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4x4 cars were once just workhorses for countryside dwellers, but now they’ve become a common sight in more urban areas too. Vehicles such as the Land Rover Discovery are status symbols as much as working tools, and they’re bought and driven by those living in cities, as well as rural locations.
On this page we’ll explain everything you need to know about insuring a 4x4, including the ways you can reduce your premiums, and whether you need green lane cover.
4x4 is short for four-wheel drive and means all four wheels are being driven by the vehicle’s engine. A 4x4 is ideal for tricky, low grip surfaces such as mud, ice and rock, as it offers more traction across all wheels. It also means you’re less likely to get stuck. That’s one of the main reasons 4x4 vehicles are favoured by those in the countryside.
However, the popularity of real 4x4s now means the term is sometimes used to describe cars that are simply tall and rugged-looking. However, these cars are often front-wheel drive, which means they’re not actually 4x4s at all. These types of cars should be classified as SUVs rather than off-road vehicles, and usually only require standard car insurance.
The levels of insurance for 4x4s are largely the same as standard insurance policies:
This the most basic level of insurance and the minimum legal requirement. Simply put, it will cover any damage to a third-party’s person, vehicle or property, but it won’t cover anything on your car.
Third-party fire and theft
In addition to the above, third-party fire and theft adds cover for any damage done to your own car if it’s stolen or damaged due to theft, as well as fire.
Comprehensive car insurance covers everything third-party fire and theft does, but also insures any damage done to your car in an accident that’s been determined to be your fault.
4x4 insurance tends to cost more than standard car insurance, because of how expensive and robust 4x4s tend to be. The price also varies depending on what you may end up using them for e.g. work or business.
Off-road vehicles are often larger and heavier than normal vehicles, so they’re more likely to cause significant damage to other objects or people in an accident.
What’s more, 4x4s are built to withstand difficult terrain and weather conditions, so they’ll often use expensive, hard-wearing components. Although more durable than most vehicles, 4x4s will hit you with a higher repair bill when they do need fixing. Models such as Land Rover Defenders tend to include modifications, and these can drive up insurance premiums too.
Finally, 4x4 owners are more likely to drive off-road, which can come with more risks.
‘4x4s are impressive machines, designed to tackle extreme conditions and terrain. However, that extra weight and mechanical sophistication comes with added insurance costs. If you want to get the most out of your 4x4 and pit it against some interesting roads, you’ll also need green lane cover.’
Curtis Moldrich – automotive journalist
Join a 4x4 owners’ club
Many insurers realise that 4x4 owners’ club membership goes hand in hand with even better care and treatment of your vehicle. This isn’t a view shared by all insurers, but it’s worth mentioning when getting a quote.
Compare and get cashback
By comparing insurance policies at Quidco Compare, you could save money and earn £35 cashback on your 4x4 insurance.
It might seem like a good idea to make changes to your car but it's a bad move if you want to keep your insurance costs down. Most insurance companies will increase your premiums if your car is modified.
It’s possible to cut costs by upping your voluntary excess and agreeing to pay more before the insurance company pays the rest. Just remember that you may have to pay it one day, so make sure you can afford to cover this cost.
Reduce the miles
Reducing your mileage will reduce costs, as the fewer miles you drive the less insurers will view your car as at risk.
If you want to drive on byways, Unclassified Roads, or Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs) you’ll need green lane cover. As long as you’re doing non-competitive driving, green lane cover means you’ll be insured when tackling interesting roads off the beaten track.
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*Quidco ran a prize draw between 22.07.20 and 05.08.20 asking participants to test us by comparing two car insurance quotes: one from Compare and one from any other UK comparison site. Out of 2,392 participants, 82.25% received a lower premium from Compare with their cashback included.