Types of car insurance cover: what are they and how do they differ?
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Types of car insurance
Third party
Third party, fire and theft

When it comes to buying car insurance, there is a lot to consider. There's The price, the level of cover and the excess to name but a few. Especially when you are paying a high price for your policy, it makes sense to know exactly what you’re getting for your money.

In this post we are going to explain the different levels of cover you might get with your insurance policy. Understanding what you’re covered for with each type is important in ensuring that you buy the correct policy for your needs, and you won’t be caught out without the right protection in the event of an accident.

(If you're looking to find out more about our car insurance policies, then good news - they're all fully comprehensive!)

What's the legal minimum insurance cover you must have to drive on public roads?

We all know that car insurance is a legal requirement. The minimum insurance cover you must have in the UK is "RTA only", which means the minimum cover required by the Road Traffic Act. Very few insurers provide these policies as there isn't a huge difference between this type of policy and third party cover, so we won't talk about these in this post.

The minimum level of cover widely available by standard UK insurers is third party, but there are two other types of car insurance cover, namely third party fire and theft, and comprehensive.

You've probably heard the term fully comprehensive and wonder why that isn’t listed. In fact, fully comprehensive is the term that people commonly use when describing comprehensive insurance policies. Don't worry - although comprehensive is the accurate term used by insurers, they both mean the same thing.

A bit about the law

The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) law means that in the UK, if you are using your car on roads and in public places, it must be insured. Even if you don’t intend to use your car, unless it is declared off road by making a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), you are legally required to insure it.

(And even if you do SORN it, it won't cancel your policy.)

Anyone who is caught driving uninsured will automatically face a fine or other consequences such as court proceedings, and will also be forced to insure the vehicle. What’s more, if you are the registered keeper, you have a responsibility to ensure the vehicle meets these requirements, and could still be penalised even if you aren’t driving the uninsured car.

What is third party insurance?

Third party insurance will cover you for any injuries or damage you might cause to other people or their property, such as if you have a collision with another car that is your fault.

If you have an accident when using third party car insurance, your own car won’t be covered regardless of fault. However, taking out this type of policy means peace of mind that if you have an accident and incur a hefty bill, you are covered.

What is third party fire and theft?

As the name suggests, third party fire and theft gives you slightly more coverage than you would get on the third party policy. As well as protecting other people's property, it also provides coverage for your vehicle in case it is damaged by fire or stolen. However, like the third party policies, this type doesn’t cover your vehicle in the case that you have an accident that is your fault.

What is comprehensive insurance?

On the other end of the scale is comprehensive insurance, which offers the same coverage as the other types of car insurance, as well as full coverage for any damage that may be done to your own car if you have an accident that was your fault. Additionally, comprehensive policies cover events that have occurred without being able to determine fault. This includes things like finding your parked car has been crashed into.

Some policies might even include things like personal contents insurance for expensive items like sat navs that you might keep in the car. It is worth checking exactly what is covered in your comprehensive policy to make sure you are happy with the coverage you're getting.

The main differences between comprehensive and third party car insurance

The main difference between the types of car insurance is the protection of your vehicle in the case of an accident. Unlike the other two types of car insurance, comprehensive protects your vehicle.

There can also be differences in the pricing of these policies. You might think that third party would be cheaper than comprehensive, as it is providing less protection. However, third party only insurance can sometimes be more expensive. This is because risk is one of the factors used to work out the price of your insurance, and people who buy third party cover are statistically more likely to make a claim.

So, what type of car insurance do I need?

They say insurance is a bet you're happy to lose. So while you would hope that you never have to make a claim on your insurance, there is always the chance that you might need to. If you don’t want to have to foot a huge bill for repairs for your car, comprehensive cover is likely the type for you.

What type of insurance do we offer at Cuvva?

While the legal minimum is third party, we pride ourselves on offering a high quality product and ensuring our customers are well looked after. As such, all Cuvva short-term insurance policies are comprehensive in the UK to give our customers peace of mind, and ensure they have the highest level of protection in the unfortunate event that you have an accident. (Our monthly subscription policies will all be fully comprehensive, too.)

However, there are a few things that Cuvva policies don’t cover, such as breakdown and damage to the windscreen. We recommend that no matter which provider or type of cover you go with, you make sure you have the sufficient level of cover for your needs.

We aim to make our insurance policies easy to read so our customers understand exactly what they're covered for, but our Customer Operations team are on hand 24/7, 365 days a year to help with any queries.

Fully comprehensive
You'll often hear people talk about 'fully comprehensive' insurance. But it doesn't mean anything different to just plain old comprehensive.

Updated on 30th October 2018

Cuvva is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. (#690273)