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What are the different types of cover?

There are three main types of cover for car insurance: third party, third party fire and theft and comprehensive. Each type of cover suits different requirements, so make sure to consider all your needs before choosing which option to go with.

Third party

All drivers are legally required to at least be covered with Third Party insurance. It offers the most basic form of cover, offering protection if you damage someone else’s car or cause injury to someone in an accident. It also covers you if you cause injury to passengers of your car. This is often a popular choice for first-time drivers, cheaper cars, and those on a budget.

What’s covered?
  • Injuries to others, both in your car and other vehicles.
  • Damages to property or other vehicles.
  • The cost of legal claims against you.
What isn’t covered?

  • Damages to your car.
  • If your car is stolen.
  • If your car is destroyed by fire.

Third party only car insurance.

Third party, fire and theft

This type of policy is offers slightly more cover than the legal requirement, but it is still limited in what it protects you from. It covers you in the same way that third party car insurance does, but it also includes cover for fire and theft. This is often a popular choice for those who need a bit more cover without the price tag.

What’s covered?
  • Injuries to others, both in your car and other vehicles.
  • Damages to property or other vehicles.
  • The cost of legal claims against you.
  • Replacing your car if stolen.
  • Damages to your car as a result of attempted theft or fire.
What isn’t covered?

  • Other damages to your car.
  • Cover for your personal injuries.
  • A pay out if your car is written off.

Third party, fire and theft car insurance.

Comprehensive cover

This is the most complete form of car insurance you can get, so if you’re looking for top cover, this is the option for you. Comprehensive car insurance covers you for third party, fire and theft, as well as both yourself and your vehicle in the event of an accident.

What’s covered?
  • Injuries to others, both in your car and other vehicles.
  • Damages to property or other vehicles.
  • The cost of legal claims against you.
  • Replacing your car if stolen.
  • Damages to your car as a result of attempted theft or fire.
  • Other damages to your car.
  • Cover for your personal injuries.
What isn’t covered?

  • Any optional extras (see below).

Comprehensive car insurance.

This might surprise you, but in some cases comprehensive cover can work out cheaper than third party, fire and theft. Even if you don’t think you need fully comprehensive cover, it’s worth getting a quote so that you can compare the different costs.

Looking for extra cover?

  • Breakdown cover. This means that if you break down at any time, you can call someone to come and help get you out of trouble. Your provider will send someone out to you to try to fix your car or tow the car to a garage.
  • Courtesy car/hire car cover. If your car is being repaired or has been written off after a claim, this extra cover means you’ll be provided with a temporary replacement vehicle until yours is repaired or replaced.
  • Legal expenses cover. Insurance providers can cover the legal costs of you taking someone to court in order to reclaim any costs as a result of an accident. It can cover you for pursuing compensation for medical expenses, hire car costs and loss of personal items, such as jewellery. It can also cover you if someone brings a claim against you.
  • Cover for driving abroad. Whilst your insurance policy will already cover you for third party insurance abroad, you may want to consider taking out extra coverage. As they all drive on the wrong side of the road over there, adding full comprehensive cover onto your policy may end up saving you a fortune.
  • Windscreen cover. Repairing a windscreen can cost you a lot, so this additional extra may just be a saving grace. For a few extra pennies, your insurer can cover the costs of any chips and cracks in your windscreen.
  • Personal accident cover. This will cover you if you or your partner suffer a serious injury as a result of a car accident. Your insurer would pay to help with medical treatments, lost income and recovery costs.
  • Replacement key cover. If your keys are lost or stolen, then this covers the cost of replacing them.
  • Protected no claims. This cover means that, if you were to make a claim on your car insurance, your no claims bonus would stay intact. To purchase this, you normally need to have about 3 or 4 years of no claims.

Optional extras to add onto your car insurance policy.

Things that could invalidate your insurance policy

Any cover offered to you by your insurance company is likely to become invalid if any of the following arises:

  • You knowingly lie to or deceive your insurer in any way.
  • You change the use of your car from its original use. For example, changing from social domestic and pleasure to business use.
  • Your car is being driven by an unnamed driver on your policy or by a person that does not have a valid driving licence.
  • You use your car at rallies, races or competitions.
  • You are paid to carry passengers.
  • You fail to pay for your premium.
  • You change your car during the policy term to a car that the insurer cannot cover.
  • You do not provide the correct documents to support your application.

Check your policy for further details to confirm your cover is valid.

Tips for saving on your car insurance

  • Increasing security. If your car is not currently fitted with an alarm, think about adding one to reduce your premium.
  • Having a secure location to park your car. Cars kept in a garage or on a secure driveway are usually cheaper to insure.
  • Reduce mileage. If you start working part-time or your long commute becomes much shorter, letting your insurer know about a reduction in your mileage could result in cheaper insurance.
  • Fewer drivers. Only add drivers to your policy that regularly drive your car
  • Larger excess. Agreeing to pay a bigger voluntary excess could make your overall premium cheaper. But remember that your insurer won’t pay out for a claim that costs less than your excess. So be careful about making it too high, as it could leave you out of pocket if damage occurs.

How to compare car insurance

You can compare car insurance quotes from hundreds of providers by clicking on the green button below. You’ll need to complete a short online form by providing basic personal details and will then be shown a range of competitive insurance quotes. You should always keep the following in mind when comparing car insurance:

  1. Always review your current policy. Many customers believe they may be entitled to a loyalty bonus by staying with the same insurance provider, but the opposite is often the case. Insurers will often offer discounted policies to new customers, so it makes financial sense to compare your insurance options each year, instead of automatically renewing with the same provider.
  2. Use autofill. Autofill can help you save time when completing your insurance quote form, and can be turned on with most web browsers. If you want to review your quotes, or make small changes to your form, you can also do so by accessing the Finder quote email and clicking “Edit quote details”.
  3. Get your details right. The cost of cover is influenced by many different factors, including your age, location, occupation, and marital status, and changing one minor detail when completing your claim form can have a big impact on the quotes you receive. Make sure all your personal details and information are correct to ensure you’re getting accurate quotes.
  4. Compare your results. It may be tempting to just go with the cheapest quote you receive, but you should always do your own research to find the provider and policy that best suits your needs.

Our 2020 customer satisfaction league table

We asked policy holders to rate their satisfaction with their insurance company, and whether they’d recommend it to a friend. We’ve shown both for each brand in the table below. Our independent survey of 750 insurance customers was carried out in December 2019.

Overall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommendIssuerReview
★★★★★91%Picture not describedaviva logoThe largest general insurer in the UK and our top prize winner, Aviva has three levels of comprehensive cover to choose from, as well as third party and third party fire and theft cover. This might sound confusing, but customers in our survey praised the easy application process and good service.View deals
★★★★★81%SAGA logosaga logoSaga offers specialist tailored cover for drivers over the age of 50, with a minimum age of 45 (you must have at least one named driver over the age of 50 on the policy to qualify). Customers reported friendly service and a good level of cover.View deals
★★★★★75%Picture not describedWhile less of Direct Line’s customers said they would recommend the service, the strength of its policies pushed its overall score up. Customers surveyed called the products on offer competitive and the service helpful.View deals
★★★★★87%Marmalade logoAs Marmalade only offers cover to drivers up to the age of 30, it didn’t quite make our top 10. However, the service did very well in our survey, with customers calling it easy to use and praising the competitive prices.View deals
★★★★★84%Picture not describedSheilas’ Wheels started life as a female-only car insurance provider, but now offers cover to both men and women, with a focus on benefits to appeal to women and parents The service was said to be helpful and efficient by customers.View deals
★★★★★83%churchill logoMost people would be aware of Churchill, largely to its nodding dog. Love or hate those ads, customers called the service provided by Churchill reliable and helpful, and some were impressed by the claim handling process.View deals
★★★★★82%LV= logoAs well as standard car insurance, LV= also offers cover for electric and classic cars. Its comprehensive cover includes windshield damage and replacement locks and was considered good value by customers in our survey.View deals
★★★★★77%Picture not describedhastings direct home insuranceHastings Direct’s two main cover options are Direct and Premier. The company also offers Essential comprehensive cover, as well as third party and third party fire and theft, but there’s not a lot of information available on those.View deals
★★★★★76%Picture not describedAdmiral-logoAs one of the most well-known insurers in the UK, Admiral offers a range of cover options, including combined a home and car policy, multi-car cover and temporary car insurance. Customers praised the good value cover and helpful staff.View deals
★★★★★76%Picture not describedage uk insuranceThe company formerly known as Age UK, Age Co is another over-50s specialist. Like Saga, it also offers cover to younger drivers, but its policies are tailored to those with more experience – in life and on the road.View deals
★★★★★77%Picture not describedSwinton offers three levels of comprehensive cover, as well as third party fire and theft. All comprehensive options offer decent benefits and the company also caters for young drivers, convicted drivers and those looking for short term cover.View deals
★★★★★73%Picture not describedTesco-logoThe largest supermarket chain in UK, Tesco also provides solid car insurance policies. You can choose the Black Box policy for young drivers (17-35), or the standard cover for drivers over 21, which customers reported to be good value.View deals
★★★★★72%Picture not describedAxa’s comprehensive cover comes with a lifetime guarantee on repairs, a courtesy car and protection from uninsured drivers. The company’s claim handling service was said to be quick and efficient by customers in our survey.View deals
★★★★★71%Picture not describedKnown mostly as a posh department store, John Lewis also provides a range of financial products. Its comprehensive policy comes with a load of benefits, including misfuelling and vehicle ID theft cover as standard. View deals
★★★★★69%Picture not describedthe aa logoA staple of the British roads, The AA offers third party fire and theft cover and a benefit-laden comprehensive cover. AA members get extra perks and customers called the company’s car insurance cover reasonably priced with good service.View deals
★★★★★65%Picture not describeddiamond logoDiamond is another insurer targeting women drivers. Like Sheilas’ Wheels, it covers men as well, but has benefits such as handbag and child seat cover, which it believes will appeal to women (who are considered lower risk drivers).View deals
★★★★★64%Picture not describedMore Than’s comprehensive cover includes windscreen cover and replacement locks. The company also offers a third party, fire and theft policy, as well as cover for young drivers and a decent multi-car discount.View deals

We compare policies from

Age Co car insurance
Elephant car insurance
More Than car insurance
Post Office Money
Churchill
AA Car Insurance
AvivaPlus car insurance

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Frequently asked questions

Purchasing your policy

Choosing the right option

Adjusting your policy

Making a claim


*Savings of £260 based on independent online research by Consumer Intelligence (November’ 19). 51% of car insurance customers could save £260.25.
The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you.

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