It is important that you have insurance for your vehicle; in fact, in the majority of countries it is actually a legal requirement. Most insurance providers offer three levels of cover, of which, as the name suggests, fully comprehensive cover offers the most protection.
The most basic level of car insurance is third party insurance. In the UK you need to take out third party insurance as an absolute minimum, even if you do not intend to drive the vehicle. The only exception to this is if you officially register your car as being off the road by submitting a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) to the relevant authorities.
In a nutshell, third party insurance covers everyone involved in a motor vehicle accident besides you. This means that if you injure someone, or cause damage to their property, your insurer will cover any costs involved, but they will not pay out if your own vehicle is lost or stolen; you will have to cover these costs yourself.
Although third party insurance offers the most basic level of cover, strangely it is not always the cheapest; a fully comprehensive policy can work out cheaper. However, third party insurance cover can be a viable option if you are unable to obtain fully comprehensive cover for a reasonable price. This can occur for a number of reasons, namely; you live in an area that is deemed as being high risk with regard to crime etc., you do not have a no claims bonus, or your vehicle has a low monetary value therefore you could afford to simply replace it if the worst happened.
One step up from third party insurance is third party, fire, and theft. This type of policy is similar to third party cover in that it covers other people if an accident occurs, but if your own vehicle is damaged your insurer will not pay out. However, if your vehicle is stolen or damaged by fire the policy will cover repairs or replacement.
In common with a basic third party policy, third party, fire and theft insurance is not necessarily cheaper than fully comprehensive insurance; this depends upon your personal circumstances, and the deals offered by different insurance companies. When you are looking for a car insurance policy it definitely pays to shop around.
As mentioned previously, fully comprehensive cover offers the highest level of cover. It is the only type of policy that provides cover for damage to your own vehicle, even if the accident was your fault, in addition to the coverage offered by third party, fire, and theft insurance.
If you take out a fully comprehensive policy you can claim for: accidental damage or deliberate acts of vandalism, and repairs after an accident. In addition, you may be legally able to drive another person’s vehicle with their permission; although the level of cover offered would usually only equate to a third party policy.
Fully comprehensive insurance policies differ widely between insurers, but many include cover for: personal belongings that are in the car, car stereos, speakers, or sat navs, windscreen damage and loss or theft of keys, and vehicle recovery. These may be automatically included in the policy or offered to you as optional extras.
When deciding how much car insurance you require it is wise to read the benefits of each type of policy very carefully and ask yourself if you really need them. For example, if you are the owner of a low-value vehicle that you could afford to replace yourself, and you do not have a no claims bonus, resulting in fully comprehensive cover being more expensive, then third party insurance could be adequate.
When shopping around for a new car insurance policy it is always advisable to read the policy details in full; especially the small print. Some fully comprehensive policies offer a courtesy car for use if your own vehicle requires repairs, but you may find that you are only eligible for this if you use an approved repairer. In addition, there may be a time limit regarding the number of days that you can keep the car; usually between fourteen and twenty-one days.
If you wish to allow friends or other family members to drive your vehicle then you need to look out for a policy that allows you to add named drivers.
When applying for car insurance you must make sure that the information you provide is entirely accurate, or your application may be denied. Similarly, you must always advise your insurer with regard to any change in your details during the term of the policy, or you may find that any future claim could be denied. Be sure to tell your insurance provider if you change your address, get points added to your license, use your vehicle for business purposes, make significant modifications to your car, change your occupation or trade, change the alarm system, or the place where you park your car, have an accident, or if you have previously made a claim.
Deciding how much car insurance you need can be difficult. It often pays to consult an experienced insurance broker if you are at all unsure. They will find a policy best suited to your needs, and will also give you access to the best deals.