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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.

What type of car insurance do you need to drive legally in the UK?

To drive legally in the UK you have to have car insurance¹.

There are no exceptions to this - and automated cameras on police cars will check your number plate against a national database and issue fines to anyone they catch without the right cover in place.

The legal minimum cover is known as "third party" - although that only offer the bare legal amount and won't cover any damage to your own car. It's there to ensure anyone or anything you hit in an accident is protected financially at the very least.

You can take out more extensive cover - offering protection from theft, fire and to cover your car for damage or breakdowns too - but this is a personal choice rather than a legal requirement.

If you don't plan on driving your car, but are still parked on public roads, you need to inform the authorities using a a statutory off road notice (SORN) to make sure you aren't fined.

The three levels of car insurance 

There are three basic levels of car insurance that vary in price and what they offer drivers. Think carefully about what you need and what car insurance is best for you before you go ahead.

Third party only car insurance

Third party cover is the most basic level of car insurance. It just covers you for any compensation you might have to pay for injury to others and for damage to anyone else’s property. It’s a minimum legal requirement for all drivers in the UK to have this insurance.

That means any damage to your car, injuries to you as a driver, theft or your car and breakdowns will not be covered by your insurance and you'll have to pay for them yourself.

Third party, fire and theft car insurance

Third party, fire and theft car insurance covers other parties involved in an accident with you in the same way third-party only cover. It also gives you protection if your vehicle is stolen or damaged by fire.

Remember that it doesn’t pay out for any damage to your own vehicle if you had an accident. That means you'll need to cover the repair costs of your the car yourself in the event of an accident that's not another driver's fault.

Fully comprehensive car insurance

Comprehensive car insurance – sometimes called fully comprehensive, or just fully comp – covers you, your car, passengers and property as well as damage to third parties. And it also protects your car against vandalism and theft. 

It's also frequently the cheapest car insurance cover option - as insurers see people willing to fully protect their car as less risky than people those taking out third party only and third party, fire and theft damage.

Other types of UK car insurance cover 

As well as third party, third party fire and theft and fully comprehensive cover, there are several different types of car insurance that you might like to think about.

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

They include:

  • Black box car insurance monitors your driving using a telematics box which is fitted to your car and sends information about your driving to the insurer. The better you drive, the less you pay

  • Learner car insurance is the car insurance UK provisional licence holders need to have when practicing driving in any car other than a registered instructor’s vehicle

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

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

  • European car insurance is needed in certain countries. But you can drive in most European countries on your normal UK car insurance, providing your comprehensive plan lists this cover as standard

  • Business car insurance is for people who use their car for business reasons, such as driving to meetings on behalf of their employer

  • Classic car insurance is for classic car owners. Classic cars are usually worth more money, and cost more to repair, than modern cars. For that reason, they sometimes need a special classic car insurance policy

  • Car insurance for over 50s is usually cheaper because older drivers have lots of experience. Some insurers sell special over 50s policies

What does car insurance cost?

The average price paid for comprehensive car insurance in 2020 was £465².

However, car insurance can cost well over £1,000 for drivers providers think are more likely to make a claim.

To try and work out how risky you are to cover, insurers asses a string of factors about you.

Each insurer has a different set of criteria based on its experience of what its customers have made claims for in the past and how expensive they were - but your name, your gender and your religion are never included in this thanks to discrimination laws.

While each insurer uses a different model to work out quotes, there are some factors used by almost everyone.

These include:

  • Your annual mileage – people who drive a lot are statistically more likely to have an accident

  • Your occupation – some jobs are seen as riskier than others: professional footballers come at the top of this list, but lawyers and journalists are also among those seen at higher risk of making a claim

  • Your car – risk factors on your car are based on what it's worth and the insurance group it’s in - which assess its performance, how easy it is to repair, cost of parts or vehicle replacement

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

  • Your age – young drivers pay more than older motorists

  • Your claims history – this will affect your no claims discount and, therefore your premium at renewal

  • Your driving history – if you have previous driving convictions, endorsements or points on your driving licence you may have to pay a higher premium

  • Your criminal history – if you have non-driving related convictions you’re also seen as higher risk

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

  • Adding another driver to your policy – if you add an experienced driver with no claims, it can reduce the price of your policy, but adding your newly-qualified teenager will bump the premium higher

  • Where you park - cars left on the street are more likely to be hit by other drivers while parked, but there are also quite a few claims resulting from people scraping their car driving in and out of garages. To save money safest to check which option is cheapest when you apply for insurance

How to get a cheap car insurance quote

When you’re 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.

Paying more of any claim yourself - that is to say having a higher policy excess - can also cut the cost of your premiums.

Take a look at what's included in your cover too - if there are any optional extras you can live without, or if your car isn't worth much you could even save money sometimes by moving from comprehensive cover to third-party only. But be very careful if you're thinking about 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 make your insurance invalid, and you could be prosecuted.

Should you add extras to your car insurance policy?

You can tailor your car insurance policy, and get better cover, by paying 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 of these may be included as standard. If not, think about whether it’s worth spending a bit more to add them.

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 can make 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 for you makes sense.

The information you'll need to compare car insurance quotes is:

  • Claims history - You’ll need 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 5 years
  • Your licence details - The kind of licence you have can affect your insurance. This is also where you can add 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 – commuting, socialising or business. You’ll also need to say how many miles you travel in a year
  • 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 often enough

"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.

"Not only is it illegal to lie on the form, but if you're caught out the insurance provider could refuse to pay out on a claim - leaving you with a bill for potentially tens of thousands of pounds as well as a possible criminal record."

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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.

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: 13 August 2021