What Is Car Insurance & Why Do I Need It?
Everything you need to know to stay protected on the road
Amelia Crew

Car Insurance is just one of those essentials that we all accept. As soon as we start to think about getting our Provisional License, the search for affordable insurance begins. From a young age we are aware that we will need to have Car Insurance if we are going to drive on the UK's roads. In this article we will look at what car insurance is and why we have to have it.

What Does Car Insurance Do For Me?

It has been compulsory to have car insurance since 1930. At that time, all drivers needed to have a policy which would cover any damage caused to a third party. The policy also had to cover hospital treatment - up to £25!

The most important element of any car insurance policy is your peace of mind.

If you are involved in an accident on the road, having an insurance policy in place will help reduce the stress and worry of the situation.

There are three standard types of car insurance policies available in the UK:

  • Third Party
  • Third Party, Fire & Theft
  • Fully Comprehensive

Third Party Insurance

This is the minimum level of insurance you need in the UK. Third Party insurance is a very basic type of policy which ensures that injury to others is covered along with damage to their property. You might like to consider this type of policy if you don't drive very often. It may also suit you if you just need the cheapest policy possible. It's worth remembering that not all insurance companies offer this type of policy so shopping around is important.

Third Party, Fire & Theft

The next level of car insurance policy sold in the UK is Third Party, Fire & Theft. Just like the name says, this type of policy will cover you for all the same events as the Third Party policy will. In addition, you will also be covered if your car is stolen or if it is damaged by fire. Although this is a common type of policy, it still will not pay out for damage to your own vehicle. It's also worth noting that Third Party, Fire & Theft policies may not be much cheaper, if at all, than a more comprehensive policy. The reason for this is that, statistically, insurance companies are most likely to face a claim on this type of policy. As a result, depending on your circumstances, a fully comprehensive policy may actually be cheaper.

Fully Comprehensive

The third type of car insurance is a Fully Comprehensive policy. This is the only one of three standard types of insurance that allows you to claim on your own insurance even if you are at fault. With this type of policy, not only are you as a driver covered, your passengers and property may also be covered. There is no doubt that this will mean even more peace of mind in the event of an accident. Fully Comprehensive policies are suitable for most drivers as it gives you a greater level of protection. Many of these types of policy offer you valuable extras such as driving other cars so always compare the benefits before making a choice.

Other Types Of Car Insurance

The three types of insurance policy explained above are standard in the UK. However, they may not be suitable for every driver. For instance, if you have a classic car you will need a specialist type of policy. Classic cars are usually those over 15 years old and worth over £15,000. Parts and repairs for classic cars are often more expensive than other types of car. However, classic car drivers are more likely to take better care of their vehicles so insurance costs may actually be lower, it all depends on your personal circumstances.

Drivers with sports cars, imported cars or high performance cars (among others) will also need to turn to a specialist insurer. Standard insurance policies are unlikely to be suitable for this type of car.

Driving Without Insurance

According to the GOV.UK website, driving a car without insurance could mean a fine of up to £1000. Even if you're not driving the car, if it's registered to you then you are responsible for insuring it correctly.

There is a scheme aimed at reducing the number of uninsured drivers in the UK called Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE). This was introduced in 2011 and makes it easier to trace uninsured drivers. The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and the MIB (Motor Insurers Bureau) work together to identify uninsured vehicles. If you are the registered keeper of a car which doesn't have an insurance policy, you will first receive a letter advising you to take action. If you fail to comply with this advisory letter, you will then receive a fixed penalty notice. The good news is that latest statistics show that the number of uninsured drivers on our roads is down by over 30%!

In Summary

Car insurance is compulsory in the UK. There are different types of insurance policy available, offering varying levels of protection in the event of an accident. Having an insurance policy in place will not only give you peace of mind that you are following the law, it will ensure that you have less stress and worry if the worst was to happen. As with all types of insurance, shopping around for car insurance is always a good idea. BillBuddy will help you to compare benefits as well as prices and make sure you choose the policy that is perfect for you.

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