Why choose a 4x4?
Once the mainstay of farmers and country folk, the 4x4 has surged in popularity in the past decade and you're just as likely to see one being driven around a city as you are the countryside.
Four-wheel drive cars certainly have a lot going for them. In an ever-changing climate, they're 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.
There's a wide range of models available, from iconic 4x4s like the Land Rover Discovery, to more modern SUVs including the Peugeot 5008, Ford Kuga and Jaguar F-Pace.
What does 4x4 car insurance cover?
As with standard car cover, 4x4 insurance offers three levels of cover to choose from:
- 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: This is 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 t’s and c’s of your policy.
While many 4x4 vehicles will be covered under standard car insurance, some may need policy extras, while others will be classified as light commercial vehicles and require van insurance instead.
Will I need specialist 4x4 car insurance cover?
It depends on how you use your car. A sport utility vehicle (SUV) driven on regular roads, for example, can usually be covered under standard insurance. But if you plan to use your 4x4 for off-roading, you might need specialist or additional cover.
You might also need specialist cover if you intend to take part in competitive off-road use.
A specialist 4x4 insurance provider 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.
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Frequently asked questions
What extras do I need to think about when insuring my 4x4?
You may need to add extra cover to your car insurance policy to make sure your 4x4 is fully protected for all the activities you plan to use it for. These include:
- Off-road cover: If you’re planning to take your car off-road, check your policy as some providers will exclude off-roading. Again, you should also check with your provider if you intend to take part in competitions because this is likely to require specialist cover.
- Towing: If you tow trailers and caravans with your 4x4, not all insurance policies will include cover for this as standard. 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 there are weight limits to what you can tow, depending on when your driving licence was issued. Check our guide to towing, limits and insurance for more information.
What is green lane cover and do I need it?
‘Green laning’ is the practice of driving vehicles on unsurfaced country roads. 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?
It often is, yes. Four-wheel drives tend to be placed in higher insurance groups because of their sheer size and weight. 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.
But, as you’ll see below, there are ways to cut the cost of your 4x4 insurance.
How can I reduce the cost of my 4x4 car insurance?
As with any vehicle, there are ways to help reduce 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
Parking on private land means there’s less risk of your 4x4 being stolen or vandalised, so it might cut the cost of your premium. (The premium is the amount you pay for your car insurance).
- Limit your annual mileage
All polices ask for a maximum annual mileage. Limiting the amount of miles you drive could help lower your premium, as there’s less risk of you being involved in an accident.
- Avoid modifications
Any changes or upgrades you make to your 4x4 can have an impact on your insurance premium as they can make your vehicle 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. If you’re not already signed up to one, it could be worth your while joining.
For more ways to help lower your premium, check out our top tips for cheap car insurance.
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
From the Motor team
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.”