Our guide to buying car insurance

Unless you choose to keep on renewing your car insurance policy for convenience, then you’ll want to shop around to make sure that you’re getting the best deal.  And, with so much choice on the market these days, it’s not surprising that you might feel a little bit overwhelmed.  If that is the case, then read on and we’ll explain the different types of policies available, so you can decide on what is best for you.

Get the best deal

For a lot of people, the thought of phoning a variety of different insurers is a chore that they’d rather not do, so it comes as no surprise that online comparison sites are really popular.  All you have to do is pop your details into the computer and out comes 20 or so different quotes, from different insurers.  But, don’t be tempted by clicking on the cheapest quote, as this may not include the insurance that you need.  The last thing you want is to find out you’re not covered when you make a claim, which could leave you out of pocket!

So, let’s have a look at the different types of policies that are on the market and the additional ‘extra’s’ that you can buy.

Third Party Only (TPO)

This is the most basic form of motor insurance cover that you can buy.  It literally means that it will only cover third party only damage.  In other words, if you were to pull out from a junction and hit another car and it was deemed your fault, then the cost of their repairs and any injuries sustained would be covered, but not your own. 

Third Party Fire and Theft (TPFT)

As well as third party only damage, a TPFT policy will replace your car if it is stolen, damaged by fire (including accidental fires such as arson) or damaged by attempted theft (e.g. broken door locks).

Fully Comprehensive (Fully Comp)

This is the highest level of cover as is often thought of as being the most expensive, but this is not always the case, so it pays to shop around.   Fully comp as it is also known covers third party, fire and theft as well as any damage to you or your own vehicle caused by an accident.  This type of policy cover usually comes with a range of additional ‘extras’, although it is always important to read your policy documents to see what you are and are not covered for. 

We will look at these ‘extras’ now.

Legal Expenses

This is a type of policy that you can add to your car insurance for an additional premium.  It covers you in the event if someone were to issue legal proceedings against you or if you were to do the same against another person, as a result of a road traffic accident (RTA). 

A typical policy usually covers up to £100,000 in legal fees to pursue claims for things like uninsured losses, medical expenses, and hire car costs.  Not every policy is the same though and it’s important to make sure that you check your insurance documents to see what level of cover you have.

Personal Injury (PI)

Many insurers these days include Personal Injury cover as standard on their policies, but it is always worth checking this.  This insurance will cover you if you were to have a road traffic accident and get injured as a result.  It also usually covers those drivers who are named on your policy.

Courtesy Car

Have you thought about how you’d get around if your car were to go into the garage to be repaired after an accident? If you rely on your vehicle to get into work or taking the kids to school, then you may want to add courtesy car cover onto your policy, otherwise, you’ll have to hire a car yourself and pay for the cost.  It’s worth noting, however, that if the accident wasn’t your fault then you may be able to recover these costs from the liable party if they are deemed ‘reasonable’.  So, in other words, don’t hire a Porsche when you usually drive a Smart Car!

Breakdown Cover

Breakdown cover may just seem like another expense to fork out for, but have you wondered what you’d do if you were to break down?  How would you get your car to a garage and how would you get home afterwards? Some policies will offer this cover as standard, and if they do be sure to check what type it is, whether it is roadside only or home start. 

So, to summarise, when shopping around for car insurance:

  • Don’t always choose the cheapest policy as this may not include the cover that you need.
  • Use a comparison website. It’s quicker and easier than phoning around!
  • Think about what type of cover you need. Do you need the added benefit of a courtesy car?
  • We can’t say this enough but always check your policy documents, so you are clear on what level of cover you have.