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Comprehensive Car Insurance Explained

If you’ve seen the adverts, then you’ll know there are three types of car insurance: third-party insurance, third-party fire & theft, and comprehensive (also known as fully comp). But which policy is best for you?

There are several reasons why you might opt for just third-party insurance, and why you might need fully comprehensive car insurance. 

Follow our guide to comprehensive car insurance to discover the different types of policies and compare over 100 insurance providers with Quidco, to claim cashback.

Comprehensive car insurance guide
Comprehensive car insurance guide

What is covered with comprehensive car insurance?

Fully comprehensive or comprehensive car insurance usually covers everything you need for peace of mind, however, some add-ons might be required with cheaper policies such as breakdown cover and legal cover. 

One of the main differences with comprehensive car insurance is it allows you to claim on accidents that are deemed your fault. Additionally, it allows you to claim for faults that cannot be proved, i.e. if someone hits your car when it is parked and then drives off. 

Comprehensive car insurance vs third-party

  • Third-party only insurance: this is the legal minimum insurance for motorists and it covers other vehicles in the event of an accident, but does not cover your own vehicle. 
  • Third-party, fire & theft: in addition to third-party damage, this policy type covers your vehicle against accidental fire and theft.   
  • Comprehensive insurance: comprehensive cover will protect your vehicle for the cost of any potential repair or replacement, whilst also covering all of the above.

What is not covered with comprehensive car insurance?

A standard comprehensive policy can sometimes skip important add-ons which could cost you more in excess payouts if not covered.

Policy add-ons to consider

Additions to policies are always down to the policyholder and their individual needs. Common policy add-ons for comprehensive car insurance are:

Legal cover

This type of cover protects you against any legal expenses you might incur if you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Whilst it is a policy add-on, it is better to have it should you need to make a claim.

Breakdown cover

This comes at a minimum as roadside assistance cover, where a trained mechanic will come and fix your vehicle if it breaks down on the road. Without this protection, you could face expensive fees from garages or have to sign up to a breakdown company on the spot.

Personal accident cover

In the unfortunate event of an accident, personal accident cover acts as protection should you or a passenger in your vehicle get injured or suffer a fatality. 

Courtesy car

Insurers provide you with a vehicle whilst yours is unable to be driven, this could be after a crash or whilst it’s in repair. Side note: if your car is written off, insurers are less likely to lend you a courtesy car.  

Lost and broken key replacement

It is a bonus to have this if there is more than one person using the same vehicle, this covers you if your keys are lost, stolen or broken.

No claims discount protection

This cover allows you to protect your no-claims bonus should you be involved in an accident and have to claim excess. This protection allows you to have a certain number of accidents without affecting the bonus if you’re at fault. Protecting your no-claims bonus will create cheaper insurance policies in the future.

The average cost of insurance premiums

The average monthly or annual price for comprehensive car insurance is dependent on the circumstances of the policyholder. These include their age, occupation, and the make and model of their chosen vehicle. 

For example, if you are an experienced driver, over 25, and have no claims then you’re likely to get a much cheaper quote for insurance. However if you are younger, an inexperienced driver or a driver with convictions then your considered risk to the insurance company is greater, pushing your premiums up.

Comprehensive excesses explained

Excess is made up of two factors - compulsory and voluntary. If you need to make a claim on your car insurance, the excess is the amount of money you agree to pay towards the claim. 

This amount varies depending on the policy and once you pay an excess, the insurer pays the rest to cover any claims made in the event of accidents or damage. You only pay excess for your losses and when you're at fault. 

Compulsory excess

Compulsory excess is the fixed amount attached to your policy should you need to make a claim. This is decided by the insurer, so it is important to make sure you can afford the amount stated before committing to a policy. 

Voluntary Excess

Voluntary excess varies with each policy and is set by the policyholder. When making a claim you are required to pay compulsory and voluntary excess to cover the costs, again, it is important to make sure you can afford both.

Increasing the amount of voluntary excess on your policy can make your monthly or annual premiums a lot cheaper, but it comes at a higher monetary risk if you do need to claim.


What does fully comprehensive insurance mean?

Comprehensive car insurance offers the highest level of protection. It includes the cover you would get with a third-party fire and theft policy, whilst protecting your own vehicle and can pay out for damage you cause to the car.

How does fully comprehensive car insurance compare to other policy types?

Fully comprehensive insurance keeps you and your vehicle covered in the event of an accident. Other policy types such as third-party insurance only cover other vehicles and drivers, putting yourself at more monetary risk should you need to claim. 

What does comprehensive car insurance cover?

Whether you are at fault for an accident or not, comprehensive car insurance would cover the expenses of making a claim. Typically, this could cover the cost of repairing damage to your vehicle, as well as third-party property in the event of an accident. Drivers usually opt for comprehensive insurance over third-party insurance as it offers more protection.  

Is it worth getting fully comprehensive car insurance?

There are a few distinct differences between comprehensive car insurance vs third-party insurance, and like most insurance policies it’s important to look at your personal circumstances to understand the type of cover you require. 

Full comprehensive offers peace of mind and can sometimes work out cheaper in the long run, should you need to claim. If you do get into an accident, your insurance company is responsible for paying for the damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive cover also insures your car against a degree of various circumstances, including theft, fire, and flood.

Can I drive any car with comprehensive insurance?

Having comprehensive insurance on your own vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean you are insured on someone else’s vehicle. Your insurance provider may provide third-party cover on another vehicle but this is usually outlined in the policy and varies with each insurer. 

Does my car need to be insured if I'm not driving it?

The only circumstance where you do not need motor insurance on a vehicle that you own is if you have a valid Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). The law states you must have at least third-party insurance if you drive or own a vehicle. This applies to vehicles you leave parked on the street, on your driveway, or in a garage.

What’s the cheapest insurance?

Insurance policy premiums are calculated by taking into account the policyholder’s personal circumstances. Fully comprehensive car insurance can sometimes work out cheaper than third-party and has a lot more benefits, but it is important to make sure you have all the additions you need on your policy before committing to buy. 

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