It is a legal requirement for motorists to have at least third party only (TPO) car insurance in order to drive on UK roads. This is necessary to safeguard any third parties involved in an incident. For instance were you to crash into another vehicle and the accident was deemed to be your fault, then despite not being able to claim for damage to your own vehicle, you would at least be covered for any damage or personal injury incurred by the other driver. You would also be covered for legal costs in the event of such proceedings, excluding fines.
Few drivers take out third party only car insurance, as it does not cover the policyholder in the event that their vehicle is stolen and/or set ablaze*. A far greater proportion of drivers will take out third party, fire and theft (TPFT) cover. This makes sense if you consider that regardless of advances in anti-theft technology, it is not possible to be absolutely certain that your vehicle will not be stolen – or at least damaged in the attempt.
TPFT cover will allow you to pursue claims for damage to your car resultant from an attempted theft. This can include, for example, the theft of your car stereo. The provision for fire damage will typically come into play when thieves burn out a car in order to destroy evidence, but it can also apply to any other potential fire damage.
If a fire or theft claim arises, there will usually be an excess for the policyholder to pay before they can recover a payment. The excess will usually fall between £100 and £150 – but can be a higher or lower amount depending on the vehicle.
TPFT cover tends to bring about cheaper premiums than comprehensive cover. However, before making a decision solely on this price, it’s an idea to consider what extra you can get from a comprehensive policy. The chief difference is that a comprehensive policy will cover you for damage to your car. As such, you will be covered for repairs carried on your vehicle after a collision, or you will recover the market value of your car if it is deemed uneconomical to repair (written off). If you have a TPFT policy, you’ll have to pay out yourself.
In addition, where a window is smashed in an attempted theft, and yet nothing is taken, your TPFT policy may not cover you. This is because it may be viewed as a windscreen/window claim rather than a theft by insurers. In such a case, you will certainly be covered by a comprehensive policy. Plus the excess payable with comprehensive cover in such a situation (typically £50 - £75) would be less than excess payable for a successful theft claim (typically £100 - £150).
Not all car insurance providers will offer TPFT cover on vehicles over a certain value. It is wise to take out comprehensive cover on cars worth £5,000 or more – or indeed any car that you could not afford to repair or replace out of your own pocket, should the worst come to the worst. Plus you should always take out comprehensive cover if you have purchased your car on credit.
*Some insurance companies will – in some circumstances – insist on third party only cover, and not offer comprehensive or third party, fire & theft. An example of this might be where a car is over 30 years old, as replacing car parts which are no longer readily available would be very expensive for the insurance company. In such situations, they may recommend going to specialist or classic car insurers, or offer no more than third party only insurance.
Compare car insurance - you could find a great deal in minutes Get a car quote