Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine Australian exporter perceptions of export credit insurance (ECI) value and ECI value drivers to help uncover how Australian (and other) exporters can optimize their ECI use. Design/methodology/approach This paper uses a 1,000 firm survey of how Australian ECI users and non-users perceive the value of often-cited attributes of ECI and multiple regression analysis to create a model of ECI value drivers. Findings Most ECI value is derived from the increased trade exporters can manage with ECI protection and from improved access to trade finance. Clear differences are observable in perceived ECI value between larger and smaller exporters as well as between ECI users and non-users. Originality/value This paper provides the first evidence of perceived ECI value to Australian exporters as well as differences between ECI users and non-users. Export credit insurers and export support agencies need to focus on these differences to ensure that ECI is being optimally marketed and used by Australian exporters.