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4x4 insurance

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What is 4x4 insurance?

4x4s, also know as SUVs, are defined as cars that have four-wheel drive. The type of car insurance policy you’ll need to cover your 4x4 will depend on how you use it. If you only drive your 4x4 on the road then a standard car insurance policy will be all you need. However, if you drive your 4x4 off-road, you may need a specialist policy.

Do I need car insurance for my 4x4?

Car insurance is a legal requirement regardless of what vehicle type you have. However, if you’re using your 4x4 for off-road or competitive driving, towing or if you’ve modified your 4x4 in some way, you may need a specialist 4x4 policy to ensure you’re fully covered for how you use the vehicle.

Average cost of car insurance by policy type

Fully Comprehensive


Third party, fire & theft


Third party only


How to keep insurance costs down on a 4x4

4x4s are usually sorted into the higher car insurance groupings – which means premiums will always be somewhat higher than for other makes and models no matter how spotless your driving record. However, there are always ways to reduce your premiums:

  • 1

    Pay annually

    Paying insurance in monthly instalments is always more expensive as it amounts to paying interest. It’s cheaper overall if you can afford to buy insurance in one yearly lump sum

  • 2

    Improve security

    Your premiums should fall if you use car security features like an alarm or an immobiliser, and if park your car in a garage or driveway rather than on the street

  • 3

    Limit your mileage

    Significant discounts are available to drivers who agree to an annual mileage limit. You do have to stick to this to avoid a significant surcharge on your premiums, however

  • 4

    Increase your excess

    Increasing your voluntary excess is a sure-fire route to lower premiums, but you should always make sure you can afford to pay this excess if you do need to make a claim

  • 5

    Add a named driver

    A young person could add a named driver to their policy, to bring down costs – but the main driver must always be stipulated on the policy, otherwise it’s insurance fraud

  • 6

    Cut down on extras

    If you cut out add-ons like breakdown cover or a courtesy car, premiums will fall, and you might be able to sacrifice off-road cover for 4x4s – provided you keep it on the road!

Sara Newell

Our expert says


Because they’re bigger and more expensive, 4x4s by their very nature cost more to insure. Though they are less likely to take damage in an accident, there’s an increased chance your 4x4 could damage smaller cars that are involved.That said, there’s plenty of ways for you to cut your premiums and stay on the road in your 4x4.Shopping around is a quick and easy way to find a good deal on your car insurance – just tell us a bit about yourself and the car you want to cover, and we’ll do all the hard work.

- Sara Newell, Car & Van Insurance Expert

What 4x4 insurance extras are there?

Many 4x4 drivers are content to use them on the roads as regular cars, and that's fine. But 4x4s really are versatile vehicles, and many aficionados like to use them for more adventurous driving, including green-laning, towing and even driving totally off-road. For these activities, you'll need to ask your insurer for specific add-ons before you get going:

  • generalVehiclesTyres


    Rural Britain is criss-crossed by unsurfaced roads and tracks. Many 4x4 owenrs enjoy using them for adventure driving

  • iconLargeTowing


    As powerful vehicles, 4x4s are great for towing caravans and large trailers. This will require additional insurance

  • insuranceCarDownhillCar


    Off-roading is only really an option for 4x4 owners, as normal cars can't cope without a bit of tarmac underneath them

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What does car insurance cover?

Fully Comprehensive

Third Party, Fire and Theft

Third-Party Only

Damage to your vehicle




Damage caused by your vehicle








Damage caused by fire




Injury to the driver of your car




Injury to a third-party, including other drivers and passengers




What types of car insurance can I get?

  • Fully comprehensive

    Fully comprehensive insurance provides the maximum level of cover for you and your vehicle, as well as protecting the third-party (the other driver) if you're in an accident.

  • Third-party, fire and theft

    Third-party, fire and theft protects the third-party (the other driver) if you're in an accident, and insures your vehicle against fire damage and theft.

  • Third-party only

    Third-party car insurance will cover damage costs for third-parties but not you or your vehicle if you have an accident.

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Specialist insurance is available for classic cars, and classic 4x4s are no exception. Find out more with our guide to insuring classic cars.

Younger drivers tend not to be offered the cheaper car insurance deals, because they’re at more risk of making claims. Find out more about saving money on your car insurance as a young driver.

You might also find telematics insurance useful. This sees your insurer monitoring your driving performance either by installing a device in your car or on your phone, to measure how carefully you drive. Certain drivers can see their premiums fall this way.

You can use your 4x4 for towing caravans and trailers, but if that’s what you’re going to be doing, be sure to inform your insurer beforehand.

Many 4x4 owners who use their cars for off-roading end up modifying them, with anything from improved suspension to roll cages. You can get insurance for these, but modifying your car tends to increase your premiums.

Green-laning is different to driving off the road. Green-laning is means driving on unsurfaced lanes, tracks or trails that are open to motor vehicles. They are officially classified at BOATs (Byways Open To All Traffic or UCRs (Unclassified Country Roads).

Off-roading, meanwhile, literally means driving when you’re not on a road.

Strictly speaking, you never need to buy fully comprehensive insurance at all. As long as you have third party insurance, you’re legally allowed to drive on UK roads. However, fully comprehensive has two major advantages: firstly it covers you for many more situations than third-party insurance, and secondly it is almost always the much cheaper option.

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