Third-party car insurance

Third-party car insurance is the lowest level of cover you can have to legally drive on the roads. It offers cover for any claims made against you if you damage another vehicle or person while driving; however, it won’t offer any protection for your own car.

You can compare prices for third-party cover when you get a car insurance quote and decide if it’s the best option for you, but make sure you know what’s included in each level of cover first. C icon
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What does third-party only insurance cover?

Third-party car insurance, sometimes called ‘third-party only’ (TPO), offers the most basic level of protection you’ll need to drive on the roads.


Third-party only covers:

  • Damage caused to someone else’s vehicle if the accident is your fault
  • Damage to another person’s property during a road accident
  • Personal injury claims made against you (e.g. by another driver or their passengers)
  • Injury to a passenger in your car

Third-party only won't cover:

  • Any damage to your car if an accident is your fault
  • Fire damage to your vehicle
  • Replacement or repair if your car is stolen or broken into
  • Damage caused by an uninsured driver
  • Medical costs if you’re injured in an accident that’s your fault

If you need more cover than third-party offers, consider other levels of car insurance like third-party fire and theft (TPFT) and comprehensive policies

What does third-party, fire and theft cover?

Third-party, fire and theft (TPFT) cover means you’re covered for everything included in third-party only insurance, as well as the following:

  • Damage to your car caused by vehicle theft or an attempted theft
  • The cost of replacing your car if it's stolen and can't be recovered
  • Damage or destruction of your car caused by fire - although in the event of suspected arson, you’ll need a crime reference letter from the police to support your claim

As with third-party only, third-party, fire and theft doesn't cover any damage to your car caused due to an accident that was your fault.

What’s the difference between third-party and comprehensive car insurance?

The main difference between third-party policies and comprehensive cover is that a comprehensive car insurance policy will cover you if your car is damaged in an accident, even if it’s your fault. 

Comprehensive car insurance is the highest level of cover you can get and is often a cheaper option than third-party cover. Because of this, it’s often a better deal for most people as it covers you for most risks:

Feature covered
fire and theft
Damage to other cars
Damage to someone's property
Personal injury to other drivers or passengers
Fire damage
Repair or replacement after car theft
Damage to your car in an accident, even if it's your fault

What our expert says

"People often assume that third-party will be cheaper as you’re getting a lower level of cover, but that’s not usually the case. It’s quick and easy to switch between cover levels as you view your prices, so it’s always worth checking the cost of comprehensive cover too. Otherwise, you might find you’re paying more for less by choosing third-party."

Why is third-party insurance more expensive than comprehensive?

Third-party car insurance is often more expensive because historically insurers have seen higher risk drivers taking out these policies who are more likely to make a claim.

Third-party was originally the cheapest type of cover available, but when insurers saw that more high value claims were being made on these policies, they gradually raised the prices to account for it.

Now, comprehensive policies are usually better value for money for most drivers. However the cost of your insurance is calculated on personal factors, such as your age, occupation, the make and model of your car and your claims history.

The average prices for each policy type are:1

Third-party only


Third-party, fire and theft




1Based on data May 2023

How do I compare different cover levels?

You can compare third-party, third-party fire and theft (TPFT) and comprehensive insurance prices when you get a quote. You'll need to choose a cover type before you see your prices, but don't worry, you'll be able to change your mind later. 

Some important details can be updated on the results page including the cover level, excess and payment type. To make sure you're getting the best cover, try switching between third-party and comprehensive insurance and checking the price difference.
An example of a phone screen with a section including a dropdown to change the cover type shown enlarged

Why should I get third-party car insurance?

There are some instances where having third-party insurance might work for your personal circumstances, for example:

  • If you can afford to cover the cost of repairs to your car yourself if you are in an accident.
  • If your car has a low value it might be more expensive to repair than it’s worth, so you might not feel like you need to cover it for damage. 
  • If you are a convicted driver you might find some insurers are only able to offer you third-party insurance. 

What do I need to get a third-party car insurance quote?

To get a third party car insurance quote, there are a few details you’ll need:

Personal details:

  • Your name and address
  • Your occupation
  • Details of your licence and driving history
  • Details of any previous claims

Car details:

  • Details of the car you'd like to insure
  • Any modifications made to your car
  • When you'd like the cover to start
  • How much the car is worth

When you get your car insurance quotes, you’ll be able to switch between cover levels to see how the price compares for third party, TPFT and comprehensive cover.

What else can I do to get cheaper car insurance?

There are lots of ways to reduce the cost of your car insurance. Here, we’ve included 5 ideas to help keep your insurance cost low when you talk to your insurer:

  • Increase your voluntary excess
  • Add a named driver
  • Enhance your car's security
  • Build your no-claims bonus
  • Check your mileage

Increase your voluntary excess, which is the amount you pay voluntarily toward any claim you make. This could lower your car insurance costs, however it does mean that you’re likely to pay more towards any future car insurance claims. 

Add a named driver, such as a spouse or partner, to your car insurance policy. Less experienced or younger drivers in particular may find adding a named driver with a good driving history can help make their insurance more affordable.

Enhance your car's security with features like an alarm, immobiliser or tracker. This makes it harder to steal and shows your insurer you're less likely to make a claim for theft.

Build your no-claims bonus and you could get discounted prices as a reward for several years of safe driving. For each year you go without making a claim, you get another year added to your no-claims bonus (NCB). The higher your NCB, the bigger the discount you could get. 

Check your mileage as part of your insurance costs are calculated on how much time you’re on the road. If you drive 8,000 miles a year rather than 10,000 miles, tell your insurer, as your cover could be cheaper.

Need more help?

Why is it called ‘third party’?

The term 'third-party' comes from insurance law, where the driver themself is the first party, the insurance party taking on the risk for them is the second party, and the vehicle or driver involved in any accident is the the third party. 

The term is used for the cover levels because they protect other road users, not the driver named on the insurance themselves. 

Can I still get a no-claims discount with third-party insurance?

Yes, you can build up a no-claims discount with all types of annual car insurance, including third-party insurance. 

For every year that goes by without making a claim, you build up a discount that’s taken off your next year’s cost.

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