder who has been laid off due to coronavirus you should leave the country in line with existing visa conditions if you are unable to secure a new sponsor or visa. However, should you hold a 4-year 457 or TSS visa and be re-employed after the coronavirus pandemic, your time already spent in Australia will count towards your permanent residency skilled work experience requirements. 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Working Holiday Visa (WHV) holders 

The following provisions have been announced in relation to Working Holiday Visa holders:

  • 6 month employment limitation – If you are a WHV holder who works in agriculturefood processing, health, aged care, disability care and childcare you will be exempt from the six month work limitation with the one employer.  
  • Further visa eligibility – If you are a WHV holder you will be eligible for a further visa to keep working in agriculture and food production if your current visa is due to expire in the next six months

New conditions will be placed on your new WHV to manage movement between regions: 

  • Mandatory isolation period – Conditions will be placed upon visa holders to self-isolate for 14 days before taking up employment.  We are anticipating cancellation of visas will occur where there is non-compliance
  • Safe accommodation requirements – Employers will need to commit to providing safe accommodation for agricultural workers that complies with social distancing requirements.

If you employ WHV holders and they are approaching the end of their 6 month employment period, the Department you can apply for a waiver of the 6 month employment limitation. These will be assessed on a case by case basis, and will generally only be granted where there are exceptional circumstances that are out of the ordinary, are unforeseeable, and relate to an Australian permanent resident, Citizen or business.