As a legal requirement, you might expect car insurance to be a relatively clear topic – something that everyone instantly understands and they’re able to just find the best price and pay it so they can get out on the road. Alas, clear-cut it is not.
You can search online for your car insurance rates by state or county – depending on whether you’re in the US or UK – and compare the prices now which makes things much simpler than it used to be, but the various forms of cover still make the decision a difficult one.
There are three main types of cover: third party, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive; and each offers a different amount of insurance and comes at a different cost. The most basic form of cover you can drive on the road with is third party and this is what many new drivers opt for purely because of the relatively inexpensive fee. However, as a new driver, you’re best to get the most coverage you can get to cover you for all eventualities.
To try and make the whole car insurance thing less complicated, here is a brief guide to each kind of coverage:
This, as mentioned, is the most basic form of coverage that will allow you to legally drive on the roads. It covers any third party including passengers and the other vehicle and property, but it does NOT cover damage to your own vehicle.
In summary, if the accident was your fault, you would have to pay for the repairs. If it was the fault of the other driver, then you would need to claim off their policy. The majority of people who take out this kind of cover are new drivers who have very little to spend, or the owners of vehicles that are relatively “old” and any repairs are likely to be inexpensive.
Third Party, Fire and Theft
This is very similar to third party cover in the sense that you pay your own repair bills if it’s your fault but you’re covered for any damage you cause – but your vehicle is covered in the event that it is stolen, damaged or destroyed in a fire.
This is the most popular form of car insurance and is often, as a result, the most expensive. It covers you for all damage done to your vehicle and other drivers’ depending on who is at fault, as well as any injuries you or passengers incur, and any damage to property as a result. It also includes the fire and theft policy.
A lot of fully comprehensive coverage will include a series of benefits that encourage you to go with that insurer over others but they are not necessarily guaranteed. For instance, some policies will include legal protection, breakdown cover and a courtesy car but these are often in addition to the policy and will subsequently add to the overall price of the policy.
Matt Rawlings is a motoring blogger based in the UK looking to help other motoring enthusiasts learn more about cars, insurance and having fun behind the wheel