Insurance companies in the UK offer three different types of motor insurance, but it can still be confusing, especially since there are plenty of insurers offering them. The main thing to note is that there are three types of cover to choose from, namely third party, third party fire and theft, while the last is fully comprehensive cover. Third party insurance is the minimum required by UK law if you want to drive on public roads.
Let’s take a closer look at what each level of cover entails so you can be better informed when looking for the right policy to meet your needs and circumstances.
Third Party Car Insurance
If you get into an accident, this level of cover agrees to pay for damage caused to property. It also covers compensation or costs related to injuries sustained by another person in an incident in which you are at fault.
Since this insurance type is the most basic, it comes with limitations, one of which is that it does not cover the cost of repairing your own vehicle. That’s why it’s called third party insurance—it covers other people, or third parties, but not you.
It also doesn’t cover you should your vehicle be damaged by fire or stolen, which means you’ll have to pay for the loss yourself. The upside is that third party insurance usually costs less than other policies with more cover.
Insurance experts suggest getting third party car insurance if you drive an older car worth less than £1,000 (that you probably won’t mind getting a few bumps and scratches on here and there).
Third Party Fire and Theft Insurance
For added protection against damage or loss, get third party fire and theft insurance. Along with the basic cover provided by third party insurance, this level of cover agrees to compensate you for repairs or replacement if your vehicle is burnt or stolen. For damage that is not caused by fire, you still have to pay for repairs out of pocket. Premiums vary depending on a number of factors such as the car’s make, model and safety features, so do your research and shop around.
Fully Comprehensive Car Insurance
This level of cover offers the greatest protection for policyholders as it includes not only damage suffered by others, but also damage to your own car due to accident, theft and fire. With a fully comprehensive cover, you can claim for repairs after an accident, vandalism and accidental damage. Comprehensive insurance also usually cover personal belongings in the car, windscreen damage, theft of keys as well as in-car entertainment and sat-nav systems.
Some insurance companies also offer additional features such as courtesy cars (if your vehicle is under repair), legal expenses cover and breakdown cover. You will need to ask insurers about these add-ons and think about whether you may actually make any use of them. If not, then there is no need to purchase them at all.
If you’re getting comprehensive insurance, make sure you ask about what exactly the policy covers. It’s also important to give the insurance company up-to-date information about yourself and your car to ensure policy validity and make it easier for you to renew it in the future.