Comprehensive car insurance explained

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Comprehensive cover
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Comprehensive car insurance (sometimes known as ‘fully comprehensive’ or ‘fully comp’) is the highest level of cover you can get.

It includes everything covered by third party and third party and fire and theft policies.

Here's how comprehensive insurance works and the optional extras you can add to your policy.

Comprehensive insurance includes cover for most types of damage

Comprehensive car insurance policies include cover for “non-fault claims,” where someone else causes damage to your car and your insurer can recover the claim costs from them.

Comprehensive policies also cover for “at-fault” claims, where you’re responsible for damage to your car. Or the person to blame can't be found.

For example, if your car is vandalised or someone hits your bumper and drives off.

Most comprehensive policies include cover for:-

  • Theft
  • Damage caused by fire
  • Vandalism
  • Accidental damage

Comprehensive policies might not cover everything as standard

Standard comprehensive policies can vary depending on your insurer, so you might not be covered for everything you need automatically.

Take breakdown cover for example. Some insurers automatically include it in comprehensive policies while others will offer it as an add-on, which you’ll have to pay extra for.

So it’s important to check what you’re covered for before buying. If anything is unclear, get in touch with the insurer to find out.

Car insurance add-ons you may need to buy include:

  • Breakdown cover
  • Courtesy car cover
  • Personal injury accident cover
  • Transport home after an accident
Comprehensive car insurance covers at-fault and non-fault incidents
Comprehensive car insurance covers at-fault and non-fault incidents

Comprehensive insurance might cover you to drive other cars

Some comprehensive policies include Driving Other Cars cover (DOC), which insures you to drive a car you don’t own.

DOC isn’t a common policy feature these days though and it’s usually limited to third party only car insurance. You can find out if you have DOC by checking your insurance certificate.

If you don’t have DOC but need to drive another person’s car, you could try temporary car insurance. It’s really handy if you only need insurance for a short period of time, like a road trip.

Unlike DOC, temporary car insurance is comprehensive which means it covers damage to the car you’re driving as well.

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Comprehensive insurance exemptions

Comprehensive insurance doesn’t cover the following types of claim:

  • Anything illegal: for example, if you were drunk-driving when you had an accident or were driving without a licence.
  • Breaking the rules: insurers will set out guidelines when you take out your insurance. If you break any of these, for example by driving way over your estimated annual mileage, they won’t let you claim.
  • Poor security: if you leave the doors unlocked and your car gets stolen, for example.
  • General wear and tear: insurers don’t cover you for the general repairs that are needed just from your car being used, like needing new tyres.

Comprehensive insurance can be cheaper than third party cover

Comprehensive policies can be cheaper than third party and third party, fire and theft insurance.

The average third party, fire and theft policy is around £847, almost double the price of the average comprehensive policy.

It sounds strange, we know, because with most things you often pay more when you buy a premium product. Insurance works a bit differently though.

Your policy price is based on how risky you are to insure and the chances of you making a claim.

Drivers with third party and third party, fire and theft policies are, statistically, more likely to have an accident.

So these policies tend to be more expensive than comprehensive insurance.

It’s worth shopping around to see how much each type of insurance policy will cost you.

Comprehensive car insurance can sometimes be cheaper than third party
Comprehensive car insurance can sometimes be cheaper than third party

Is comprehensive insurance worth it?

Comprehensive insurance is a good option if you want to make sure your car is covered for damage.

This might be because you wouldn’t be able to afford to get it fixed or replace it yourself.

If you can afford the cost of repairs it might be worth considering a third party policy.

Comprehensive insurance and no claims bonuses

Most insurers offer a no claims bonus for all insurance types, including comprehensive policies.

This means you’ll build your no claims bonus at the same rate on a third party policy as you would a more comprehensive one.

Bonus reading 📚
Lots of things including your age and job title can affect the cost of your car insurance. Learn more

Third party insurance covers you to drive in other countries

Comprehensive policies will cover driving abroad but there may be limits on how long you're insured to drive in another country.

Some insurers may only give you third-party cover to drive abroad, even if you have comprehensive cover in the UK. So it’s worth double-checking before you go anywhere.

Car insurance without the nasty bits

Cuvva hates deposits, interest, tie-ins and hidden fees - it's why we've scrapped them.

Instead, we offer flexible temporary insurance from 1 hour to 28 days.

It's perfect for borrowing and lending - and for experienced or learner drivers alike.

Whatever you're after, it only takes a few minutes to get a quote.

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From comprehensive to fire and theft. Learn more
Updated on 31st March 2023