If you drive a car you will need to be insured. That’s the law and there’s no way around it – unless you are prepared to run the risk of a prison stretch and subsequently find it impossible to get any type of car insurance in the future.
However, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Relatively basic third-party cover can be purchased at a reasonable price which will be enough to get you on the road and provide a degree of peace of mind.
So what is third-party cover – and how much protection will you receive?
Basically it’s the minimum amount of protection you can buy and pays out in the event of you causing damage to someone else’s property. This includes the cost of repairs to other vehicles and injuries sustained to any third parties – including any passengers in your own car. However, the negative is that there is no cover for you. Therefore, if you were to suffer an injury in an accident that was deemed your fault – or your vehicle sustained substantial damage in the crash – you won’t receive a penny. Incidentally, neither will you get any compensation if the vehicle is stolen, vandalised in the street or even set on fire, this is usually the first option for a young driver to bring down their premium.
Why should you consider third-party cover?
The simple reason it’s usually cheap. For new drivers or drivers with a provisional licence with limited budgets and cars that are worth relatively little, it can make sense. If your vehicle is only going to cost a few hundred pounds to replace it’s probably not worth paying a similar amount for cover. Of course, this is not the only possibility. When it comes to car insurance you have a few options to consider. Which is most suitable will depend on your individual requirements and how much you can afford to spend.
For example, as well as basic third-party cover there’s also third-party, fire and theft which, as well as offering the same level of cover as third-party, also protects your vehicle against fire damage and being stolen.
Then there is comprehensive insurance. This includes all the elements of protection already discussed in the third party car insurance options, as well as accidental damager cover for your own car and yourself. Additional benefits can include cover for personal possessions and even medical expenses.
How should you choose?
Firstly, it’s important not to immediately write off comprehensive cover as being too expensive because, depending on which insurer you choose, it might even work out as a better option than basic third-party protection. Anyone who owns a high-value car should definitely opt for a policy with greater coverage than third-party cover as any slight savings made on the premium will be easily wiped out should you be unlucky enough to have an accident.
What happens in the event of an accident?
If you have an accident that results in damage or injury to another person, vehicle, animal or property, you must give your own name and address and that of the vehicle owner’s, as well as the registration number of your vehicle. If you fail to provide your details then you should report the accident to the police as soon as possible within 24 hours. You must also report the accident to your insurer, even if you’re not intending to make a claim.
In addition, any accident with an uninsured driver should also be reported to the police immediately – as well as to your insurer who can advise you further as far as any claim is concerned. Separately, the Motor Insurers’ Bureau ensures that compensation is available to the innocent victims of uninsured drivers or hit-and-run (untraced) drivers.
Find out more about car insurance