Third-party fire and theft car insurance

What is third-party, fire and theft cover?

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Third-party, fire and theft insurance protects your car under certain circumstances – but not under others

Three girls in the back of a car. One looking through the window.

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Third-party, fire and theft (TPFT) cover is one of the three levels of car insurance you can buy. If you’re involved in a car accident and it’s found to be your fault, TPFT insurance will cover any damage you caused to the other person and their property.

This is the ‘third-party’ part – but third-party, fire and theft cover will also pay out if your car is stolen or damaged in a fire.

Third-party-only cover is the legal minimum requirement you need to buy in order to drive a car on public roads. All it does is pay for repairs to damage you’ve caused to other people’s cars or property, and if you don’t have it you can’t legally drive. Third-party, fire and theft insurance is one step up – as it will also protect your own car in some circumstances.

However, unlike the best level of cover – fully comprehensive car insurance – TPFT cover won’t protect you or your car if something damages you while you’re driving.

What does third-party, fire and theft insurance cover?

Third-party, fire and theft insurance does not cover your own vehicle if you’re involved in an accident while driving, just the other person’s. If an accident is judged to be your fault, then TPFT insurance will cover you against certain costs:

  • Injury to a driver or passenger in another car
  • Damage to another car
  • Damage to someone else’s property – for instance, if you drive into a wall

If you’re in an accident and it was the other driver’s fault, you don’t need to make a claim on your own policy – their insurance will cover any damages.

Third-party, fire and theft insurance also covers some other costs:

  • Replacing your car if it’s stolen
  • Repairs to your car if it’s damaged in an attempted theft – for instance, if your windows are broken
  • Replacing or repairing your car if it’s damaged by fire

However, it’s not guaranteed that your insurance will pay out under any circumstances. Your claim might be denied if:

  • Your car is stolen but it hadn’t been properly secured
  • Your car is damaged in a fire that happens because of mechanical, electrical, electronic or computer failures, or breakdowns and breakages
  • You have an accident while driving a car that isn’t listed on your policy

Third-party, fire and theft insurance will also not cover any damage to yourself or your own car if you’re involved in an accident.

What’s the difference between third-party and third-party, fire and theft?

Both third-party and third-party, fire and theft will cover damage to another person or their property if you’re involved in an accident. But TPFT insurance will also cover you in case your car is stolen, or if it’s damaged or destroyed in a fire.

What’s the difference between third-party, fire and theft and fully comprehensive insurance?

Unlike TPFT cover, fully comprehensive car insurance will cover damage to your own car and injuries to yourself if you’re involved in an accident – even if the accident was your own fault.

Fully comprehensive car insurance will often also feature other types of cover that aren’t included in TPFT, such as breakdown cover or the cost of windscreen repairs.

Is third-party, fire and theft cover cheaper than fully comprehensive car insurance?

No – in most cases, TPFT cover is actually more expensive than fully comprehensive insurance. Data from MoneySuperMarket collected in January 2020 shows that the average third-party, fire and theft policy cost our customers nearly £886 a year, while the average fully comprehensive policy costs cost £490 – nearly 45% less.

Traditionally, TPFT policies were cheaper because they offered less protection – which meant there were fewer situations in which insurers would have to pay out on a claim. However, many insurers have found that this caused riskier drivers to pick the cheaper third-party policies. As a result, they’re now likely to charge more for such policies.

If you’re driving a car that doesn’t cost very much, or which is cheap to repair, you might decide it’s not worth protecting it with the most comprehensive level of insurance. But in most cases, fully comprehensive cover will be the cheapest option.

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*According to MoneySuperMarket data, correct as of January 2020

Can I get a no-claims discount with third-party, fire and theft insurance?

If you’re a safe driver, most insurers will reward you by offering a no-claims bonus – which isn’t usually affected by the type of insurance you choose.

Whether you opt for fully comprehensive insurance or TPFT cover, your premiums are likely to go down if you avoid having to make a claim. If you maintain several consecutive years of no claims, you can see cost reductions of 25% or even more.

How can I find cheap third-party, fire and theft insurance?

The best way to get a cheap deal on TPFT car insurance is to use a price comparison site like MoneySuperMarket. You can use our car insurance comparison tool to compare different policies – and see how the costs and benefits compare to third-party only and fully comprehensive car insurance.

Quotes from dozens of leading providers can be compared at the click of a mouse – just give us a few details about yourself, your car and your driving history, and we’ll do the rest.

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