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Third-party car insurance

  • Buy third-party car insurance for less than £1,942/year [1]
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[1] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £1,941.84 per year for their third party car insurance in June 2024.

What is third-party car insurance?

Third-party insurance is the most basic level of car insurance you can get – and the legal minimum you need to drive on UK roads.

It comes into play if you damage another person’s car or injure someone while you’re driving. But you won’t be covered for your own injuries or any damage to your car if an accident is your fault. You’ll need to foot the bill for this yourself.

What does third-party insurance cover?

Third-party, fire and theft insurance offers the same cover as third-party insurance, but can also cover you if your car is stolen or damaged by fire.

It gives you more cover than a basic third-party policy, but not as much as comprehensive insurance. Third-party fire and theft can be a good option if your car is relatively cheap and straightforward to repair.

Third party insurance typically covers:

  • Damage to someone else’s car in a road accident
  • Damage to another person’s property – for example, if you crash your car into a neighbour’s wall
  • Injury to a passenger or driver of another car
  • Injury to a passenger in your car.

What is not covered by third-party insurance?

Typically, third-party insurance won’t cover:

  • Damage to your own vehicle (if the accident was your fault)
  • Repair or replacement costs if your car is stolen, broken into or damaged by fire
  • Medical costs if you’re injured, such as physiotherapy.

Why use Compare the Market?

We compare 182 car insurance products[2]

We're rated Excellent on Trustpilot[3]

[2] Correct as of June 2024.

[3] As of July 1st 2024, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 43,115 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

What happens if I’m involved in an accident with third-party cover?

If the accident is your fault, you’ll need to claim on your insurance policy so your provider can settle a pay-out with the other person’s provider. This could include the cost of fixing damage to the other person’s car or personal injury claims. You could also lose your no-claims discount unless it’s protected under your policy.

If the accident isn’t your fault, you should be able to claim compensation from the other driver’s car insurance policy. Your no-claims bonus shouldn’t be affected because you’re not claiming on your own insurance policy.

What is the difference between third-party and comprehensive insurance?

Fully comprehensive insurance is the highest level of cover available. You’ll be able to claim for damage to your own vehicle, as well as damage to someone else’s car. It can also cover damage to personal belongings in your car and personal injury to you and other people.

Third-party only gives you the minimum level of cover. You won’t get any compensation if your car is damaged or you’re injured.

Comprehensive insurance gives you more cover than you legally need. You must have at least third-party car insurance, whereas a comprehensive policy is optional.

When is third-party insurance a good option?

If your car isn’t worth very much, it might make sense to find a cheaper third-party quote and avoid the extra cost of insuring against damage to your own vehicle.

This is because the cost of fixing your car might be more than it’s worth, making the repairs not worth bothering with. Alternatively, the cost of repairs may be so low that you’re able to cover the expense yourself.

Another instance when third-party insurance might make more sense is for drivers who don’t drive their car very often.
Just because it offers the least protection, it doesn’t mean you should never even consider third-party insurance. For some situations, it can be perfectly fine.

Are third-party policies cheaper than comprehensive policies?

People often assume third-party insurance will be the cheapest as it offers the least cover. But that isn’t always the case.

Insurance costs are calculated on risk. Insurance providers work on the assumption that people who take out third-party policies are more likely to make a claim. This is why they often charge them more.

The cost of your premium will also depend on your personal circumstances. For example, how old you are and where you live.

The make and model of your car, what insurance group it’s in, how much it’s worth, and how many miles a year you drive will also make a difference.

How much does third-party insurance cost?

Based on our latest data, this is how third-party insurance compares with the other two types of car insurance:

For third-party car insurance, 51% of our customers were quoted less than £1,942[1]

For third-party, fire and theft, 51% of our customers were quoted less than £1,413[4]

For comprehensive cover, 51% of our customers were quoted less than £810[5]

[4] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £1,412.29 for their third party fire and theft car insurance in June 2024.
[5] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £809.45 for their comprehensive car insurance in June 2024.

What do I need to get a quote for third-party car insurance?

To start a quote, you’ll need to give us a few details about:

  • Your vehicle
  • How you use your vehicle – e.g. your annual mileage, where you park overnight
  • Your personal details, including address, age and employment status
  • Any claims or convictions
  • How many years of no-claims discount you have
  • The type of cover you’re looking for.

Once you’ve completed our online form, we’ll show you a list of suitable quotes to compare.

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Author image Alex Hasty

What our expert says...

“Third-party cover is the legally required minimum level of car insurance that drivers need. It usually only covers the cost of damage to another person’s vehicle, as well as any compensation costs for injuries caused to other people. Drivers with third-party cover tend to pay more as they are more likely to be younger or high-risk drivers. When you come to renew your car insurance, it is always worth shopping around and comparing different types of policy to ensure you’re getting a great deal with the right amount of protection.”

- Alex Hasty, Insurance expert

About Compare the Market

We know comparing insurance and utilities isn’t much fun. So at Compare the Market it’s all about keeping it simple. We help you find the right product at the right price. And you can trust us to be impartial – we only make money when you switch or take out a new product, so it’s in our interests to help you make the right choice.

Frequently asked questions

Does third-party only insurance cover you for theft?

No, third-party insurance won’t usually cover theft. To get greater protection, you should consider third-party, fire and theft, or comprehensive car insurance policies.

Can you get added extras with third-party cover?

Yes, you can add a range of extras to a third-party policy:

  • Breakdown cover – if you break down, this could get you back on the road with roadside assistance.
  • Personal accident cover – this allows you to claim for compensation if you or your passenger are killed or seriously injured in a car accident.
  • Motor legal protection – this could cover legal fees, if you’re involved in an accident and a claim has been made against you.
  • No-claims discount protection – if you’ve already built up a decent discount, you should think about protecting it with this extra.
  • Courtesy car cover – if your car has to go in for repairs, this will provide you with a temporary car to keep you going while yours is repaired (subject to availability).

Is it legal to drive with third-party insurance?

Yes, third-party insurance is the legal minimum you need to drive in the UK. It will also cover you to drive your car in most European countries.

However, you usually won’t be insured to drive other cars. For that, you’ll need to be added as a named driver to another policy, for instance a family member’s car, or have comprehensive cover with ‘driving other cars (DOC)’ included.

What is third-party, fire and theft cover?

Third-party, fire and theft insurance offers the same cover as third-party insurance, but also covers you if your car is stolen or damaged by fire.

It gives you more cover than a basic third-party policy, but not as much as comprehensive insurance. Third-party, fire and theft can be a good option if your car is relatively cheap and straightforward to repair.

Is it cheaper to pay for third-party cover monthly or annually?

It’s usually more expensive to pay for your car insurance monthly versus annually.

This is because there’s a form of interest applied to monthly payments. If you can afford to pay it in one go, it’s normally cheaper to pay annually.

Why compare third-party insurance with Compare the Market?

We independently compare third-party car insurance deals from 58 of the UK’s most trusted insurance providers[5]. We’ll show you policies based on price, add-ons or payment terms, helping you compare policies based on your needs.

[5] Correct as of June 2024.

Page last reviewed on 11 JULY 2024
by Alex Hasty