Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

Comprehensive vs third party car insurance

Which one is best for you?

Updated

Fact checked

The perfect car insurance policy would be free. However, since this isn’t an option, you need to look at cost in relation to cover instead.

pink-vintage-car (1)

Let’s break it down…

Do you want the full package, or just the essentials?

  • Third party car insurance: The all-important liability insurance.
  • Comprehensive car insurance: The full package. If the damage makes a mess of your car or bank account, comprehensive insurance might cover it.

Spot the difference

Third party car insuranceComprehensive car insurance
Covers third party liability?
  • Yes
  • Yes
Covers accident damage?
  • No
  • Yes
Covers fire, flood, earthquake, storm, hail and similar?
  • No
  • Yes
Covers theft?
  • No
  • Yes

What is third party liability insurance?

If you rear-end a BMW, then the BMW driver is the third party. The liability is your obligation to cover the cost of damage.

Third party liability insurance pays for your liability on the road. It’s cheap “essential” car insurance because the liability may cost a lot more than your car. Say you have a heart attack while driving and plow into a mansion. Maybe it wasn’t your fault per se, but legally it was and you might have to pay for the damage.

Without liability insurance, it could mean a lifetime of debt and garnished wages and the possibility of a second heart attack when you get the bill! With liability insurance, it means filling out some paperwork instead.

Just as useful, liability insurance may also let you “borrow” a high powered corporate legal team, if some jerk pulls an insurance scam or otherwise tries to hold you liable for property damage.

It makes sense. Sometimes an insurer can save money by fighting a claim or reaching a settlement, rather than paying for the liability. With liability cover, you and the insurer have the same goals.

This is why a car insurance policy typically tells you not to admit to guilt or liability after an accident. It’s so the lawyers can defend you more easily if it comes to it.

What is comprehensive car insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance includes liability insurance as above. It also covers damage to your car.

The main kind is probably accident damage. However, if needed, comprehensive cover may pay out for floods, earthquakes, fire, theft, falling tree branches or being hit by a falling meteor on the freeway. All the usual driving hazards.

There are some catches though. For example, you probably won’t be able to claim for a punctured tyre.

There’s also the excess to worry about. This is a flat sum that you must pay when making a claim. It’s designed to cover administrative fees, prevent customers from claiming for every single nick and scratch, and to make you think twice before claiming.

Are there any other kinds of policy?

Between the two you find third party insurance with fire and theft cover. This is exactly what it sounds like.

Fire and theft are two of the most common types of car insurance claim, other than accidents, so it can be a useful blend.

What else is covered?

You can also find a range of other benefits with car insurance. As expected, you find a lot more with comprehensive than the others.

These can include complimentary roadside assistance; lock and key replacement after theft; a rental car following a claim and many more.

Third party only policies are often a bit sparse on the extras, with the exception of an “uninsured driver extension”.

This is a limited level of damage cover for your car, usually around $3,000 to $5,000, for use in one specific situation. When a driver without third party liability insurance of their own is at fault for an accident and damage to your car.

They need to be found at fault though, so this means you need to get their details like name, address and contact number.

However, for obvious reasons, a driver without insurance might not be keen to stop and swap insurance details after an accident. So, good luck with that.

Compare car insurance options in New Zealand

Name Product Legal Liability Agreed or Market Value Accidental Damage Roadside Assistance
AMI Comprehensive Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
Optional
Agreed value cover and choose an excess that works for you. Add AMI's Standard Breakdown Service for $32 per year, including three call outs per year.
Tower Comprehensive Car Insurance
$25,000,000
Agreed or Market
Yes
Optional
Save $50 when you buy your policy online and earn Airpoints Dollars. Get a multi-policy discount of up to 20%. Optional roadside assistance.
State Comprehensive Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
Optional
Save $50 when you buy online. Optional roadside rescue, windscreen glass cover and hire car add ons.
Cove Comprehensive Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
Optional
Cove offers monthly contracts you can cancel any time.
AA Comprehensive Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
Yes
Save with multi-policy discounts and exclusive discounts for AA members. Lifetime repair guarantee for parts and workmanship.
The Warehouse Everyday Plus Comprehensive Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
Optional
Agreed value cover with lifetime guarantee on repairs. Most claims handled by phone with no forms to fill in.
Protecta Comprehensive Car Insurance
up to NZ$10 million for property damage and NZ$1 million for injury
Agreed
Yes
Yes
Discounts for named drivers only and excluding under 25s. Full no-claims bonus applied to new quotes.
Club Auto Comprehensive Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Market
Yes
Yes
Discount for 2 or more vehicles. No excess for windscreen and windows, plus optional cover for high-value items.
ANZ Comprehensive Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed or Market
Yes
Optional
Multi-policy discount when you have 2 or more policies with ANZ, and a discount for excluding drivers under 25. Optional roadside assistance.
Trade Me Comprehensive Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed or Market
Yes
Optional
15% discount for Trade Me members plus a multi-policy discount of up to 20%. Only one excess to pay for one event.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Legal Liability Agreed or Market Value Accidental Damage Roadside Assistance
AMI Third Party Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
No
No
No-claims bonus of up to 60%. Multi saver discount when you have two or more policies with AMI.
Tower Third Party Car Insurance
$25,000,000
Agreed or Market
Yes
Optional
Save $50 when you buy your policy online and earn Airpoints Dollars. Get a multi-policy discount of up to 20%. Optional roadside assistance.
State Third Party Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
Optional
Save $10 when you buy online. Optional roadside rescue and windscreen glass cover add ons.
AA Third Party Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Market
No
No
Save with multi-policy discounts and exclusive discounts for AA members. Lifetime repair guarantee for parts and workmanship.
The Warehouse Third Party Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Market
Yes
Optional
No-stress claims with no forms to fill in in most cases. Includes legal liability and damage by uninsured drivers.
Protecta Third Party Car Insurance
$10,000,000
Agreed
Yes
No
Discounts for named drivers only and excluding under 25s. Full no-claims discount applied to new quotes.
ANZ Third Party Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Neither
Yes
No
Uninsured driver protection of up to $3,000 and legal liability up to $20 million.
Trade Me Third Party Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
Optional
15% discount for Trade Me members plus a multi-policy discount of up to 20%. Only one excess to pay for one event.
AMP Third Party Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Market
Yes
Optional
Increase your excess and pay a lower premium. Cover for damage by uninsured drivers and optional roadside assistance.
Vero Third Party Car Insurance
Up to $20 million
Market
Yes
No
Includes up to $3,000 for damage caused by an uninsured driver and legal liability costs.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Legal Liability Agreed or Market Value Accidental Damage Roadside Assistance
AMI Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
No
Optional cover for glass breakage, medical expenses and accidental death. No-claims discount of up to 60%.
Tower Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$25,000,000
Market
Yes
Optional
Save $50 when you buy your policy online and earn Airpoints Dollars. Get a multi-policy discount of up to 20%. Optional roadside assistance.
State Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
Optional
Save $25 when you buy online. Optional roadside rescue and windscreen glass cover add ons.
AA Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Agreed
Yes
No
Save with multi-policy discounts and exclusive discounts for AA members. Lifetime repair guarantee for parts and workmanship.
The Warehouse Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Market
Covered up to the amount on your schedule
Optional
Market value up to the amount covered. Up to $5,000 for damage caused by uninsured drivers.
Protecta Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$10,000,000
Agreed
Yes
No
Discounts for named drivers only and excluding under 25s. Full no-claims bonus applied to new quotes.
Club Auto Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$2,000,000
Market
Yes
Yes
Liability and completion of journey cover included. Can be purchased as short term cover for visitors to New Zealand.
ANZ Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Market
Yes
Optional
Get a multi-policy discount when you have 2 or more policies with ANZ. Optional 24/7 roadside assistance.
AMP Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Market
Yes
Optional
Increase your excess and pay a lower premium. Cover for damage by uninsured drivers and optional roadside assistance.
Vero Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance
$20,000,000
Market
Yes
No
Market value cover in the event of fire or theft. Includes up to $3,000 for damage caused by an uninsured driver.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Read more on this topic

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site