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What's the difference between third party and comprehensive car insurance?

Third Party Insurance Sometimes Provide A Cheaper Alternative To Covering Your Car On A Comprehensive Policy. But Is It Actually That Much Cheaper?

Feb 04, 2014

If you're shopping around for car insurance you may be wondering what the best options is: third party or comprehensive cover. While third party cover is the minimum legal requirement for driving in the UK, comprehensive cover offers a higher level of protection and peace of mind. In our guide, we look at the main differences between the two different types of cover. We also look at why comprehensive insurance may be more cost effective than you think.

Third party car insurance

Third party car insurance is often shorthand for a 'third party, fire and theft' policy. For example, if you are involved in an accident with another vehicle that is your fault, third party cover will pay for the damage to the other vehicle and any injury to the driver or passengers. It won't pay for the repairs to your car or for any injury to you. Third party, fire and theft cover also has the added provision of covering the complete loss and any damage to your car caused by fire or theft.

Fully comprehensive car insurance

A step up from the basic protection offered by third party, fire and theft cover is fully comprehensive car insurance. This type of policy covers any damage sustained by you, your car, and any third parties involved in an accident, fire or theft. Your comprehensive policy may also provide you with additional benefits such as windscreen cover, legal protection and a guaranteed courtesy car. However, the specific cover will vary from policy to policy.

Why comprehensive car insurance can actually work out cheaper

As comprehensive car insurance provides wider protection than a third party policy it would follow that it would be more expensive. However, according to the latest figures from the Confused.com Car Insurance Price Index, the average comprehensive car insurance policy now costs £644. Third party, fire and theft cover fell in price by 7.5 per cent in the year to January 2014 and, on average, a year's cover now costs £1053. Recent analysis in the Daily Telegraph showed that an 18 year old driving a Ford Fiesta choosing third party only cover was quoted £1,524 a year more for their insurance (more than double the cost) than if they had opted for a fully comprehensive policy. Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at the website who commissioned the research, said: "Comprehensive cover is often the cheapest for most age groups, as well as offering the highest level of protection. Young drivers should pay particular attention to the policy terms and conditions and take into consideration how they would fund the cost of repairs should they be involved in an incident their policy doesn't cover. "You should also check the excess levels on your policy as some insurers may uplift this amount based on the age of the driver - a high excess could add hundreds to the cost of a claim." Sandicliffe team up with local athlete on the road to Rio

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