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Different types of car insurance cover

There are three types of insurance cover available, ranging from the minimum standard of third party, to the deluxe package, known as comprehensive. In the middle there’s third party, fire & theft; this is often the minimum offered by many companies, because most claims are for accidental damage rather than fire or theft, so an insurer may as well lump those in with the collision cover.

What are the different types of insurance cover?

Fully comprehensive

  • Covers almost every eventuality, as it pays out whether you’re at fault or somebody else.
  • Tends to be the most expensive cover, but not always as those who take out third-party cover only are more likely to be involved in a claim.
  • Sometimes insures the policy holder to drive any car (on a third party-only basis). But that other car must be insured on a policy of its own, and there may be restrictions on that other car’s value and/or insurance group.

Third party, fire and theft

  • Covers only third-party costs after an accident, so if you’re involved in an at-fault claim (ie it’s your fault), your own costs aren’t paid.
  • Covers theft of your own car, plus loss or damage to a third-party’s vehicle if you’re to blame for their losses.
  • Covers fire damage to your own car, however it’s caused.
  • Doesn’t cover repairs to your car if the accident is your fault.

 

Third party

  • The most basic form of insurance.
  • The legal minimum requirement in the UK.
  • Covers third party repairs only.
  • Doesn’t cover repairs to your car if the accident is your fault.
  • You’re also not covered in the event of your car being stolen or catching fire.

What’s the cheapest car insurance option?

Drivers choosing third party car insurance as a way to drive down the cost of motoring may be mistaken, according to MoneySupermarket which has found that fully comprehensive is often the cheapest cover – as well as offering the highest level of protection.

Analysis from the price comparison site reveals the vast difference in premium prices between fully comp car cover, third party, fire and theft, and third party only cover – particularly for younger drivers.

For example, the analysis shows an 18-year old driving a Ford Fiesta choosing third party only cover was quoted 146% – or £1524 a year – more for cover than if they had opted for a fully comprehensive policy. This trend continues until the age of 40; on average a 20-year old could save £326 a year opting for fully comp and a 25-year old will find it £49 cheaper on average.

Peter Harrison of MoneySupermarket said: “If motorists take the time to step back and do their research they could find that a fully comprehensive policy offers them the best of both worlds – a better deal financially, as well as complete peace of mind should they need to make a claim.”

 

What is ‘no claims bonus?’

No claims bonus, or no claims discount, is a a count of the amount of years that you have not made a claim against your car insurance. The amount that these years are worth can vary from insurer to insurer, but essentially the more years you accrue, the bigger your discount.

FirstCar say:

‘It seems madness that you pay less and get far more, but insurance companies go on claims profiles. Experience has shown them that drivers who insure third party only are more likely to make a claim – so they charge more for such policies.’