crashed car with third-party insurance

Third-party car insurance explained

Car insurance is a legal requirement if you want to drive on the roads in the UK. Our article explores third-party only (TPO) car insurance and whether it is a good option for saving money compared to the other available options - third-party, fire & theft insurance or comprehensive insurance.


What is third-party insurance?

Third-party only insurance is the most basic level of car insurance cover for UK motorists. This policy type protects other people, their vehicles and property where damage is caused in an accident that is deemed to be your fault.

If there is damage caused to your vehicle in the event of an accident, fire, or your car is stolen, you will not be able to claim on your third-party car insurance. Instead, you will need to pay for the losses yourself.


What is covered by third-party insurance?

If you happen to be involved in an accident with third-party only car insurance, you will be covered for the following:

  • Damage caused to somebody else’s car

  • Damage caused to somebody else’s property, such as driving into a wall

  • Injury to a driver or passenger of another vehicle that was your fault


What isn’t covered by third-party insurance?

If you are involved in an accident and cause damage to someone else’s car, property or self, your car insurance provider may not cover you:

  • For damage caused to your car or property

  • If your car is stolen

  • If your car is damaged or destroyed by a fire

  • If you have to pay for medical care following an accident

  • If your windscreen is damaged

  • If belongings inside your car are damaged

Some third-party only insurance policies might cover you for some of the things mentioned above, and you may be able to add extras onto your third-party policy, such as windscreen or medical care cover. The level of cover your entitled will be detailed on your insurance policy document.


What is third-party, fire and theft insurance?

Whilst third-party only insurance covers you for damage to other people’s property, third-party, fire and theft (TPFT) insurance policies also usually cover claims for:

  • The value of your car if it is stolen

  • Fire damage to your car

  • Damage caused by an attempted theft, such as a broken window or locks


What happens if you’re involved in an accident with third-party cover?

Where the accident is your fault you will need to claim on your insurance policy for the damage to the other party involved. This could include damage to the other party’s car, property or personal injury. If the accident is your fault and you make a claim, you will lose your no claims discount (NCB) unless it is protected on your policy.

If you are involved in an accident that isn’t your fault, the other person or their insurance provider will pay any compensation for damages. Unless you have legal cover on your policy, you will need to either manage the claim yourself or get the help of an external claim specialist. As you are not claiming on your car insurance policy, your no claims bonus won’t be affected.


How does third-party compare to comprehensive insurance?

Fully comprehensive car insurance is the highest level of cover available. It offers the policyholder the same level of protection as third-party, fire and theft, as well as any damage to your car, property and any personal injury claims in the case of an accident.

Fully comprehensive policies may also cover damage to belongings that are damaged in the car, legal costs that may be incurred, personal injury costs and windscreen repairs. Similarly to third-party insurance, it is common that you will need to pay an excess fee for claiming on your car insurance - the excess fee will be outlined in your policy documents.


Is third-party insurance cover a good option?

Third-party car insurance might be a good option if the value of your car is low and the cost of repairs is likely to be higher than replacing the vehicle. Some people may opt for a third-party policy in an attempt to save money on their car insurance, however, it isn’t always the case that third-party is cheaper than a comprehensive policy.

For some cars, the cost to replace the vehicle and make repairs can be expensive - in these cases, it may be better to get comprehensive insurance to cover the costs rather than being out of pocket. However, if you prefer you can sell your damaged car to webuyanycar by getting a valuation and adding damage. For some car finance agreements, you may be obliged to take out comprehensive car insurance, which will be detailed in your finance documents.


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