Get up to speed on car insurance

What you need to know before you hit the road

1. If you own and drive a car, third party only insurance is the legal minimum requirement. This covers others if you injure someone or their property with your car but doesn’t cover damage or theft of your car.

2. Third party fire & theft (TPF&T) also includes theft of your vehicle and fire damage.

3. Comprehensive covers the same as TPF&T and also accidental damage and loss or damage to your car, including your windscreen.

4. How much you’ll pay depends on the type of vehicle – brand new sports models will mean higher premiums than a sensible family car.

5. Premiums will also be affected by your age and experience and whether you’ve got points on your licence or have past claims. Where you live and keep the car will also affect how much you pay.

6. Never accept your insurer’s renewal quote without at least checking deals on a comparison site first.

7. Pay annually if you can afford it. Monthly premiums will usually cost more, especially if you have to sign up to a credit deal to do so.

8. Taking an excess – where you pay the first £250 or so of a claim – is a good way to cut premium costs;

9. Insurers reward good drivers with no-claims bonuses: this could be worth 65% or more if you stay clean for years. If you claim, you will lose some of your no-claims years – you can often pay extra to protect your no-claims.

10. Don’t try to cut your insurance costs by pretending the second driver is the main driver. This is called fronting and is illegal.


More stuff:

  • Search for the best policy prices on comparison sites such as MoneySuperMarket*.
  • Find out where your insurer is ranked in this annual survey by Auto Express.
  • Read the more indepth guide at Which? for more information.

Last updated: 22 March 2019.