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Should I get comprehensive or third party car insurance?

| Insurance

Car insurance is a legal requirement if you want to drive on UK roads. It’s needed even if you want to park your car on a public road or in your garage and never drive it, unless it’s been declared as ‘off the road’ or SORN. There are so many varying types of cover to choose from that mean taking out car insurance can be confusing. What’s the difference between third party and comprehensive cover, and what’s third party fire and theft insurance?

This helpful post outlines the different types of insurance and what they cover, as well as whether you can drive someone else’s car on your own insurance.

What is third party car insurance?

Third party insurance is the least amount of cover that you should legally have on your car. Third party only (sometimes referred to as TPO), covers any damage to other cars in the event of an accident but does not cover your own vehicle. This means that issues with your own vehicle following a crash will need to be paid for by you.

If you’re travelling with a passenger in the vehicle and you get into an accident, third party insurance will also compensate these passengers for their injuries.

Lots of people will take out third party insurance as they believe it to be cheaper than comprehensive cover, however, sometimes it can actually cost you more. This is because it is commonly young motorists, drivers with convictions or drivers that are considered a risk that take out this kind of insurance. This increase in risk usually boosts the cost of third party protection. Therefore it’s always worth comparing the cost of this type of insurance against comprehensive cover.

Third party fire and theft insurance is an additional option that you may consider. This insurance typically includes the same policies as TPO, however, you will also receive compensation if your vehicle is stolen or involved in a fire. These features would not be covered within TPO.


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What does comprehensive car insurance cover?

Comprehensive insurance, sometimes referred to as ‘fully comp’, covers you and your vehicle as well as any other vehicles that are involved in an accident, regardless of whether it was your fault or not. Not only could comprehensive insurance be cheaper than paying for third party cover, but if you get into an accident, your insurance company will pay for the damages to your vehicle.

You may receive compensation when the fault can’t be proven too. For example, if someone has hit your car while it’s been parked in a car park and then driven off. Without comprehensive cover, you would have to pay for any repair work. If your vehicle was written off, you would have to pay to replace the whole thing.

Your comprehensive insurance could also cover damaged windows or windscreens, replacement locks, trailer cover, and any audio or telephone equipment. You could receive monetary compensation for any personal belongings that are stolen or damaged too. Third party insurance would not cover these features. Optional extras that you can pay for include motor legal protection and key protection.

Can I drive someone else’s car on my insurance?

You may believe that you can automatically drive someone else’s car on your own insurance, however, this isn’t always the case, and you don’t want to be caught out.

Driving other cars (DOC) is only supposed to be done in an emergency. It’s not designed for frequently driving your partner’s car or borrowing the car of a friend. If you’re driving another’s vehicle on a regular basis, you should be added as a named driver. This can be done through their insurance company for an additional fee. It’s worth remembering that if you drive another vehicle on your insurance, you will only be covered on a third party basis.

If your insurance is TPO, it’s likely that you won’t be able to drive someone else’s vehicle. If you have comprehensive cover, you’d need to check with your insurance provider whether you’re covered or not. In some cases, you might have to request this as an additional extra and pay more for it.

If you thought you were covered for DOC but you aren’t, you could be fined, receive points and have an IN10 on your record. You could also receive up to eight penalty points and these will stay on your licence for four years. When purchasing insurance in the future, you may find that your premiums increase or that you may be refused cover completely.

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