Comprehensive car insurance offers the most complete level of car insurance — but is it the right type of cover for you?
When deciding on a car insurance policy, drivers have three main types of cover to choose from: comprehensive, third party fire and theft, and third party. As the name suggests, comprehensive car insurance is the type of policy that provides the highest level of cover.
Comprehensive cover is also known as fully comprehensive, (or fully comp for short), and full coverage insurance.
What does a fully comprehensive cover include?
Comprehensive car insurance is the only type of policy that will pay out for repair or replacement of your vehicle in the case of an accident that was your fault.
Third party insurance, being the minimum legal requirement in the UK, will cover damage to other vehicles or property in the case of an accident, but you will have to cover the cost of repairs to your own vehicle. Third party, fire and theft cover is similar, but the insurer will pay out if your car is damaged in a fire, stolen or broken into.
Many people choose comprehensive cover to protect their investment, as repairing or replacing their vehicle could put them out of pocket.
Even among comprehensive policies, no two insurance policies are equal. Some insurers offer additional extras as part of comprehensive policies, while other extra services will be subject to a charge. With uSwitch, you can compare comprehensive policies side by side, and the features included in the policy are clearly laid out for you to compare. Read our guide to car insurance add-ons and extras to find out more about the additional features available with some car insurance policies.
How much does comprehensive cover cost?
Like all car insurance policies, the price of comprehensive insurance is based on many factors including the type of car you drive, your driving experience, no claims bonus, and your history of claims and convictions.
You might assume that comprehensive car insurance costs more than other types of policy, but that’s often not the case. Third party insurance was historically the cheapest type of cover to purchase, but this led to many higher risk drivers taking out third party insurance to keep their costs down. As these higher risk drivers made a disproportionately high number of claims on their policies, third party premiums increased — meaning comprehensive insurance is often the cheaper option, especially for drivers deemed to be a high risk. You can read more about the price differences in our guide: Is third party cheaper than comprehensive insurance?
Even if a comprehensive policy costs you more in premiums, it could provide better value in the long run. If you opt for a lower level of cover and are involved in an accident, you could have to pay for any repairs to your own car yourself, or even pay to replace it if it’s irreparably damaged. With comprehensive cover you can claim for damage to your car even if you’re involved in an accident was your fault, and your insurer will pay you the market value for your car if it’s written off or stolen.
It’s also important to remember that you will have to pay an excess if you need to make a claim. Some insurers will reduce the cost of your premium if you opt to pay a higher excess in the event of a claim, but remember that you will need to pay this amount in the event of a claim, so make sure you opt for a realistic amount of voluntary excess.
As well as adjusting your excess, there are several things you can do to reduce the cost of your car insurance (no matter what level of cover you require), from choosing the right car to parking in a safe place, and of course comparing quotes on a price comparison website like uSwitch.