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What is fully comprehensive car insurance?
Fully comprehensive car insurance policies offer the most coverage out of all your options for cover. It offers protection against injury and damage for you and your vehicle, as well as any third-parties involved in a claim.
Fully comprehensive cover isn’t a legal requirement – but having car insurance is. You will need to have third-party cover as a minimum to drive on UK roads, which is the lowest level of cover available.
1Accurate as of January 2022.
You’ll be able to claim on your policy for damage done to your own vehicle, as well as a replacement vehicle if yours is stolen
You’ll also be covered for damage you cause to a third-party, their vehicle or their property
Fully comprehensive cover also often includes motor legal protection, which pays out for legal costs you may face related to a claim
A personal accident policy offers a compensation payout if you’re seriously or fatally injured in a road accident
Breakdown cover lets you claim for the cost of calling for roadside assistance if your vehicle breaks down
Sometimes part of breakdown cover and sometimes separate, courtesy car cover gives you access to a temporary replacement vehicle if yours is out of action
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Fully comprehensive car insurance is almost always cheaper than the alternatives, even though it offers the most cover. In fact, between October and December of 2021, the average fully comprehensive car insurance policy cost £641 a year – over £300 cheaper than the next option, third-party, fire and theft.
Insurers take a number of factors into account, including your age and driving history, the car you want to insure and how much time you spend behind the wheel. However, you can usually guarantee that fully comprehensive cover will be the cheapest option available.
|Policy type||Average annual premiums*|
|Third Party, Fire & Theft||£980|
|Third Party Only||£1,348|
*Based on policies with one driver holding a full UK licence. MoneySuperMarket data collected between October and December 2021, accurate as of January 2022.
Why is fully comprehensive car insurance cheaper?
The reason for fully comprehensive car insurance policies being the cheapest available is more to do with who used to frequently take out third-party only cover. As you might expect, fully comprehensive cover used to be the most expensive, and third-party was the cheapest option – which meant lots of high-risk drivers would take out third-party insurance to save money.
But these high risk drivers ended up making more claims on their third-party policies – so these policies were then associated with high-risk drivers, making them more expensive and reversing the trend. As a result, fully comprehensive cover became the cheapest option.
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Third-party only cover is the minimum legal requirement to drive on UK roads – it protects other people, their vehicles and their property, but not you or your vehicle
Third-party, fire and theft is one level up from third-party only, adding protection for your car if it’s stolen or damaged as a result of a fire or an explosion
It usually works out cheaper to pay your car insurance premiums annually, compared to spreading the cost over 12 monthly payments
Volunteering a higher excess payment tells insurers you’re unlikely to make small claims that aren’t worth the cost, so they’ll reward the lowered risk
Having security features like factory-installed alarms and immobilisers on your car reduces the risk of theft, and can also bring your insurance costs down
Storing your car in a locked garage or carport is also generally seen as a safer option, so doing too can help you get cheaper cover
Providers sort car makes and models into different insurance groups, based on factors like safety and performance – cars in lower groups are cheaper to insure
If you can go for a year or longer without making a claim, you’ll start to build up a no-claims bonus, and the more you built it up the bigger discount you could get
While there are ways you can reduce the cost of your car insurance, unfortunately there are some factors insurers consider that you won’t have much control over:
Your age: You’ll generally pay more for car insurance if you’re a young driver, owing to a lack of experience on the road that makes you a higher claim risk
Your driving history: If you’re got a history of accidents, claims or convictions, this also gives you a higher risk profile – so your insurance costs will likely be higher than average
Your location: Some areas in the UK are more prone to car theft or vandalism, or have a higher rate of road accidents – the increased risk means higher premiums for those who live or work in these areas
Your occupation: Some jobs also carry different risks to others, whether it’s because of equipment, location or commuting, so insurers also take this into account when setting premiums
Your fully comprehensive car insurance policy won’t automatically cover you to drive other cars unless you’ve added them to your policy as an extra car with multi-car insurance – useful for households or individuals with two or more vehicles.
If you want to drive another car you don’t own, you could also ask the owner to add you to their existing policy as a named driver – this will likely increase their premiums, however.
Likewise fully comprehensive car insurance policies also won’t automatically cover other people to drive your car – they’ll have to be added to your policy as a named driver, or take out their own cover.
Fully comprehensive car insurance can sometimes come with extras already included, but if not you’ll usually be able to add the following protection to your policy:
Windscreen cover: This covers claims for damage done to your windscreen, such as a chip or crack – and sometimes it won’t even affect your no-claims bonus
Wrong fuel cover: Using the wrong fuel can be calamitous, but this extra covers you for the cost of draining the incorrect fuel and refilling with the right stuff
Car keys cover: Car keys can have a habit of getting lost – with car key cover you’ll be able to claim for a set of replacement keys to get you back on the road
Personal belongings: If you keep items like sunglasses, a sat nav or a stereo in your car, it can be useful to ensure your possessions are protected against things like theft or damage
Almost exclusively yes, it’s worth taking out fully comprehensive car insurance compared to the alternatives, as it’s usually cheaper and always offers the most cover.
Fully comprehensive car insurance does offer the most coverage of all your options, but it still comes with its fair share of exclusions:
Driving under influence: No matter what kind of cover you have, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal, and will invalidate your cover
Invalid licence: Driving without a valid licence will also invalidate your car insurance policy
Wear and tear: Damage caused by general wear and tear won’t be covered
Carelessness in security: If you leave your doors unlocked or items in clear view, this carelessness will likely mean you won’t be covered if your possessions are stolen
Uninsured cars or drivers: If you drive a car you aren’t insured on, or if someone else drives your car without being insured on it, this will void your policy
Violation of terms or guidelines: Breaking any other guidelines or terms outlined in your policy documents will also leave you without valid cover
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