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*51% of customers received a quote of £567.93 or less for Comprehensive Insurance between August and October 2021, when using our journey via Confused.com. The savings you could achieve are dependent on your individual circumstances and how you selected your current insurance supplier.

Do I need car insurance?

Car insurance woman driving 4:3

Yes. You must have car insurance to drive legally in the UK¹. No ifs, no buts.

Automated cameras on police cars check number plates against a national database and issue fines to anyone caught without the right cover in place.

Third-party cover is the minimum legal insurance requirement for all drivers in the UK (see below).

Going beyond third-party cover is a personal choice rather than a legal requirement, but more comprehensive policies exist that provide you with protection from theft, fire, damage or breakdowns.

If you’re not driving your car, you can avoid insuring it and paying tax by parking it in a garage, driveway or on private property, then informing the authorities using a statutory off road notice (SORN). If you don’t do this, you could be fined up to £80.

What types of car insurance are there?

There are three basic levels of car insurance that vary in price and what they offer drivers:

Third-party only car insurance

This is the most basic level of car insurance, and only covers you for any compensation you might have to pay for injuring someone or damaging their property in an accident. Any damage to your car, injuries to you as a driver, theft of your car or breakdowns isn’t covered by third-party insurance so you'll have to pay these costs yourself.

Third-party, fire and theft car insurance

In addition to providing third-party insurance, this type also covers you if your vehicle is stolen or damaged by fire. 

It doesn’t pay out for any damage to your own vehicle if you’re involved in an accident that isn’t the other driver’s fault, so you would have to cover those repair costs yourself.

Fully comprehensive car insurance

This covers you, your car, passengers and property as well as damage to third parties. It also protects your car against vandalism and theft. 

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s frequently the cheapest option. Insurers view people willing to fully protect their car as less risky than anyone taking out a lesser form of cover.

What other types of UK car insurance cover are there?

In addition to those described above, there are several different policy types that might be worth considering.

These generally offer comprehensive cover but are designed to suit people with slightly different needs.

They include:

  • Multi-car insurance, a policy that covers two or more cars in your household

  • Black box car insurance, which monitors your driving using a telematics box fitted to your car. The data is sent back to your insurer, so the better you drive, the less you pay

  • Learner car insurance, a requirement for provisional licence holders when practicing driving in any car other than a registered instructor’s vehicle

  • Taxi insurance, a motor insurance policy designed to cover cars used for commercial hire

  • Temporary car insurance, which covers you for short periods of time – typically a few days or weeks – when driving a borrowed vehicle

  • European car insurance, to cover you when driving in certain countries. Check your existing UK car insurance first, as European cover may come as standard

  • Business car insurance, for those who use their car for business purposes such as driving to meetings on behalf of their employer

  • Classic car insurance, for classic car owners. Classic cars are usually worth more (and cost more to repair) than modern cars, so sometimes require a special classic car insurance policy

  • Car insurance for over-50s, which is usually cheaper because older drivers have more experience.

What does car insurance cost?

Car insurance cost 4:3

According to Confused.com’s car insurance price index,  the average price paid for car insurance at the end of 2021 was £539. However, car insurance can cost well over £1,000 if insurers think you’re more likely to make a claim.

While insurers use different models to attempt to calculate how risky you are to cover, they often use the same factors in their calculations. 

One factor that will affect your premiums is when you come to add another driver to your policy – your newly-qualified teenager will bump up your premium but adding an experienced driver with their own no-claims history can reduce the cost.

Note: your name, gender and religion are never included in this assessment.

Factors that affect car insurance costs

  • annual mileage – the higher this is, the statistically more likely you are to have an accident

  • occupation – some jobs are seen as riskier than others, including professional footballer, lawyers and journalists

  • car – its risk factors are based on what it's worth and the insurance group it’s in. This assesses its performance, how easy it is to repair, plus cost of parts or vehicle replacement

  • address – your car spends a lot of time parked at home, meaning you’ll probably pay more if you're in a high crime or flood risk area

  • age – young drivers pay more than older motorists

  • claims history – this affects your no-claims discount and premium at renewal

  • driving history – previous driving convictions, endorsements or points on your driving licence may result in higher premiums

  • criminal history – non-driving related convictions are also seen as higher risk

  • car usage – do you drive for more than just social, domestic and pleasure (SDP)? Commuting to work or business use bump up the costs

  • parking spot – cars left on the street are more likely to be hit by other drivers while parked, but quite a few claims result from people scraping their car driving in and out of garages. Check which option is cheapest when you apply for insurance

How to get a cheap car insurance quote

When comparing car insurance quotes to find the best cover for your needs, there three basic ways to get a cheaper quote.

Lower your risk

The price of your car insurance is based on how much of a risk you pose to claiming on your policy.

You can reduce this risk in a number of ways, including:

  • Fitting an approved alarm or parking your vehicle off-street

  • Changing what you use the car for, or driving fewer miles

  • Taking an advanced driving course

  • Adding a more experienced motorist as a named driver can lower the price too, as insurers assume they will spend some time behind the wheel

Lower the price

Car insurers usually give you a better deal if you pay your insurance annually, rather than in monthly instalments.

Increasing your excess, so you pay more of any claim yourself, can also cut the cost of your premiums.

Take a look at what's included in your cover. If there are any optional extras you can live without, or if your car isn't worth much, you could potentially save money by moving from comprehensive cover to third-party only. But be very careful when considering this, as it could leave you with no car and no way to pay for repairs or a new one.

Compare policies

If you compare car insurance quotes you’ll be able to find the best deal possible. But don’t cut corners to get cheap insurance.

You can also ask for a discount from your current provider – haggling doesn’t hurt. If you find a quote with a different insurer, ask your current provider to beat or match the offer.

Don’t forget that it’s important to give accurate information to your insurer. It could be tempting to say someone else is the main driver, to lie about your driving history or to underestimate your mileage to reduce the price. But it’s never a good idea. Lying could invalidate your insurance, and you could be prosecuted.

Should I add extras to my car insurance policy?

You can tailor your car insurance policy, and get better cover, by paying an additional fee to add extra benefits. Such extras might include:

  • legal cover – here’s how to work out if you need it

  • breakdown cover

  • cover for lost or stolen keys

  • no-claims protection

  • cover for driving abroad

  • windscreen repair and replacement

  • courtesy car

  • personal injury

See the full list of car insurance extras that could be worth adding to your policy.

Make sure to check your car insurance quote, however, as some may be included as standard.

How to get car insurance quotes

To get car insurance quotes, you'll need to fill out a form. This can be done online, over the phone and in person too.

If you plan to compare car insurance quotes from a few providers it makes sense to use a comparison service to save time, although not every insurer will be included. As different providers use different risk models to work out prices, casting your net as wide as possible to find the best car insurance makes sense.

You’ll need to provide the following information when comparing car insurance quotes:

  • Claims history - required to confirm how many years’ worth of no-claims bonus you’ve got or details about any accidents you’ve had or claims you’ve made in the past five years
  • Your licence details - the kind of licence you have can affect your insurance. Also include any other driving qualifications you may have
  • Personal information - your name, age, address and employment details are all used to work out how likely you are to make a claim. Be as accurate as possible with your job description as it could save you money
  • Usage and mileage - this is about what you use your car for: personal use, commuting and/or business. You’ll also need to provide your annual mileage
  • Car model and make - if you know your car’s registration number, comparison websites will find the details from the registrations database. If you don’t, giving your car’s make, model and age is usually enough
James Andrewsquotation mark
No matter expensive your quote, don't ever be tempted to change the form entries to get a cheaper car insurance policy by stretching the truth about what you really do for work or who the main driver is.
James Andrews, Senior Editor, Personal Finance

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Why compare car insurance with money.co.uk?

By comparing car insurance, UK car owners could save money on their policy. The best value car insurance will offer the cover at an affordable price. Choose a cover plan from the best UK car insurance companies and see the online discounts they offer.

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We have always aimed to provide the best possible services to bridge the gap between our users and our clients. Over the years, we have been thrilled to be recognised by various prestigious bodies and organisations for those efforts.

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¹You can get a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points if you’re caught driving a vehicle without insurance and if the case goes to court you could get an unlimited fine and disqualified from driving. The police also have the power to seize and destroy uninsured cars
²Figures for average comprehensive car insurance premium paid, not quoted, in 2020 according to the Association of British Insurers

Last updated: 25 May 2022