Everything you need to know about comprehensive car insurance

Everything you need to know about comprehensive car insurance

Even the safest and most experienced drivers on the road can become involved in a traffic accident, and when they do it’s good to know you’re covered. If you’re injured or your car needs repairs to get it back on the move, it’s a comfort knowing you’ve got a policy in place that means you won’t have to come up with large sums of money at short notice. However, when an accident involves other motorists as well, it can be worthwhile having a policy that helps out with any potential costs to a third party’s vehicle as well as your own.

Confused about car insurance? Comprehensive, or ‘fully comprehensive’, car insurance is a type of insurance policy designed to offer you protection in a variety of different ways in several circumstances.These policies not only cover damage incurred to yourself and your vehicle, but will also compensate a third party involved in an accident you are a part of. 

If you’re curious about this kind of cover and would like to be prepared in the event of a potentially stressful and expensive situation, then fully comprehensive car insurance is an option worth looking into. From what it does and does not cover to who can drive your car and who can’t, you’ll find everything you need to know about comprehensive car insurance right here.

What is comprehensive car insurance?

In simple terms, comprehensive car insurance provides financial protection that will cover the repair costs to your vehicle if you’re involved in an accident. This type of car insurance will also pay out compensation to a third party if one is involved in a potential incident, depending on who is responsible for the accident. A comprehensive car insurance policy will also cover you in the event of theft or fire damage to your vehicle.

This means that if your vehicle sustains damage in an accident or is stolen, you can claim on your policy and have it repaired or replaced. If you’re involved in an accident with another driver, your policy will also pay out compensation to a third party, if required.

What does comprehensive car insurance cover?

Policies from different insurance providers will vary in terms of what kind of cover they’ll offer, but for the most part, fully comprehensive car insurance policies will be alike in what they cover.
Damage to your vehicle caused by fire or vandalism is typically covered, as well as theft. Like all car insurance policies though, if the car was stolen due to your negligence - such as leaving it unlocked with the keys in the ignition, for example - your comprehensive insurance company is unlikely to pay out. If your keys were taken when your house was unfortunately burgled, on the other hand, your claim will likely be accepted.

Claims on accidental damage such as spilling something inside the car will be upheld, as well as windscreen repairs if its broken in an accident.

Personal injuries you suffer as a result of an accident that involves your car where you’re at fault will be covered, and a hire vehicle to keep you mobile while repairs are undertaken on your car are also usual in many policies.

Always check your comprehensive car insurance policy in-depth before committing to it as there may be clauses that stipulate circumstances when you can’t claim. All insurance providers don’t provide the same level of cover and in some instances an insurer may request that you pay additionally for extra benefits on your insurance policy. It’s a wise idea to know what’s covered and what’s not on your policy before signing.

While fully comprehensive car insurance typically covers the repair costs of the vast majority of car parts and benefits such as courtesy cars, sometimes there will be provisos. Providers will occasionally make certain car parts and benefits ‘add-on extras’ to your comprehensive policy, with additional fees on top of the standard price demanded for this extra cover. If you’ve been involved in an accident and you can’t drive your car home, for example, some insurers will allow you to claim for your transportation home. However, others will ask you to pay for this added benefit as an extra. This is why it is vital you shop around and know exactly what’s covered when finding a new policy.

A courtesy or hire car to be used while your vehicle is having essential maintenance carried out is also not always a given. Check your policy offers this, as it can be very helpful to have when your car needs is written off or needs major repairs. 

As a rule, never assume anything is covered and check the terms and conditions fully. Breakdown cover may need to be added as an optional extra too, or you’ll also have the option to take out a separate policy to cover this unfortunate circumstance.

Why have comprehensive car insurance?

The main reason for acquiring a fully comprehensive policy is more than insurance, it is the peace of mind it can buy you. You’ll  know that if something unfortunate occurs then you can make an insurance claim whether the road incident was your fault or a third party’s.

It also allows you to claim if you’ve found damage on your vehicle but are unable to prove just who is to blame. Damage like this is common in crowded car parks and narrow streets where cars are parked, for example.

Can I drive another car with comprehensive car insurance?

The name ‘comprehensive car insurance’ can give car owners a false assumption that they’re covered for all kinds of circumstances. One of these common situations is believing they’ll be insured to drive another car with a comprehensive policy.

Every insurance provider will have its own rules that define what fully comprehensive insurance covers. This means that levels of cover will depend on your provider. In many cases you’ll find that your comprehensive cover will be equivalent to a third-party insurance policy if you’re driving another car when an accident takes place.

Some comprehensive policies won’t cover you at all if you’re driving a car that belongs to someone else, and as you must be insured to drive, this would make your action illegal. Therefore, it is essential to study the terms and conditions of your policy thoroughly. On top of this, remember that policies are updated over time by insurers so make sure you read any communications from them and note changes to your current cover.

Should I get comprehensive or third party car insurance?

While comprehensive car insurance covers most circumstances, you’ll find a variety of different car insurance products available to purchase, as well as varying levels of cover such as third-party policies.

There are two kinds of third party insurance, known as third party only (TPO) and third party, fire and theft insurance. Third party only car insurance delivers compensation to the third party when you’re involved in an incident that involves your vehicle and is your fault. While the third party will be covered, if your vehicle is damaged you must pay to have it fixed by yourself and can’t claim on your policy.

Third party, fire and theft will cover you in precisely the same way, but in addition will allow you to seek compensation if your vehicle is either stolen or incurs fire damage.

Whether you select comprehensive cover or third party insurance will depend on personal choice and the specific level of cover you want.

Many people mistakenly believe fully comprehensive insurance is highly priced and avoid it, but there are plenty of deals on offer that are value for money. Comprehensive car cover is not necessarily more expensive than third party, so make sure you get a good selection of quotes to compare before making a decision.

If a third party policy costs close to a comprehensive car policy, it's worth remembering that only the comprehensive cover will guarantee your vehicle is protected in the event of an accident and damage to your vehicle.

Is it worth getting comprehensive car insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance can be found for very similar prices to third party car insurance, so in comparison it can be an option worth considering. If you’re looking for optimum peace of mind when you’re on the road, knowing that whether an accident is your fault or not you’ll have the right to make a claim, then fully comprehensive might suit you. If you often park in public places and fear damage to your vehicle, comprehensive insurance is also well worth considering.

Is it worth having comprehensive car insurance on an old car?

Third party only car insurance is the absolute minimum requirement for a policy according to UK law. If your car is used and of low value, it might be worth looking at the cheapest insurance policies possible. As mentioned earlier, however, it’s always worth shopping around because you may find comprehensive cover that is comparably priced to the third party policies on offer. You can get a insurance quote today here.

Who can drive my car on fully comprehensive insurance?

Just like driving another person’s car with fully comprehensive insurance, allowing someone else to drive your car with this kind of policy is not always acceptable and can result in you not being covered and even incurring fines and penalty points on your licence.

Always check the terms and conditions of your policy to see what is covered and what’s not as this will vary depending on your insurer. Some comprehensive car policies will allow you nominate other drivers on your insurance who can use your vehicle, but this isn’t always the case.

While in the past drivers would use other’s vehicles without worry, the rules on this have tightened up considerably in recent years. Most policies will only cover the drivers listed in section five of your car insurance certificate. If someone needs to operate your vehicle in an emergency, they should check their own third party policy covers them to do so or risk a penalty.