A 4x4 car is a four-wheel drive car. (The first ‘4’ refers to the number of wheels a vehicle has, and the second ‘4’ refers to the number that receive power from the engine.)
When people talk about a ‘4x4’ vehicle, they’re normally referring to one that can go off-road, and Jeeps, Land Rovers and Range Rovers. They can drive virtually anywhere and pull pretty much anything, making them great for big family holidays, including camping trips.
But technically, a 4x4 is any vehicle with four wheels that are all powered by the engine.
A car insurance policy for a 4x4 works in the same as any other car insurance policy, and what it covers depends on the level of cover you take out.
Third-party insurance covers any damage caused to other vehicles, property and people, but won’t cover you or your car
Third-party, fire and theft insurance also covers damage caused by theft or a fire
Comprehensive insurance means you and your vehicle are also covered.
However, you should expect 4x4 insurance to be more expensive than for ‘standard’ cars.
Many 4x4 vehicles are more powerful and sturdier than other cars, and so can prove more versatile.
If you use your 4x4 to tow a caravan or a trailer, you should tell your insurance provider because you might not be automatically covered for this.
Similarly, if you intend to take your 4x4 off-road or drive on unsurfaced tracks, speak to your insurer first. A standard policy probably won’t cover that sort of driving as it’s considered to be riskier than driving on normal roads.
You should also tell your insurer if your 4x4 car is modified. If it’s a simple modification such as a towbar, it shouldn’t affect your premiums, but other modifications – such as upgraded suspension – that suggest you plan to use your vehicle for riskier activities might result in higher premiums.
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The Association of British Insurers and Lloyd’s of London set your car’s insurance group from 1 to 50. Generally, the higher the insurance group, the greater your insurance premium will be.
The cost of 4x4 car insurance will therefore depend on the type of 4x4 you own. The more expensive 4x4s will be in the higher numbered insurance groups, meaning you are likely to have to pay more on your premiums.
All car insurance is priced based on how your insurance provider assesses the risk – both in terms of how likely a claim is, and how much any claim is likely to cost.
It usually costs more to insure a 4x4 car for a number of reasons.
They can be used for things such as off-roading, which can increase the chances of an accident
They often cost more to repair (or replace) than other cars
4x4s can be attractive to car thieves as the parts they can strip and sell on the black market are often more valuable
Because they are bigger and more powerful than many other cars, they can do more damage in an accident.
There are a number of things you can do that might mitigate the expense of 4x4 car insurance.
As with all car insurance policies, adding security features to your car, such as an immobiliser or a tracker, can bring down the cost of your policy. Opting for a higher voluntary excess and paying your premiums annually can also have positive impacts on the cost.
But there are some things specific to 4x4 cars you could consider. For instance, if you don’t intend to take your car off-road, tell your insurer, because they might have assumed otherwise, and don’t add modifications to the vehicle that you don’t need - these will mean your policy costs more than it needs to.
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