Correct as of June 2023.
Why choose a 4x4?
In the past, 4x4s were primarily used as utility vehicles by farmers and those living in rural areas. But they’ve recently surged in popularity and are commonly used by ordinary road users. Today, you’re just as likely to see a 4x4 being driven around a city as you are the countryside.
Four-wheel drive cars are ideal for battling the elements and can easily handle different types of terrain. Many have space for growing families, who use them for everything from the daily commute to the school run. They're also good for towing caravans, trailers and horse boxes.
What does 4x4 car insurance cover?
The type of insurance you’ll need depends on how you use your 4x4. Modern SUVs used for everyday on-road driving should be fine with standard car insurance. But you might need specialist 4x4 cover for:
- Off-road and competitive driving — many policies exclude cover for off-road use, and if you’re planning on competing in your 4x4, you’ll likely need specialist off-roading insurance.
- Towing — many standard policies only cover towed vehicles for third-party damage. If you want more comprehensive cover, you might want to consider separate trailer or caravan insurance from a specialist provider.
- A classic 4x4 — if you’re the proud owner of a 1980s Hummer, classic 4x4 insurance can offer greater protection and more specialised cover than a standard policy.
- A modified 4x4 — if you’ve spent time and money on modifying your 4x4, consider modified 4x4 insurance with an agreed-value policy. This will give you a set value for your vehicle, instead of the average market value, if it’s written off.
Some insurance providers may be able to add extra cover to your standard policy. But specialist 4x4 insurance providers may offer you certain benefits as standard, which other providers only offer as optional extras. Specialist providers also tend to have more knowledge and experience, so it’s worth doing your research before you buy cover.
You might also need specialist off-roading insurance if you intend to take part in off-road competitions.
What does 4x4 car insurance cover?
As with standard car cover, 4x4 insurance offers three levels of cover to choose from.
Types of 4x4 Insurance:
- Third-party — this is the legal minimum level of insurance. It can cover the costs of any damage you cause to someone else, their vehicle or their property. You won’t be covered for the cost of any damage done to your own 4x4.
- Third-party, fire and theft — this includes everything in third-party insurance, but also offers cover if your 4x4 is stolen or damaged by fire.
- Comprehensive cover — the highest level of insurance available. Cover includes third-party, fire and theft plus any other damage caused to your 4x4. It may also cover injury to you, although not always, so you’d need to check the terms and conditions of your policy.
While many 4x4 vehicles will be covered under standard car insurance, some may need policy extras, while others, like pickups, will be classified as light commercial vehicles and will need van insurance instead.
Does 4x4 insurance cover towing?
As long as you tell your car insurance provider when taking out your policy, you should be able to get cover for using your 4x4 for towing trailers, caravans, etc. A standard policy might only cover your towed vehicle for third-party damage, so you might need to pay extra if you want more comprehensive protection.
Be aware that a tow bar counts as a modification if it hasn’t been fitted as part of the manufacturer’s standard factory settings.
Also bear in mind that there are weight limits to what you can tow, so check our guide to towing, limits and insurance for more information.
How can I get cheaper 4x4 car insurance?
It’s important to remember that the cheapest 4x4 insurance policy may not always be the right one for you. While price is always a factor, you should also consider what level of cover best meets your needs.
That said, there are things you can do to help cut the cost of your 4x4 car insurance:
- Increase your voluntary excess
The excess is the amount you pay towards any claim you make. Just make sure you can afford both the voluntary and compulsory excess if you make a claim.
- Park your 4x4 off the road
This lowers the risk of your 4x4 being stolen or vandalised.
- Make your 4x4 more secure
Fitting your 4x4 with a Thatcham-approved immobiliser or alarm might get you a discount on your premium.
- Limit your annual mileage
This lowers the risk of you being involved in an accident.
- Avoid modifications
Modifications can make your 4x4 more attractive to thieves.
- Join an owners’ club
Let your provider know if you belong to an approved members’ club, like Land Rover, as it may entitle you to a discount.
For more ways to help lower your premium, check out our top tips for cheap car insurance.
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Frequently asked questions
What is green lane cover, and do I need it?
If you want to take your car off-road on unclassified paths and bridleways, you’ll need green lane cover.
This should provide cover for non-competitive driving along public byways that are open to cars, but not for restricted byways where motor vehicles are prohibited.
Do I need full car insurance if I only use my 4x4 occasionally?
Unless your vehicle is officially declared off-road by a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN), it must always be insured, however little you use it.
If the 4x4 is owned by someone else and you just want to drive it occasionally, you may be able to take out temporary car insurance. This can last from anywhere between one hour and up to 84 days, depending on the provider, to cover you when you need it.
Is 4x4 insurance more expensive than regular car insurance?
Yes, four-wheel drives tend to be placed in higher insurance groups because of their sheer size and weight.
This is because they can cause a lot of damage if they’re involved in an accident. Also, a 4x4 often comes with high-end parts and gadgets, which can be expensive to repair and may be particularly attractive to car thieves. Not only that, 4x4s are more likely to be driven off-road, where there’s a greater risk of an accident.
Do modified 4x4 cars increase insurance cost?
Making any modifications will affect the value or performance of your 4x4, which will likely make your insurance more expensive.
The increase in cost will depend on the modifications you make. If you’re looking to modify your 4x4, you’ll need to tell your insurance provider so they can provide you with an updated modified 4x4 insurance quote.
Where can I compare 4x4 car insurance?
What do I need to get a quote?
To get a 4x4 car insurance quote, you’ll need to provide us with your:
- Name, age and address
- Registration number or model and age of car
- Class of use: social and domestic, commuting or business use
- Annual mileage
- Job title
- Where your vehicle is kept overnight
- Details of your driving history, including accidents and motoring convictions.
What our expert says...
“4x4s can be expensive to insure because heavier vehicles typically attract higher premiums. Although 4x4s are less likely to sustain damage in an accident, they’re more likely to cause damage to smaller vehicles due to their size and weight."
- Alex Hasty, Insurance expert