What’s the difference between comprehensive and third party cover?

There are 3 primary types of car insurance; fully comprehensive, third party (fire and theft) and third party only. Of course, third party with fire and theft is exactly the same as third party except you’re covered if your car is stolen, broken into, set on fire or vandalised. So in effect, there are two main types of insurance.

Third party only insurance

This type of policy covers everyone except you (or more to the point; your vehicle). If you cause an accident, anyone who suffers damages as a result is known as a ‘third party.’ These people can claim from your insurance for their damages.

Fully comprehensive insurance

In simple terms, this type of policy covers you for everything. If you have an accident, your insurance company will pay for absolutely everything. Of course you will pay the price the following year, but right now, you are fully covered. In reality, no policy is truly comprehensive, because all policies have an excess. If you make a claim for damage to your own vehicle, you will have to pay for the first part of the damage – depending on your policy this could be £100 or £1000.

Other people’s insurance

These differences are only relevant if you cause an accident. In the event that you are hit by another driver and you are not the party at fault, your insurance will not be claimed against. It will the other person’s insurance that pays your claim. In this event, you will be the third party and your damages will be covered in full, regardless of what policy the other person has. So in theory, the only time your vehicle is not covered is when you have third party insurance and you’re the one causing the damage!

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