In short, the legal answer is no, you don’t need fully comprehensive car insurance. You do, however, need some form of car insurance. Car insurance is a legal requirement for all motorists, but which type of policy you choose is completely up to you depending on what you can afford, your car’s value, and other factors that can affect the cost of your premium.
Comprehensive insurance, also known as ‘fully-comp’, is the policy that offers the most cover. Most other basic policies cover an innocent driver’s expenses to fix their car and compensation for their injuries after an incident. However, comprehensive insurance provides cover for an individual’s car and any injuries they suffer even if the collision was their fault, as well as property damage, fire damage, and theft of their vehicle.
Most people presume comprehensive insurance will be the most expensive as it provides the most cover, but this isn’t necessarily true. If there is a spike in third party only covers, then the cost of this policy can increase and can exceed the cost of fully comprehensive insurance policies. Back in 2010, it was found that the average premium for third party only was nearly 50% more expensive than fully comp. So, it is always worth checking how much each policy will be and weighing up the benefits of each policy compared to the cost.
Also, you mustn’t assume you are covered for everything if you opt for a comprehensive policy. Insurers offer different policies, including the amount of compulsory excess that is to be paid as well as benefits, like European breakdown cover, and you should check the T’s & C’s. For example, some insurers will offer inclusive breakdown cover, whereas others will offer this at an additional cost.
Opting for comprehensive insurance may mean that it offers you more cover, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can drive any car. Therefore, you mustn’t presume that you are covered by your comprehensive car insurance to provide you with third party cover in other vehicles. If you are caught, you could face a penalty. Each policy will differ, so if you are planning to drive more than one car, or you at least want the option to, then it is worth checking this before you purchase your policy.
If comprehensive cover isn’t right for you, then there are other policies for you to consider.
The most basic cover of the lot is third party only. This cover offers the minimum legal requirement. If a driver chooses this policy and they are involved in a collision that is deemed to be their fault, then this cover will not pay out to cover their expenses. Alternatively, the insurance will pay out for the innocent driver’s expenses and for any damages to their vehicle as well as any compensation for injuries they suffered.
Third party only cover is ideal for those who own a car with a low value and who aren’t too concerned with protecting their vehicle. These policies are often popular with young drivers. Their insurance is often the most expensive as they are considered by insurers to hold the most risk, so it’s not surprising that they often opt for this policy. However, don’t always presume it is going to be the cheapest because it provides the least cover. Shop around and compare car insurance policies before you make a decision.
Third party, fire and theft offers the same as third party only, but with a couple of additional covers. This policy protects you from accidental fire damage and theft of your own vehicle, including any damage gained in the attempt of a theft, for example, a broken window.
This policy is ideal for those who value their car and want to protect it if anything happens to it, but also have faith in their driving ability and are willing to risk that they won’t cause a collision. Any damage to your own car if you cause an incident is still not covered in third party, fire and theft cover.
Comprehensive car insurance may provide the most cover, but it isn’t necessarily the best policy to opt for. So, whether you’re looking at comprehensive or third party, compare insurance policies to find one that suits you best.