Our guide explains what third party, fire and theft insurance covers, and how much you can expect to pay compared to other policy types
When insuring your car, you first need to choose from three levels of cover available: comprehensive, third party only and third party, fire and theft.
It’s important to know the difference before purchasing a policy, and you should also consider all the different types of cover if you want to get the best deal.
What does third party, fire and theft insurance cover?
Comprehensive insurance, as the name suggests, offers the most significant level of cover and will pay out for repair or replacement of your vehicle even if you are involved in an accident that was your fault.
But while this is the most full-featured type of cover, many drivers choose to take out a type of third party cover for their vehicle.
Third party only (TPO) is the minimum legal level of cover and only covers other vehicles and property in the case of an accident or claim. Third party, fire and theft policies can offer additional peace of mind by including protection if your car is damaged or destroyed in a fire, stolen, or damaged as a result of theft from your vehicle.
Does third party, fire and theft insurance cover accidents?
It’s important to note that if you have a third party, fire and theft policy and are involved in an accident, you won’t always be able to claim for any damage to your car.
If you are involved in an accident and your car is damaged, you should be able to make a claim from the other driver’s insurance if it was their fault (e.g. if they drove into the back of your car). If it’s not deemed to be their fault or you can’t claim from their insurer, for example if they are illegally uninsured or they leave the scene and you can’t track them down, you will need to pay for any repairs to your car yourself.
How much does third-party, fire and theft insurance cost?
Prices for third party, fire and theft cover will differ as insurers rate all drivers on a number of factors and calculate their premiums that way. These factors include your driving experience, the type of car you drive, your history of claims and convictions, your location and even your occupation.
However, there is often a price difference between the types of policy, and not always in the way you would expect.
The lower level of cover is not always cheaper. Although comprehensive insurance includes more cover, many insurers offer it for the same price or even cheaper than third party, fire and theft policies.
Historically, lower level policies were the cheapest, which encouraged many young and new drivers to purchase them. Because these high risk drivers make a disproportionate number of claims compared to other drivers, insurers started to deem third party and third party, fire and theft policies as higher risk, meaning the premiums increased.
This means that third party, fire and theft policies are often more expensive than comprehensive policies for some drivers, even though they include less cover. Third party, fire and theft is also often cheaper than the most basic level of cover, third party only.
With this in mind, it’s worth considering all types of policy when shopping around for insurance. It’s easy to switch between levels of cover when comparing with uSwitch, so you can easily see which type of insurance offers the best value for you.
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