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Third party car insurance is the most basic policy you can get, and it only covers you for a collision or accident that damages someone else’s vehicle or property. While it has historically been the most affordable level of car insurance on the market, this isn’t always the case.
If you’re on the hunt for a third party deal for your car, our guide offers some essential tips for comparing policies and choosing the right policy for you.
The specific level of cover you’ll get is likely to depend on your provider. However, as a general rule, the clue is in the name: third party car insurance will cover you for any damage you cause to another person’s vehicle or property, but it won’t cover any damage to your own vehicle.
The idea is that innocent drivers and passengers aren’t left out of pocket, or forced to claim on their insurance, simply because another road-user was being reckless.
This means that if you hit another driver’s car, or veer off the road and plough into someone’s house, your insurance will pay for the damage to the other car, or to the house; and for any injury compensation and/or medical bills (like physiotherapy) for anyone, except you, who was injured in the accident. But it won’t cover any repairs or replacement to your own car, whether it’s dented or completely written off, or for any medical treatment that you need as a result.
Third party car insurance is a legal requirement; fully comprehensive car insurance is optional. This is the highest level of cover you can buy to protect your car, and it allows you to make a claim for an accident even if it was your fault.
This type of policy is somewhere between third party only and fully comp cover. Again, the clue is in the name: third party, fire and theft insurance (TPFT) offers the same cover as third-party insurance, but can also cover you if your car is stolen or damaged by fire, usually including:
However, just like third party only, TPFT won’t cover any damage to your vehicle caused by a crash.
With several different types of car insurance available, it can be tricky to work out which type of policy is the best fit for you. To help make your choice easier, check out the comparison table below:
|Cover||Third party property damage insurance||Third party fire and theft insurance||Comprehensive car insurance|
|Damage to my vehicle in an accident|
|Damage to another person’s vehicle or property|
|Loss or damage to my car due to fire|
|Loss or damage to my car due to theft|
|Loss or damage to my car due to storm, hail and flood|
|Injury or death to someone else as the result of a car accident|
The short answer is “Maybe”.
If your vehicle isn’t worth much, which is sometimes the case when it’s your first car, then it might not be worth paying for comprehensive car insurance or TPFT.
In the past, a lot of young drivers tended to go for third party only cover because it was the cheapest option. However, this meant insurers started associating this type of cover with inexperienced drivers, and as a result, the premiums for third party only insurance went up. By opting for third party car insurance, you might inadvertently be opening yourself up to higher premiums, especially as a younger driver who is already seen as a greater risk by insurers.
The answer, as it so often is with insurance, is to do your research and compare policies before you buy.
Check the list of general exclusions in a third party policy to find out when the policy won’t provide any cover. Your claim will not be paid in the following situations:
There are a few reasons why you might opt for this type of car insurance:
These days, third party insurance isn’t always the cheapest: see “Why is third party car insurance so expensive?”, below.
The cost of your premium will depend on your personal circumstances. Here are some, but not all, of the things an insurer will consider to assess how much of a risk you are:
Insurance costs, as you probably know, are calculated on risk.
For a long time, third party cover was the cheapest option. This meant it was frequently taken out by drivers whose main priority was to lower their premiums, rather than to make sure they had a responsible level of cover. This meant that more and more claims were made on third party policies. Insurers began to see third party policy holders as more of a risk, and so they raised the premiums for this type of cover.
It really depends. As we’ve seen, these days TPFT and fully comprehensive policies sometimes work out as being more affordable than third party insurance.
Even when third party insurance does offer the lowest premiums, it still might not be worth it. If you have an expensive or new vehicle, you should probably get a policy which will protect it. Without the proper cover, if your new vehicle gets written off, you could be left tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.
On the other hand, if your car isn’t worth much, repairs to your car are fairly cheap and straightforward or you think you can cover the cost of repairs yourself, it could be more economical to take out third-party cover, as the cost of getting it repaired could be more than its actual value.
First things first, work out what level of cover you need. If your car is damaged or written off, will it be incredibly expensive to repair or replace?
Once you’ve weighed up if third party insurance is the way to go, shop around. Take a closer look at the best car insurance policies and get quotes to see what different features they offer and for how much.
Really doing your homework will mean you find a policy that offers you the cover you need, at an affordable price.
Keep the following tips in mind to help you save money on your car insurance premiums:
Third party only car insurance is the most basic level of cover available, so it might be the most affordable but, depending on your circumstances, it might not. Do your research and get quotes for each type of insurance to help you decide which type of cover is best for you, based on the cover you need and not just the price.
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