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A Guide To Car Insurance

If you own or drive a car, the law says you need car insurance. It’s an essential if you drive a car on any UK roads, the only exception being if the car is subject to a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN) with the DVLA.

There are three main levels of vehicle insurance. You may be aware of these, but not know of the differences between them, so here’s a brief outline:

Third Part Only

This is the basic, legal minimum form of insurance, designed to cover the cost of any damage incurred to anyone else’s vehicles or property while driving. For example, if a driver is in an accident with another car, the driver whose fault the accident was is liable for putting right the damage to the other person’s vehicle, as well as for any medical expenses they might incur while being treated for their injuries. Note, though, that third party only insurance does NOT cover the cost of repairing the damage to the driver who is deemed to be at fault.

Third party, fire and theft

One step up from third party-only insurance, this also covers the cost of replacing a car if it’s damaged by fire, or stolen.


This provides all the cover listed above, but under such a policy, the insurer will also cover the cost of repairs to a vehicle belonging to an at-fault driver.

Your motor insurance may also cover you when you drive other cars, including ones which you have hired. As a policyholder, you may also be able to nominate other drivers to be insured under the same auto insurance policy when they are driving your car.

Special Coverage

Car insurance providers may also offer cover for a variety of special groups of drivers, such as:

  • Young drivers. Motor insurance customers aged under 25 are typically involved in more accidents than average. So if you are in this age group, it may be worth looking for an auto insurance provider which specialises in providing cover for this age group.
  • Older drivers, typically aged 50-plus. If you fall into this category, you may also be able to benefit from a policy available exclusively to you.
  • Drivers with a poor driving record. Many mainstream insurers will refuse cover in these cases. But there is a sizeable number of specialist auto insurance providers which meet this demand.
  • Commercial drivers and people who drive in the course of their business may also need specialist vehicle insurance cover.

Insurance Policy Extras

You may also be offered cover for a number of optional contingencies, all of which are likely to add extra value to your motor insurance, but which will increase its cost. These typically include:

  • Breakdown cover. This provides roadside assistance for a policyholder should their car break down.
  • Legal expenses cover. This will cover the cost of pursuing a claim for compensation, including loss of earnings, arising from an accident involving the policyholder.
  • Windscreen cover. Covering the replacement of a damaged windscreen, this is typically included in a comprehensive policy, but can be bought as an add-on to third party, or third party, fire and theft cover.

Motor Insurance Groups

Companies providing auto insurance group all vehicles into a number of categories as part of their process to help them decide the basic level of premium a driver should pay. These groups are numbered from 1 (the lowest) to 50 (the highest), and each make and model of car is put into a group on this scale, according to a number of factors. These include the purchase price of the car, its engine size, the cost and ease of availability of spare parts, and the time taken to carry out repairs. Taking into account all of these factors, the lower the group of their car, the cheaper a driver’s vehicle insurance will tend to be.


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