Most people think the cost of car insurance is unnecessary and beyond their control. Many wouldn’t even consider it if it was not mandatory by law.
But wouldn’t you like to save money while still being protected in case of an accident or injury on the road?
So if you want to get better value for money for fully comprehensive car insurance policy, and avoid unnecessary stress in the event of a claim, then you might want to read the article below to guide you through comprehensive car insurance policy.
Table of Contents
What is comprehensive car insurance?
Comprehensive car insurance, also known as fully comprehensive, is the highest level of coverage you can get for your car.
It provides complete coverage for you and your vehicle as well as other road users that might be involved in an accident whether it is your fault or not – that’s significantly more than you can claim with the other two types of insurance policies: ‘Third Party Fire and Theft’ and ‘Third Party Only’.
The three different levels (comprehensive, TPTO and TPO) will cover damage to other people’s property and to passengers if they get injured. However, only the fully comp level will cover yourself and your car.
Here’s a simple example. You’re driving in stormy weather and all of a sudden a heavy tree branch falls on your car. A comprehensive insurance policy will have you covered whereas the other two policies will not.
What does comprehensive car insurance cover in detail?
Here’s a comparative chart listing possible types of cover usually provided under the different categories:
|Comprehensive||Third-Party Fire and Theft||Third-Party Only|
|Vandalism, fire, riots and explosions||yes||yes||no|
|Windshield and glass damage||yes||yes||no|
|Accidents with animals||yes||no||no|
|Damage caused by natural calamities||yes||no||no|
|Accidental damage caused by negligence||yes||no||no|
|Personal injuries to self||yes||no||no|
|Personal injuries to third party||yes||yes||yes|
|Damage caused to third party vehicles||yes||yes||yes|
What is not covered by comprehensive car insurance?
Even though fully comprehensive coverage offers the highest level of coverage possible, all insurers do not provide the same amount of cover for comprehensive coverage.
To avoid paying higher premiums for any additional protection, it’s a good idea to read the policy documents to know exactly what is covered and what must be purchased as “adds-on”.
The following services may be listed as ‘optional’ depending on your insurer and may require you to pay extra:
- Transport home after accident
- Vandalism cover
- Replacement vehicle
- Courtesy car
- Child seat cover
- Breakdown cover
- Windscreen cover.
Besides, there are still some exclusions that are definitely not covered and could in fact, invalidate your claim:
|Under the influence||Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.|
|Invalid driving licence||If you or the person driving your car doesn’t have a valid licence.|
|Violation of guidelines||Insurers usually prescribe a list of guidelines to follow. If you’re in violation of them, you could invalidate your claim.|
|Wear and tear||Your vehicle may not be covered for general wear and tear.|
|Wrong fuel||If you or someone else refuels your car with the wrong type of fuel, you will not be covered for the cost of repairs.|
|Improper security||If your doors or windows were left open on unlocked you may not be able to claim for theft.|
Why should I get comprehensive car insurance?
It gives you peace-of-mind as you are eligible to file a claim whether the accident was your fault or not.
It’s the sensible thing to do.
For example : you are driving home after a Christmas dinner when suddenly you hit an animal that was crossing the road. You are already stressed by the accident, you can at least take comfort from the fact that the damages to your car as well as any personal injuries will be covered under your fully comprehensive policy.
In fact, you can also file a claim if you discover damage to your car but cannot prove who’s fault it is.
Is comprehensive better than third-party car insurance?
The safest option is to get fully comp car insurance.
But of course, depending on your car model, the number of miles you drive a year etc. it could not worth paying for the highest level of protection – although it might actually cost you less.
It’s all in the details.
A younger driver for example, is more likely to have an accident that a more experienced driver. If you live in the countryside and need to travel long distances by car, the chances of an accident caused by animal crossing may be significantly higher than if you lived in the city. Similarly, if you live in a big city, the chances of your car being robbed or vandalised would depend very much on the kind of area you live in. In all those situations, you might want to be covered by a fully comp car insurance policy.
Always start shopping around and compare what’s included in each policy with your personal situation to make sure you’re getting the right level of cover.
In both these cases, the security features of the car would also play a role in determining the amount of insurance coverage you may require.
How much does a comprehensive car insurance policy cost?
The truth is it’s impossible to know exactly.
An average comprehensive car premium in the UK could cost you anywhere from £471 a year to £2800 a year.
Here’s a quick look at comprehensive insurance rates for Eco-car owners between the ages of 31-40, living in South West London as well as policy options included or not for the fully comp level of cover.
|INSURANCE PROVIDER||ANNUAL PREMIUM||PERSONAL ACCIDENT||COURTESY CAR||BREAKDOWN COVER||MOTOR LEGAL PROTECTION|
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How comprehensive premiums are calculated?
Car premiums depend on a wide range of factors including driver’s details:
- Your age;
- Your driving skills and qualifications;
- Your driving record and previous claims;
- Risk of an accident – If you drive long distances frequently, you are more at risk of having an accident, you would then be less stressed with a fully comp level of coverage rather than the basic third-party only plan;
- Your current savings – If you have money at your disposal to repair or replace your car in the event of an accident, you may not need to opt for fully comp and prefer to pay for the rare and affordable repairs yourself;
- Your area – If you live in an area that is more prone to accidents with other vehicles or property, then you may want to go for the highest level of insurance.
As well as car details such as:
- The value of your car;
- The car security features; vehicles fitted with AEB (autonomous emergency braking) systems are more likely to avoid low-speed front-to-rear accidents as well as vehicles with alarm or immobilisation systems and high-security door locks represent a lower risk to insure;
- Damage and parts costs: the likely extent of damage to each model and the price of the parts involved also indicate repair costs, and lower costs usually mean a lower group rating;
- Repair times: long repair times mean higher costs;
- Performance: high-performance cars are at higher risk of frequent insurance claims, so acceleration and top speed are taken into account;
- Bumper compatibility: the alignment and structure of bumpers is a factor.
Is comprehensive car insurance cheaper than third party cover?
It could actually cost you less.
You may not believe it, but even though fully comprehensive insurance offers more cover than the other two major types of car insurance, the overall cost of fully comprehensive car insurance is most often the same and can actually work out to be cheaper!
For example, younger drivers tend to find that fully comprehensive cover ends up the most value-for- money option, and could effectively cost less. This is because they are often at a statistically higher risk of being involved in an accident, causing insurers to increase the premiums on third-party policies for them.
Older drivers may also find that comprehensive insurance works out cheaper than other levels of cover because they are more likely to face health issues such as poor vision or reduced reaction time, increasing the probability of an accident.
This table compares the cost of annual premiums for 31-40 drivers by leading providers in the UK:
|Third-party fire and theft||£3,335.05||£1,923.28||£1,036|
|Third-party only||£3,335.16||£1,923.28||No quote|
Statistics are for Mid-size cars drivers, aged 31-40 residing in the Greater London area with no previous driving history.
As you can see, providers often offer the comprehensive level of coverage for the exact same price than the third-party ones. Dialdirect Premier even offers it at a few pounds cheaper.
Can I drive any car with fully comprehensive car insurance?
The short answer, it depends.
Although fully comp will usually cover you to drive another vehicle, the coverage provided is limited to third party only. Furthermore, not all insurance companies offer the same level of coverage. The ‘Drive Other Cars’ or DOC benefit is quickly being phased out by insurance companies due to abuse.
However, those insurance companies that still provide this option, do so under certain conditions. You need to :
- Be over 25 years of age.
- Have permission from the owner of the car you intend to drive.
- Be in an ‘emergency’.
- Be included as a ‘temporary additional driver’ in the policy of the car you intend to drive.
It’s vital to check your policy’s terms and conditions or better still, call the insurance agents directly to get the latest updates.
How can I lower my comprehensive car insurance premiums?
There are plenty of ways to make sure you get the cheapest comprehensive car insurance on the market.
Start with these tips:
- Choose the right vehicle – Buying a vehicle in one of the lower insurance groups is one of the best ways to cut the cost of your policy.
- Opt for Security Features – Enhancing your car’s security features can reduce the chances of theft, so you’ll see lower premium.
- Increase your voluntary Excess – Excess is what you pay upfront, towards a claim before your insurer covers the rest. You might be able to volunteer for a higher excess, which will drive your premiums down.
- Drive Less – Driving less reduces the chances of you being involved in an incident and needing to claim, thereby lowering your premiums.
For more tips to get cheaper insurance quotes for your fully comprehensive car insurance, check out our article.