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What is the difference between third party and comprehensive car insurance?

When choosing car insurance, you might be confused about the difference between third party and comprehensive insurance. We explain here how costs vary between the three different types of car insurance to help you understand which is your best choice.
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Third party vs. comprehensive insurance - which is which?

You might expect third party only to be the cheapest form of insurance policy β€” after all, third party offers the least protection of all types of car insurance. But don't assume this is the case as sometimes drivers can end up paying more for less cover.

Third party insurance (known as third party only or TPO) is the minimum amount of cover you need to drive legally in the UK.

If you get into an accident that was your fault, your insurance will cover losses to any third party vehicles or property, but damage to your own car will not be covered. If your car is stolen or fire-damaged, your insurer won't pay to replace or repair it.

Third party, fire and theft insurance (TPFT) has the same basic features as third party only, but your losses will be covered in the case of a fire or theft.

Comprehensive insurance includes all of these features as well as paying out for damage to your car in the case of a claim, whether or not you are at fault.Β Read our guideΒ for a detailed look at the different types of car insurance available.

Is third party insurance cheaper than comprehensive insurance?

Traditionally, third party and third party fire and theft cover were much cheaper than comprehensive insurance, but for many this is no longer the case.

In the past, high-risk drivers (such as young drivers and those with no experience) would choose lower protection in order to cut their insurance costs.

But insurers have become wise to this after realising they were processing more claims from high-risk drivers with third party policies. These policies are now associated with a higher crash risk and are typically more expensive.

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Should I get third party or comprehensive car insurance?

Even if comprehensive cover is more expensive for you, you might want to consider the costs you would face if you got into an accident. With third party or third party fire and theft policies you’d have to cover your own repair or replacement costs.

If you’re on the lookout for third party or third party fire and theft insurance, make sure you compare quotes for fully comprehensive insurance too β€” you might get much more for your money and you could even save hundreds.

If you’re not sure whether third party or comprehensive insurance will be cheaper for you, it’s best to compare different quotes, so you can easily switch between cover types to see how it affects the price.

There are lots of ways to save on your insurance cover, as we list in our guide.


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