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A guide to comprehensive car insurance

When it comes to owning a car, there are some costs that you can’t avoid paying, with car insurance at the top of the list.

Car insurance is a legal requirement and driving without it would result in heavy penalties. You could be fined up to £5,000, have points added to your licence, a court could decide to disqualify you from driving for a set period, your car could be impounded and, if you can’t afford to pay for its release, destroyed[1].

With car insurance, you have three options: comprehensive, third party, and third party fire and theft cover. Comprehensive insurance offers the highest level of cover, with third party offering the lowest.

What is comprehensive car insurance?

Also known as fully comp, this type of car insurance offers you the fullest protection available. The level of cover offered can vary, from one insurer to another, but it usually covers[2]:

  • The cost of repairs to property or other vehicles, if you’re at fault.
  • The costs arising from injuries to other people, if you’re at fault.
  • The cost of repairs or replacing your vehicle, if you’re hit by an uninsured driver or you’re at fault.
  • The costs arising from an injury to you, if you’re hit by an uninsured driver or you’re at fault.
  • The costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it’s damaged by fire, stolen or vandalised.

If your car gets damaged in an accident where you’re at fault or you’re hit by an uninsured driver, and you don’t have comprehensive insurance, you could be left significantly out of pocket.

What’s the difference between comprehensive, third party and third party fire and theft cover?

With third party cover, which is the minimum cover required by law, other people, their vehicles and property is covered, but your vehicle and yourself aren’t. This means that you would have to pay in full for any repairs to your vehicle, and if it was stolen, vandalised or damaged by fire, you wouldn’t be covered, so you’d have to pay for a replacement vehicle yourself[3]

Third party fire and theft cover offers more protection than thirty party, as it does cover your vehicle if it’s stolen, vandalised or damaged by fire, but you still wouldn’t be covered personally. If you were in an accident where you were at fault, you’d have to foot the bill for any repairs to your vehicle. If your car was written off, or the damage was extensive, you could be left with an unaffordable bill or with no car at all[4].

Is comprehensive insurance more expensive?

With comprehensive insurance offering the most complete type of protection, you would think it would be the most expensive of the three options, but it can often be cheaper than third party and third party fire & theft[5]. Most drivers don’t know this, and if they want to pay as little as possible for their insurance, they’ll often only shop around for third party quotes[6].

To see if comprehensive cover would work out cheaper for you, it’s worth shopping around for quotes to compare different prices and levels of cover.

Even if you find you’d have to pay slightly more for fully comp cover, it could still give you the peace of mind of knowing that, should the worst happen, you wouldn’t be left out of pocket.

To get a quote for comprehensive car insurance from Rias, click here >