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What do new drivers need to know about car insurance and coverage?

15th September 2022 Print

While you’re legally obliged to insure your vehicle if driving on the roads in the UK, the process of arranging an insurance policy can be confusing and time-consuming, especially if you’re a first-time driver - if you’re looking to get your vehicle on the road safely and with the best possible coverage, what do you need to know? 

The three main types of car insurance coverage in the UK 

Car insurance is designed to protect you and other road users from unexpected problems such as minor accidents, man-made disasters, breakdowns and break-ins. It’s essential that you properly insure your vehicle to stay safe on the road, but which insurance types are most common and what do they cover? 

1. Third party liability - UK drivers must have third-party insurance to drive legally on the road - if you are in an accident, this can cover the cost of any repairs to damaged third-party vehicles, medical costs for injured third parties or liability costs resulting from a third-party death. While third-party insurance may be the legal minimum for road users in the UK, it’s worth noting that this may be up to 73% more expensive than comprehensive car cover, depending on your circumstances.

2. Third party fire and theft - This offers the same basic protection as third party insurance but with extra coverage - if your car is set on fire or stolen, you’ll be covered by the policy. 

3. Comprehensive cover - As you might expect, comprehensive cover provides full coverage and offers the highest level of protection available. If you get comprehensive cover for your vehicle, you’ll be insured for third party liability, theft, fire and the cost of any medical expenses if you’re injured in an accident on the road. This is undoubtedly the best option if you want to be a safe and responsible driver. 

Factors that affect insurance prices and coverage features

Insurers take a wide range of factors into account when setting insurance premiums - your insurance costs could vary based on your age, gender, credit history, insurance history, driving record, typical mileage and marital status. Ways to potentially reduce your insurance coverage rates include switching to a multi car insurance plan, reducing your mileage and paying in annual rather than monthly instalments.  

The model of car you choose to drive is also a key factor for insurers - costs are likely to be higher for vehicles that are rare, expensive to repair or particularly vulnerable to theft; you may also pay higher insurance fees if you live in a city, as the likelihood of vandalism and theft tends to be higher in urban areas.