Whether it’s your first rodeo or your first car was an original Mini (you know, the ones that were actually… mini), insurance is a language of its own. So we’ll be breaking up the jargon party by setting out what the different types of car insurance actually mean.
Unfortunately, we do need to point out that there really is no substitute for wading through your policy documents to check the coverage is what you expect. But hopefully this guide will help you take the first step in working out what type of insurance is right for you.
What does third party insurance cover?
This is the most basic type of car insurance that you’re allowed to drive with. It covers you for any accidental damage you do to other people or their property, but not to your own.
This means that if you’re in a crash that’s your fault, you can claim for the necessary repairs to the other car. You can also claimm for any injury costs for your passengers or the other driver. You’ll be responsible for paying for any damage to yourself or your car.
If it’s not your fault then you can claim on the other driver’s insurance.
Who should get third party insurance?
Owners of older vehicles whose cars are likely to be worth less than any repairs could benefit from third party only insurance. But it’s usually a good idea to have a look at other coverage options available.
Lots of people assume that as this is the lowest coverage option, it’s also the cheapest. Weirdly, this isn’t always the case.
How much you pay for your insurance will always depend on your individual circumstances. However, as a rule it’s worth looking at how much you’d pay for one of the options below that offer more coverage.
What does third party, fire and theft cover?
In addition to the third party cover explained above, your vehicle is covered if it’s damaged or destroyed by fire or if it’s stolen.
The thing to note here is that there’s still no cover for accidental damage to your car. So if you’re in an accident and it’s your fault, you’re still on the hook for any damage. If it’s the other person’s fault you claim on their insurance.
What does fully comprehensive car insurance cover?
This is the most popular type of car insurance and, as the name suggests, it offers the most coverage.
You get third party, fire and theft cover, but you can also claim for damage to your car (or in some cases yourself) even if it was your fault. You’ll probably also be covered if you can’t prove who caused the damage.
It’s always worth checking out this option because often it’s the cheapest, even though you get the most coverage.
What are car insurance add-ons?
These are the basics for the main different types of car insurance. However, most providers will either include or offer you the chance to add cover for other things that matter to you.
These can be things like special additional cover for specific bits of the car, like windscreen insurance, children’s car seats and or car key insurance. You might want to specifically cover these because then, if you need to claim, it will be separate from your main insurance policy. As they are relatively small value items, paying your full excess might be higher than the claim itself. If you want to keep your no-claims bonus intact, there’s cover available for that too.
Another area to think about is what breakdown cover you might like. You can usually find options for different levels of cover in the UK and Europe. If work or school-runs mean you really can’t do without wheels, you should consider a package that’ll get you a courtesy car if yours needs to stay in the garage for repairs.
And if you want extra peace of mind that a car accident won’t leave you out of pocket, personal accident cover and motor legal fees cover can help with that too.