When you search for car insurance, you have three choices as to the type of cover you buy. These are:
- Third-party only;
- Third-party, fire and theft, and;
As the names suggest, a comprehensive policy offers greater protection than the other two types. All drivers must by law have at least third-party insurance.
This means that you are insured against any claims made by drivers whose vehicles are damaged in an accident that was your fault. It also covers you for claims made by other road users. But the problem with third-party cover is that you can not make claims for damage to your own car – or injuries you or your passengers sustain – unless an accident can be shown to be someone else’s fault.
The advantage of comprehensive policies
This is why most drivers opt for comprehensive cover. It means you can claim from your insurer for accidents that are your fault, and also when fault can’t be proven – for example if you return to your parked car and find it has been damaged by an unknown vehicle.
If you don’t have comprehensive cover, you run the risk of having to foot the bills for this kind of damage – you could even have to find the cash to replace your car altogether if it is written off.
Comprehensive insurance doesn’t just mean that you’ll be able to claim on your insurance if something happens. It also gives you the peace of mind that, whatever happens on the road, your financial losses should be limited to the value of the excess on your policy.Is comprehensive insurance more expensive?
Given the extra protection it provides, you would expect a comprehensive policy to cost more than a third-party or third-party, fire and theft policy for the same driver and the same car.
This is indeed normally the case – but it is not always. When you are comparing prices of insurance policies to find the one that’s best for you, it could be worth seeing whether comprehensive cover is as cheap as third-party, especially if you’ve been considering choosing a lower level of insurance to save money. So why are comprehensive premiums sometimes lower?
It’s because a lot of high-risk drivers who are faced with very high insurance costs opt for third-party cover to save money.
As these drivers present a higher risk to insurers – perhaps they are younger men, who tend to be involved in more accidents – the statistics, over time, show greater numbers of third-party claims. And this results in a rise in the premiums on third-party policies.That’s why you should check comprehensive policy prices before going ahead and buying third-party cover.
Remember, comparing prices like this costs you nothing and takes just a few clicks of your mouse. And you could end up getting a better level of cover than you’d planned for little or no extra cash.Where comprehensive cover could fall shortDespite its name, a comprehensive insurance policy may fall short in some areas.
There are certain policy extras – such as the availability of a courtesy car if your vehicle needs repairs – that some insurers include as standard, but which other firms ask you to pay extra for. You should not just assume you’ll get these automatically: check before you sign up.Courtesy car: many policies will make a car available to you if your own motor needs to spend time at the garage, but not all do. Also bear in mind that you are unlikely to get a courtesy car if your own vehicle is stolen or written off.
Breakdown cover: comprehensive policies are unlikely to include this as standard. You may be able to get cover from the same insurer by paying extra. But, as with your normal insurance, it always pays to shop around to get the cheapest possible quote.
Other ways to save on your premiums:
With motor insurance prices soaring over recent months and years, drivers are desperately keen to reduce the cost of cover wherever possible.
Opting for a lower level of insurance than comprehensive policies offer could be a false economy, however, if you are involved in an accident which isn’t someone else’s fault. There are other options for reducing your insurance costs, however:
Reduce the excess you pay. You can cut your premiums by opting for a larger voluntary excess – so if you agree to pay the first £250 of any claim rather than just the first £100, your policy will cost less.Beef up your security. If your car is fitted with an alarm or immobiliser, it should be harder to steal. This should lead to a lower cost of cover.
Add a named driver. If you are relatively inexperienced on the roads, this is probably making your insurance more expensive.
If you own more than one vehicle why not try a multi-car policy to save a discount on both vehicles and make managing your insurance easier.
By adding a more experienced named driver, such as a parent, to the policy, you could see premiums fall.Shop around: As you’re on Confused.com already, you probably don’t need reminding. But if you’re buying insurance for the first time, or your policy is up for renewal, comparing the best prices from the widest range of providers is the easiest way to cut your premiums.