Do I need comprehensive car insurance?

Last updated January 11, 2022

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 entirely up to you. You’ll need to consider what you can afford, your car’s value, and other factors that can affect the cost of your premium.

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What is comprehensive cover?

Comprehensive cover – or fully comp – offers the highest level of protection, allowing you to claim for an accident even if you were at fault. Therefore, you’ll be fully covered for damage to your car regardless of who caused it.

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 cover, the cost of these policies may increase and exceed the cost of fully comprehensive insurance policies.

Back in 2010, the average premium for third-party-only cover 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 must not assume you are covered for everything on 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.

Can I drive any car with fully comp insurance?

Having fully comp insurance covers your car, not anyone else's. If your insurer allows you to drive a different vehicle, they will likely only provide a maximum third-party cover.

What insurance do I need?

If comprehensive cover isn’t right for you, there are other policies for you to consider:

  • Third-party-only cover

    The most basic car insurance is third-party-only, which provides the minimum legal requirement. If a driver chooses this policy and is involved in a collision deemed to be their fault, the policy will not cover their expenses. However, third-party only cover will reimburse the innocent driver’s expenses, including any vehicle damage or compensation for injuries.

    Third-party-only cover is ideal for those who own a car with a low value and aren’t too concerned with protecting their vehicle. This policy is often popular with young drivers. Their insurance is often the most expensive as insurers consider them to hold the most risk, so it’s not surprising that they often opt for this policy. However, don’t always presume it will 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

    Third-party, fire and theft offers the same cover as third-party only, but with a couple of additional covers. This policy protects you from accidental fire damage and theft of your vehicle, including any damage sustained in a robbery attempt - a broken window, for example.

    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. Bear in mind that any damage to your car will not be covered if you are at fault for an accident.

    Comprehensive car insurance may provide the most cover, but it isn’t necessarily the best policy. So, whether you’re looking at comprehensive or third-party, be sure to compare insurance policies to find one that suits you best.