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/personal/car-insurance/guides/what-types-of-car-insurance-are-there/What types of car insurance are there?

If you use your car on the roads or in public places, you’re probably already well aware that it’s a legal requirement in the UK to have a minimum of third party car insurance in place for your vehicle.

However, the type of car insurance policy and level of cover you choose is totally up to you, and there are a range of different policies that cater to motorists at all stages of their driving journey - from learner driver to standard car insurance.

With so many policies to choose from, it’s important to do your research to make sure you’re getting the right policy for your experience, and at the right price.  

So let’s start with the basics…

What are the different levels of car insurance cover?

What is third party car insurance?

In the event of an accident where you are at fault, third party insurance covers damage or injury to the other person, their vehicle and their property. Any damage caused to your person, vehicle, or property will not be covered under a third party car insurance policy.

Because of the very limited protection provided by third party car insurance, these policies are often cheaper than other forms of car insurance in the UK.

What is third party, fire and theft car insurance?

Third party, fire and theft car insurance covers the same risks as third party car insurance (i.e. damage or injury to the other person, their vehicle or their property) but also covers the costs involved with:

  • Replacing your car in the event of theft
  • Damage caused to your car by an attempted theft (for example, broken windows or locks)
  • Fire damage to your car

What is comprehensive car insurance?

Comprehensive car insurance covers the same risks as third party insurance and third party, fire and theft car insurance, but it also covers all damage to your own car, the other person’s car, and personal injury to both parties in the event of an accident. Essentially, in the event of an accident where you are at fault, a comprehensive policy will cover all damage to both your vehicle, and the other person’s vehicle.

Under a comprehensive car insurance policy, the insurer will pay to replace your car if it's written off (damaged beyond economical repair) following an accident. The final settlement amount you receive will be equal to the current market value of your car, taking wear and tear into account, rather than the amount you initially paid for it.

A comprehensive car insurance policy will also usually include the following types of cover as standard (but not always, so you should check with your insurance provider to be sure):

  • European cover (cover for driving in a European country for a specified number of days per year)
  • Audio equipment (such as a built-in stereo)
  • Personal belongings (left inside the vehicle)
  • Windscreen repair

A comprehensive policy is often the most expensive form of car insurance because it covers a larger number of risks than other policy types.


So… what’s the difference between comprehensive and third party insurance?

Essentially, if you want to cover damage to your own vehicle in the event of an accident, you’ll need to take out comprehensive car insurance cover.

If you only need to cover damage to a third party’s vehicle in the event of a claim, then third party insurance may be sufficient cover.

What level of car insurance is right for me?

Now that you understand the levels of cover, your next question will probably be, ‘which do I need?’

When it comes to choosing the level of car insurance that best suits your needs, only you can make that decision. If you were involved in a car accident, what level of cover would you be most comfortable with? Could you afford to pay out for your car to be repaired if you chose a policy that didn’t cover your own vehicle? These are the sorts of questions you’ll need to ask yourself.

What type of car insurance do I need?

Now that we’ve covered the main levels of car insurance you’ll need to choose from, we thought we’d touch on some other types of insurance you’re likely to come across when doing your research.

What is student car insurance?

Keeping a car on the road as a student can be difficult. The first few years of student life are often spent getting used to your new found freedom and dealing with a whole new level of responsibility. Many students will also be accountable for additional bills like rent, gas and electric too. Balancing these costs alongside education/working part-time can be big task. That’s why student car insurance exists.

Student car insurance offers a range of benefits and can help provide affordable car insurance at student prices. Here at Endsleigh, we’ve been supporting students for the last 55 years, so it’s fair to say, we know what we’re talking about.

What is young driver insurance?

One of the biggest barriers to young drivers getting on the road can be the cost of insurance. Many insurance companies, like ourselves, have dedicated their time to developing and offering an insurance policy which is especially suited to young drivers. Usually these quotes reflect a special effort to keep costs as low as possible, so new drivers don’t have to break the bank to get behind the wheel.

What is learner driver insurance?

Learner driver insurance is where motorists who are learning to drive can get insured on someone else’s car before they’ve passed their test. This level of cover should be in place as well as the car owner’s insurance policy. You may have heard it being called ‘provisional insurance’.

Just like the above, it’s specialist insurance to help motorists secure a policy that is affordable and unique to learner drivers’ needs. For example, most car insurance policies will last for 12 months. However, our learner driver insurance policy is flexible and short-term, meaning that you’ll only pay for the cover that you need.

What is short-term car insurance?

Sometimes, you may need car insurance in place for a short period of time. For example, if you’re a temporary student driver who’s home from university and need to use your parents’ car. Or if your car is off the road and you need to borrow a friend’s vehicle. Short term car insurance is an insurance policy that can be put in place temporarily. It involves the driver who needs use of the car taking out their own temporary policy. This is an alternative to being added as a named driver on a friend’s car, which can sometimes be both costly and affect their No Claims Discount (NCD) if an accident happens.

Here at Endsleigh, we offer a few types of related car insurance through our partners:

Find out more about temporary student driver insurance.

Find out more about pay as you go insurance.

Find out more about temporary driver insurance for non-students. This cover allows you to protect your vehicle, or insure yourself on someone else’s, from one hour to 30 days.

Car insurance extras and add-ons

Once you’ve selected your level and type of car insurance, it’s also worth considering whether you need any extra covers to protect you against additional risks on road.

For example, are you a bit prone to losing your keys? You might want to consider car key protection to cover the costs of replacement keys and locks.

Hate the thought of being stuck on the side of the road with a flat? Breakdown cover might be the add-on for you.

Find out more about the extras you can add to your car insurance.

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