**50% of people could achieve a quote of £565.64 per year for their fully comprehensive car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2021.
Comprehensive car insurance: the lowdown
You need car insurance to get behind the wheel of a car and drive on a public road in the UK – that’s the law. But with different levels of cover available, it can be tricky deciding which is most suitable for you. Comprehensive car insurance offers the most complete cover and isn’t always the most expensive. This is our guide to how it works.
What is comprehensive car insurance?
If you have comprehensive car insurance, you can claim for an accident even if you were at fault. And you’ll normally be covered for damage to your vehicle even if you don’t know – or can’t prove – who caused it.
There are three levels of car insurance available to UK drivers:
- Comprehensive – or fully comprehensive as it’s sometimes known – offers the highest level of protection. It includes all the cover you’d get with a third-party fire and theft policy, but could also protect you as a driver and can pay out for damage you cause to your own car.
- Third party covers you for damage you cause to other people and their cars
- Third-party fire and theft offers the same cover as third party, but may also cover you if your vehicle is stolen or damaged in a fire.
If you’re a young or recently qualified driver facing high premiums, there’s also telematics – or ‘black box’ – cover. This involves putting a device in your car that monitors how you drive. If you drive safely, you could get a discount when you renew your policy,
What does comprehensive car insurance cover?
A typical comprehensive car insurance policy could cover the full cost of repairing damage to your vehicle, as well as third-party property, in the event of an accident – even if you were deemed at fault. It also covers damage where you can’t prove whose fault it was.
But policies can vary a lot in terms of the additional cover they include. Some policies offer add-ons as standard, while others charge you to add them on. Some of the most common optional extras to look out for include:
- Breakdown cover
- Motor legal protection
- Courtesy car cover
- Personal injury accident cover
- Windscreen repair
- Cover for personal belongings left in the car
- Transport home after an accident
- Vandalism cover
- Child seat cover
If you’re comparing quotes for comprehensive cover, always check the policy wording.
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Are comprehensive insurance policies expensive?
You might assume comprehensive car insurance costs more than third party or third party, fire and theft, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes comprehensive insurance is the cheapest option.
Our data shows that 50% of people who use Compare the Market could achieve a quote of £536** for a comprehensive annual policy. But for third-party car insurance, 50% could achieve a quote of £1,387***.
It’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll pay as insurance providers look at various factors, such as how old you are and where you live. Your premium price will also depend on your car’s make and model, what insurance group your car’s in, how much it’s worth and how many miles a year you drive.
But always compare the price of comprehensive cover with third party and third party, fire and theft because you could well find it costs less.
**50% of people could achieve a quote of £535.64 per year for their fully comprehensive car insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2021.
***50% of people could achieve a quote of £1,386.56 per year for their third party car insurance based on Compare the Market data in May 2021.
Do I need comprehensive insurance?
Insurance is all about peace of mind – and when it comes to car insurance, fully comprehensive is the highest level of protection you can get. Buying insurance is a personal decision that involves weighing up the cost against anything you think is high risk. But considering comprehensive car insurance is not necessarily the most expensive option, it’s worth considering your options.
What is not covered by a comprehensive policy?
Although comprehensive car insurance offers the highest level of cover, there are still exemptions. Aside from additional cover for breakdowns, a courtesy car and legal expenses that may or may not be included with a standard policy, there are also some common exclusions to watch out for:
- Theft caused by carelessness: if you leave your car unlocked or leave your valuables in view, you may not be covered if they’re stolen.
- Drink driving: as well as being illegal and irresponsible, driving over the limit invalidates your car insurance cover.
- Invalid driving licence: if you don’t have a valid licence, you won’t be able to claim on your insurance and you could face prosecution.
- General wear and tear: your insurance doesn’t cover you for general repairs. You should keep up your car’s regular maintenance so you can prove any damage wasn’t caused by negligence or general use.
- Using the wrong fuel: not all policies will cover you for misfuelling.
- Driving someone else’s car: even comprehensive insurance may only cover you for one-off or emergency situations.
Frequently asked questions
Can I drive any car if I have fully comprehensive cover?
It’s a common misconception that comprehensive car insurance covers you for driving other people’s cars. Driving Other Cars (DOC) cover used to be reasonably common on comprehensive policies and it meant you could legally drive someone else’s car – with their permission – but you could still be liable for any damage.
It’s much rarer these days and often only applies in emergency situations. It’s rare for a driver under 25 to get DOC cover. Check your policy wording carefully as your comprehensive cover may reduce to third party cover in someone else’s car.
If you want to drive someone else’s car, or you want someone else to drive your car and you want to make sure you’re covered, you should look adding a named driver.
What impacts the price of a comprehensive policy?
The premiums you pay for your car insurance are based on the chances of you having an accident. The level of risk for insurance providers is determined by looking at statistics and how factors such as age and driving history are reflected in those statistics.
When providing you with a quote for comprehensive cover, car insurance providers will look at:
- Your age: young or newly qualified drivers will normally have to pay more.
- Your vehicle: you’ll probably have to pay more for high performance vehicles
- Your annual mileage: typically, the more you drive you more you’ll pay.
- Your claims history: any new insurance provider will be able see what you’ve claimed for in the past.
- Any previous convictions: you’ll normally pay more if you’ve been caught speeding or if you’ve been convicted of driving offences.
How can I reduce the cost of comprehensive car insurance?
There are a few ways you can help reduce the costs of your cover. Generally, you’ll pay less for car insurance if you have a slower car with a smaller engine. You could also reduce your premiums by increasing the security of your car, perhaps by parking it in a secure garage overnight rather than on the street. Or you could simply drive less – car insurance providers will look at your annual mileage when deciding on a quote. Other companies may offer telematics policies where you use a black box or an app to monitor your driving over a period of time.
But one of the best ways to find cheaper car insurance is to compare different quotes so you can find the right policy for you.
What's the difference between comprehensive and fully comprehensive car insurance?
You might have heard the phrases comprehensive and fully comprehensive, and wondered what the difference was. There isn’t one. They’re just slightly different names for the same thing. It’s the highest level of cover, protecting you, your vehicle and third parties.
How much does comprehensive car insurance cost?
It might not cost as much as you think. The cost of your car insurance depends on many factors including your age, how long you’ve been driving, the type of car you drive and your claims history. But although fully comprehensive car insurance offers you the highest level of protection, it’s not necessarily the most expensive.
Compare quotes with us on comprehensive car insurance so you can find the best cover for you and save.
Half of our customers could get a quote of
10% of our customers get a quote of
30% of customers could save
****50% of people could achieve a quote of £565.64 per year for their fully comprehensive car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2021.
^^^^10% of people could achieve a quote of £18.00 per month for their comprehensive car insurance based on the monthly cost when paying for the policy in one annual payment, excluding any interest charged on instalment payments. Based on Compare the Market data in June 2021
^^^^^Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during May 2021 30% of customers could save up to £532.86 on their car insurance premium.
From the Motor team
“Fully comprehensive car insurance gives you the highest level of protection – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most expensive. That’s great news for your bank balance and your peace of mind.”
Is it worth getting fully comprehensive car insurance?
Whether it’s worth getting fully comprehensive car insurance is completely up to you. If it’s just about money, you’d think the less cover you have, the cheaper it’ll be. But that’s not always true. As we pointed out earlier, the average price for comprehensive insurance is actually cheaper than third-party cover, so it’s always worth looking at.
The main thing that makes comprehensive car insurance worth it is the peace of mind it offers. It will cover you and your car, which means you won’t have to worry about huge bills if you’re involved in an accident that is your fault.
Comprehensive isn’t the best option for everyone though. If you don’t drive very often, or you’re a student who spends most of the year away from their car while at university, it might be more suitable to get a third-party policy. You’re not on the road as much, so there’s less risk of you needing to make a claim, and you could save some money.
If you’re not bothered about all the things comprehensive insurance will cover you for, you could also go for a third-party policy, and then add the optional extras that are important to you. Make sure you compare quotes from different providers when doing this though, as it might just be easier and cheaper to go fully comprehensive.
What do I need to get a quote?
To start comparing comprehensive car insurance quotes, we’ll need you to tell us:
- your car’s registration number or the make, model and age – you won’t be able to buy a policy without the registration number.
- what you use your car: for leisure and commuting, or for business too?
- your annual mileage
- where you keep your car at night
- if you have a no claims discount (NCD), we’ll need to know how many years you have. And you’ll need proof from your current insurance provider if you want to switch
- your driving history – be honest about any accidents, insurance claims and driving convictions from the past five years, as providing false information could invalidate your car insurance policy
- details of any additional drivers you want to include on the policy
You'll also need to provide a few personal details, like your name, age, address and profession – unless you’ve compared with us before, then we’ll do that for you.
Why compare comprehensive car insurance with Compare the Market?
50% of customers could save up to
to get a quote*****
29.25% of new customers could save up to
on their premium******
****Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during May 2021. 50% of customers could achieve this saving on their car insurance through Compare the Market.
*****On average it can take less than 5 minutes to complete a car insurance quote through Compare the Market based on data in November 2020.
******29.25% of new car insurance customers achieved this average saving through Compare the Market, according to independent research carried out by Consumer Intelligence during May 2021.
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^^Correct as of June 2021.