What is car insurance?

Car insurance could cover your costs if your car is damaged in an accident, stolen, vandalised or catches fire. You’re legally required to have it if you drive or keep your car on a public road. The minimum level of car insurance that’s required by law is third party insurance – this could cover you if you injure someone else or damage their car, but your level of cover and exactly what you’re covered for depends on the policy you choose.

Compare cheap car insurance quotes from 142 trusted provider products [2]

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[2] Correct as of October, 2022.

How much does car insurance cost?

The average premium now stands at £571[3]

For drivers aged 17-24, the average premium is £1,277[4]

Find out how much you could expect to pay with our car insurance calculator.

Insurance providers base the cost of your premium on the risk they face. So, for example, if you’ve made claims in the past, you’re likely to pay more than someone with a long history of no claims.

[3] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £570.09 for their fully comprehensive car insurance in September, 2022.

[4] 51% of young drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £1277 for their car insurance based on Comparethemarket data in September, 2022.

Why compare car insurance with Comparethemarket?

Our comparison service is quick and easy to use. Just enter your details and see if you can find a cheap car insurance quote for your new car or beat your current insurance provider’s renewal quote.

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51% of our customers could save up to £328 [5]

[5] Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during August, 2022. 51% of customers could achieve this saving on their car insurance through Comparethemarket.

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Save money on your car insurance

PLUS get a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

You could save up to £328 [5] on your premium and enjoy a whole year of rewards. Discover savings and discounts on car insurance with selected providers. Only when you buy car insurance through Comparethemarket.

[5] Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during August, 2022. 51% of customers could achieve this saving on their car insurance through Comparethemarket.

What type of car insurance do I need?

The type of insurance you need depends on the level of cover you want. There are three levels of cover.

Fully comprehensive

Fully comprehensive insurance offers drivers the most cover.

It includes all the cover of a third party fire and theft policy, but it could also protect you as a driver and may pay out for damage to your car. It could also include compensation for medical treatment, legal expenses and accidental damage.

It’s worth knowing that comprehensive insurance can be the cheapest level of cover for many drivers, even though it offers the most cover. It’s worth comparing to see for yourself.

Third-party, fire and theft

Third-party, fire and theft includes everything that third party cover offers and could pay out if your car is stolen or damaged by fire.

While it protects you against the cost of damage or injury to third parties, it won’t cover you for the cost of damage to your own car in an accident.

Third-party

Third-party only covers you for injury or damage you cause to other people and their property.

This is the minimum level of cover you need to legally drive on UK roads. Third party insurance only covers the cost of compensating other people for injury or damage you cause. It doesn’t provide you with any financial help for injury to you or repairs to your vehicle.

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Do I need car insurance?

Car insurance is a legal requirement if you own or drive a car, unless you declare it off the road (SORN) and keep it on private property. If you’re caught driving without car insurance, you could be fined a minimum of £300 and given six penalty points. If you end up in court, you might be given an unlimited fine and disqualified from driving. When you compare with Comparethemarket, you can find insurance for every age and type of driver, including:

What types of cars can I insure?

As well as insurance for standard cars, we can help you find the right cover for cars that are a bit different.

Classic car

There’s no one definition of a classic car, but insurance providers consider it to be one that’s at least 15 years old.

We can help you find cheap cover for your classic, provided it was manufactured from 1970 onwards.

Sports car

High-performance cars can be attractive to thieves, and they’re likely to be driven faster than regular cars – so it’s not surprising that sports car insurance can be expensive. Compare with us and see if you can find the right deal for your pride and joy.

Imported cars

Cars imported into the UK can be more expensive to insure because insurance providers may find it harder to assess their risk. Whether yours is a parallel import or a grey import, it’s important to find the right cover for your imported car.

Modified cars

While some modifications, like fitting an immobiliser, could cut the cost of your car insurance, other cosmetic and performance modifications can make them riskier from an insurance provider’s point of view. Understand how car modifications can affect your car insurance and find the right quote for you.

Electric cars

Sales of electric cars are growing. But these vehicles can be more expensive to insure than conventionally fuelled cars because the sophisticated technology they use can make them more expensive to repair.

Green cars

Green cars include electric and hybrid vehicles as well as cars that run on biofuel, hydrogen or LPG. Find out about insuring your hybrid car.

Specific cover

Depending on your circumstances, you might want to look into:

  • Telematics insurance: Younger drivers in particular may benefit from telematics insurance, which is also known as black box insurance. Your premium is based on data from a telematics device installed in your car or a telematics smart phone app.
  • Learner driver insurance: Don’t pay more than you need to – get tips on how to cut the costs of your premium in our guide.
  • Young driver car insurance: 17-24-year-olds could find that insuring their car is pricey. See how switching could help you save.
  • New drivers cover: Insurance for first-time drivers can be expensive, whatever age you passed your test. Compare and find the right deal for you.
  • Over 50s insurance: More experienced drivers typically enjoy lower premiums. Find out how to cut costs even more.
  • European driving insurance: Relax and enjoy your trip knowing you have the right cover for driving in Europe.
  • Classic car insurance: If your car was manufactured from 1970 onwards, we can help you find the right cover for you.
  • Temporary car insurance: Get insurance from 1 hour to 28 days if you need to drive someone else’s car, or if you want to let another person drive your vehicle.

When you shop around with Comparethemarket…

For 51% of our customers, car insurance could cost from:

Fully comprehensive cover £571 per year [5]
Over 50s £294 per year [6]
Over 60s £275 per year [7]
Over 70s £302 per year [8]
Learner drivers £580 per year [9]
Young drivers £1,277 per year [10]

And these are just the averages. The cost of car insurance depends on a number of things. The price reflects the risk the insurance provider faces, so it factors in things like how expensive your car would be to replace or repair, the value of the car, how likely it is to be stolen, whether you drive responsibly, how many miles you drive and so on.

When you shop around with Comparethemarket, you could find cheaper policies.

[5] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £570.09 for their fully comprehensive car insurance.
[6] 51% of over 50s could achieve a quote of up to £293.26 for their car insurance.
[7] 51% of over 60s could achieve a quote of up to £275.95 for their car insurance.
[8] 51% of over 70s could achieve a quote of up to £301.08 for their car insurance.
[9] 51% of learner drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £579.39 for their car insurance.
[10] 51% of young drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £1,276.75 for their car insurance.

Based on Comparethemarket data in September, 2022.

What affects the price of car insurance?

Factors that impact car insurance include:

Insurance group

The lower the insurance group your car is in, the less you’re likely to pay for your premium.

How much you drive

If you have low annual mileage there’s less chance of you having an accident so your car insurance could be cheaper.

Your job

Some occupations are considered less risky than others and therefore result in cheaper premiums.

Where you live

Your address is a key factor that affects your car insurance. If you live in an area with low claims this could translate into lower premiums.

Your age

Older drivers will generally pay much less than young drivers because car insurance generally gets cheaper as you get older.

Your driving experience

Experienced drivers with no claims will typically pay less than new drivers and young drivers as they present a lower risk.

Any criminal convictions

By avoiding points on your licence you’ll help keep your premiums low, as convicted drivers are considered a higher risk so are likely to pay more.

Any claims

Your claims history, including any no claims discount, can make your premium cheaper.

Additional drivers

If you share your car, adding the other person as a named driver to your policy could decrease your premium if they’re an experienced driver with no claims.

Author image Rebecca Goodman

What our expert says...

"Prices are rising on just about everything at the moment, but one area you can save money is with car insurance. There’s no point in being loyal to your car insurance provider unless they’re giving you the best deal possible - so when your policy is due for renewal, always take the time to shop around to see if you can find a better deal. And remember it’s always cheaper to pay in one go, if you can, rather than monthly."

- Rebecca Goodman, Insurance expert

What do our customers say?

Based on 102,543 reviews, our customers rated us 4.6 out of 5.

Saved £160 and stayed with same Provider
Britpart • 09/09/2021
I got a great price for my car insurance, I would definitely recommend to friend
JTHOM • 09/09/2021
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Jak60 • 09/09/2021
Love the way your details are kept which make it easy to review and choose each.
Carol G • 02/11/2021

How can I get cheaper car insurance?

There’s plenty of things you could do to help you save money on your car insurance policy:

1
Choose your car wisely

If you’re buying a new car, check the insurance group that it’s in. You may be able to find something similar in a lower group that’s cheaper to insure.

2
Build up a no-claims discount

If you can avoid making claims on your car insurance, you’ll build up a no-claims discount (NCD). This increases every year and could make your premium cheaper.

3
Increase your voluntary excess

Increasing the amount you choose to pay towards a claim could lower your premium – but you’ll have to be sure you can pay the excess if you need to claim.

4
Consider telematics

Black box insurance, which uses a device to monitor your driving, could be a way of getting a cheaper premium – especially for young or inexperienced drivers, or older drivers with low mileage.

5
Pay annually

If you can afford to, paying for your premium annually will save you money because you won’t pay any interest (which you might do if you pay by instalments).

6
Don’t auto-renew

You could pay more than you need to if you let your policy auto renew. Once you’ve registered with us, we will automatically search for cheaper quotes from different providers before your renewal.

Upgrades and additional cover

Get covered for everything from a broken windscreen to legal expenses with these optional extras.

  • Breakdown cover: If your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, breakdown cover can help you carry on with your journey. You can add it to your car insurance policy or buy it separately.
  • Personal accident cover: If you or your partner are killed or seriously injured in a car accident, personal accident cover can provide compensation. It usually comes with comprehensive insurance, but if you don’t have personal accident cover you can buy it separately or add it to your policy.
  • Motor legal protection: If you’re injured in an accident and need to take legal action against another driver, someone takes action against you or you’re involved in a dispute related to a car, motor legal protection could help cover your legal expenses. You can add it as an extra to your policy.
  • Car keys cover: Not only is losing your car keys annoying, it can also be very expensive. If your keys are lost or stolen, lost keys cover can cover the costs of replacing and reprogramming them. When we show you a list of quotes to compare, just click ‘more details’ on each policy to see if key cover is included as standard or whether you need to add it as an extra.
  • No claims discount protection: Your no claims discount can cut the cost of your premium significantly, so you won’t want to lose it if you have to make a claim. Protect it by adding this cover to your insurance.
  • Windscreen cover: Repairing or replacing car windscreens can be expensive, so if this cover isn’t included in your policy you may want to add it on. When we show you a list of quotes to compare, simply click the ‘more details’ button next to each policy to see if windscreen cover is included or whether you need to add it.
  • Courtesy car cover gives you a car to use when yours is in the garage being repaired after an accident. Some policies include courtesy car cover, or you can add it on.
  • Wrong fuel cover. Filling up your car with the wrong type of fuel is a surprisingly easy mistake to make. Misfuelling cover can take care of the cost of draining and cleaning your tank, the cost of repairs or both.
  • Personal belongings cover. As the name suggests, this can cover your personal belongings in your car. It might come as standard with a comprehensive car insurance policy or you can add it on. Check the policy details so you know how to protect your belongings in your car.

About Comparethemarket

We know comparing insurance and utilities isn’t much fun. So at Comparethemarket 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. Comparing with us is about the enjoyable stuff too – we love to reward you with Meerkat Meals and Meerkat Movies when you take out selected products with us.*

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Frequently asked questions

Why is car insurance for new drivers more expensive?

If you’re new to driving, you’ll find your insurance is more expensive than for people with more driving experience. This is because new drivers are considered more of a risk by insurance providers. This is partly because of inexperience, but mainly because most new drivers are young drivers.

There are ways you can reduce the cost of your insurance – telematics policies could be cheaper, for example.

What does car insurance cover?

If your car is involved in an accident, car insurance could provide cover for:

  • Injuries to you or other people
  • Damage to your car
  • Damage to another vehicle
  • Property damage
  • Car insurance could also cover you if your car is damaged by fire, attempted theft or if it’s stolen.

Not all car insurance policies offer the same cover, so always read the small print and make sure you’re happy with any exclusions or limitations.

Is it better to pay car insurance annually or monthly?

Whether it’s better to pay for your premium annually or each month will depend on your circumstances.

Paying an annual lump sum is usually cheaper than paying monthly. A monthly payment plan could mean you pay more as you might be charged interest on the instalments.

Do I need a credit check to buy car insurance?

The insurance provider will carry out a credit check if you want to pay for your car insurance monthly. Providers will also look at your credit score (a 'soft search') when you compare insurance quotes, but this is just to check your details and won’t affect your score.

See more on car insurance and credit checks.

How do I estimate my mileage?

To estimate your mileage:

  • Work out how many miles you drive every day or week
  • Add them up to work out your annual use or 
  • Check your MOT certificate or car service record, which will show how many miles you’ve driven
  • Use this as a basis to calculate your future mileage.

Mileage can affect your car insurance premium – the more you drive, the more of a risk providers consider you to be. Be as accurate as you can when you estimate your mileage. If you underestimate, it could invalidate your policy. If you overestimate, you could end up paying more than you need to.

See more on annual mileage and car insurance.

How do I work out my car’s value?

When you compare car insurance with us and enter your registration number, where possible we’ll give you a valuation figure based on the car’s market value – the amount you’d receive if your car was written off. Alternatively, you can use a free valuation tool like the one from Autotrader to find out your car’s current value or look at used-car listings to see the prices of similar models of a similar age, condition and mileage.

See more on how car values affect premiums.

How long is my quote valid for?

It depends on the insurance provider. When you compare with us, you can save your searches but you won’t necessarily get the price that you saved when you come back to buy your policy. Some insurance quotes last as long as 60 days, but some can change at any point.

Will I be charged if I cancel my policy?

If you cancel within the 14-day cooling-off period, you might have to pay an admin fee but you’ll get a refund minus the days the policy was active for. If you cancel later on, you may have to pay cancellation fees and administration fees. You may or may not get a refund, depending on the circumstances and whether you pay for your policy annually or monthly.

Find out everything you need to know about cancelling car insurance.

How do I claim on my car insurance?

You must always tell your insurance provider if you’ve had an accident - whether you claim or not. If you don’t tell them, you could invalidate your policy. To claim:

  1. Check your policy documents for details of how to claim and any time limits on claims.
  2. Contact your insurance provider directly. 
  3. Get a crime reference number from the police if your car has been stolen or vandalised. 
  4. Gather the information you need to give to your insurance provider, including details of the other driver(s) and any witnesses. You’ll need to get all these details at the scene.

Find out more about the claim process.

When might a claim be rejected?

There are a few reasons why an insurance provider might not pay out. It might be that:

  • You might not be covered for what you’re trying to claim for
  • There’s a dispute about who’s at fault in an accident
  • The provider might believe you’ve invalidated your car insurance – perhaps by giving inaccurate information or not telling them about something they should know.

If your claim is turned down and you don’t think it’s justified, you can take action. Find out what to do if your car insurance provider won’t pay out.

I had to make a claim last year. Will my insurance go up?

It’s almost certain that it will. In fact, your premium may go up even if you have an accident and don’t make a claim, because the insurance provider might consider there’s more of a risk of you being in another accident. If you’ve protected your no claims discount that shouldn’t be affected, but your basic premium is still likely to go up.

See more on how an accident can affect your car insurance premium.

What does car insurance excess mean?

The excess is the amount the policyholder has to pay towards a claim on their insurance. There are two elements to car insurance excess:

  • Compulsory excess – this is set by the insurance provider. You might have to pay an additional compulsory excess if you drive a high-performance car or if you’re a young driver.
  • Voluntary excess – this is the amount you agree to pay in addition to the compulsory excess. Agreeing a bigger voluntary excess can reduce the cost of your insurance, but you’ll need to make sure you can afford to pay it if you make a claim.

See more on car insurance excess.

How does telematics work?

Telematics or ‘black box’ insurance uses technology to monitor the way you drive and transmits the data to your insurance provider. If you drive safely, it could lead to cheaper car insurance. Telematics works either through a GPS device – the black box – fitted in your car or a smartphone app. These record things like how you corner, brake, your speed and the time of day and how far you drive.

Black box insurance can be particularly useful for young and inexperienced drivers. But older drivers with low mileage may also find it useful. It can give insurance providers evidence that you’re a safe driver and could reduce your premiums.

Find out about telematics insurance.

Can my parents help me get cheaper car insurance?

If you share your car with one of your parents, having them on your policy as a ‘named’ or additional driver could reduce your premium. But they mustn’t be on the policy as the main driver if they’re not. This is a type of fraud called fronting and it's illegal.

What is a no claims bonus?

A no claims bonus, also called a no claims discount or NCD, builds up every year you have car insurance without making a claim. You can accrue up to five years and sometimes more, depending on the insurance provider. Your NCD can cut the cost of your car insurance when you renew. You can also opt to protect it so that it’s not affected if you do make a claim.