Third party, fire and theft car insurance explained

If you’re going to drive on public roads, you need car insurance. You have three choices of policy cover when it comes to insuring your car, namely comprehensive, third party, and third party, fire and theft insurance. We look at third party, fire and theft car insurance in more detail below.

If you’re going to drive on public roads, you need car insurance. You have three choices of policy cover when it comes to insuring your car, namely comprehensive, third party, and third party, fire and theft insurance. We look at third party, fire and theft car insurance in more detail below.

Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
4
minute read
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Posted 1 DECEMBER 2021

What does third party, fire and theft car insurance cover?

Third party, fire and theft car insurance offers cover for three things – third party damage, fire and theft. It doesn’t cover your own vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident.

Sometimes it’s a cheaper option and it does what it says on the tin. But if you want more cover, such as for your own car, you’ll need to pick a different option.  

Third party damage

This means your policy could cover you for the cost of any damage to another person’s property or any injuries that you cause to a third party. This is most likely to be another car, but would also apply if you hit someone’s wall or knocked over their fence.

It’s very important to remember that this type of insurance doesn’t cover the costs of damage to your own car. So you could end up with a large bill if you need to pay to get your car repaired or replaced.

Fire

Insurance of this type could cover you if your car is damaged by a fire. This could be accidental or the result of arson. In the case of the latter, you’d need to report the crime to the police and get a crime number that you can then give to your insurance provider.

Theft

A third party, fire and theft insurance policy could also cover you if your car is stolen. Along with this, you may also be covered for damage to your car as a result of an attempted theft.

What is the difference between third party, third party, fire and theft and fully comprehensive insurance?

Third party – third party car insurance is the legally required minimum level of car insurance cover you need. It can cover the cost of damage to another person’s vehicle, as well as any compensation costs for injuries caused to other people. 

It’s important to know that, with this type of cover, you won’t be covered for damage to your own vehicle or any injuries to yourself, if the accident is declared to be your fault.

Third party, fire and theft – as explained above, provides a little extra cover. This type of cover includes the benefits of standard third-party insurance, but also includes cover for fire damage to your vehicle. This includes accidental and criminal acts, like arson. It also covers you if your car is stolen, or damaged in an attempted theft. 
 
Fully comprehensive – this type of car insurance offers you the highest level of protection. It includes the benefits of both of the above, but also covers you and your car, even if the accident was your fault. It’s the ‘all bells and whistles’ kind of insurance option, but might also cost you more than a policy with less cover.

Is third party, fire and theft car insurance the right insurance policy for me?

This will come down to your own personal circumstances. Third party, fire and theft insurance might be suited in situations where:

  • The car is cheap to repair and spare parts are plentiful
  • The car has a low market value and you’d be able to afford to replace it if it was involved in a serious collision
  • You’re confident repairing the vehicle yourself
  • You don’t drive the car very often.

Obviously, if taking on the responsibility of footing the bill for your own vehicle if it’s damaged in an accident doesn’t sound like a good idea, then third party, fire and theft insurance might not be the way to go. It’s always a good idea to keep some money spare, ideally in an interest-paying savings account, which you can use if you do need to pay out for repairs to your car.

What determines the cost of third party, fire and theft car insurance?

The cost of any type of car insurance depends on many factors, including your age, your previous driving history, where you live, how many miles you drive, the security features of your car and so on.

Is third party, fire and theft car insurance cheaper than comprehensive car insurance?

You might think it will be the cheapest option but actually third party, fire and theft car insurance policies aren’t always cheaper than comprehensive car insurance. That’s why it’s so important to compare quotes from a wide range of insurance providers.

As third party policies tend to attract higher risk drivers, the statistics that insurance providers use indicate that the chances of paying a claim on this type of policy are higher. As a result of this, third party, fire and theft policies could actually cost you more than a comprehensive policy.

In fact, according to our data, in June 2021 the average comprehensive premium was £531^^ while third party fire and theft came in at £902 on average^^^.

However, the price you get depends on you and your circumstances, so it’s always worth comparing to find the right policy for you at a price you can afford.

^^51% of people could achieve a quote of £530.88 per year for their fully comprehensive car insurance based on Compare the Market data in October, 2021.

^^^51% of people could achieve a quote of £901.35 per year for their third party fire and theft car insurance based on Compare the Market data in October, 2021.

Can I get a no claims discount with third party, fire and theft insurance? 

Most car insurance policies allow you to build up a no claims discount, including third party, fire and theft cover. However, it’s always best to check with your insurance provider if you’re unsure.

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