In order to legally use a motor vehicle on a public road you must be in possession of a policy of insurance covering your use of the vehicle. Failure to do so is a serious offence that may result in a heavy fine, driving disqualification and imprisonment.
There are three main types of motor insurance policy: Third Party Only, Third Party Fire & Theft and finally, Comprehensive insurance
Third Party Insurance covers the policyholder for any personal injury or damage caused to another person's property. For instance, if you collide with another road user and damage their vehicle, or cause injury to them, their passengers or your own passengers, the insurance you hold will cover the repairs to their car, the personal claim for injury and medical costs, but not the repair of your own car or your own costs. This type of policy will not cover the cost of replacing your car if it is stolen or catches fire. Third Party Insurance is the minimum cover you must have to legally use a motor vehicle on a road.
Third Party Fire and Theft is the same as Third Party insurance but covers you if your vehicle is stolen or catches fire. Comprehensive Insurance gives you the same insurance cover as Third Party Fire and Theft and will also allow you to claim for the cost of repairing your own vehicle however the damage was caused. It may also cover your medical expenses.
Deciding on which form of motoring insurance you require is very much a matter for the individual driver and their own circumstances. Cost is an obvious factor. Motor Insurance is not cheap, but it a legal essential and most companies allow payments to be made monthly by direct debit. There are over a hundred UK insurance companies that sell motor policies so shopping around pays.
Many factors have an effect on the cost and type of insurance available to an individual driver. For example, the age and experience of the driver. Does the driver have a record of motoring convictions or a history of traffic accidents? The make and model of the vehicle to be insured. How much is it worth and how powerful is it? Where is it to be kept when not in use? Will it be garaged or simply parked in the street? Where does the person applying for insurance live and work? Is it a high crime area or a busy urban area where collisions are more common? All these questions and many more will be asked and must be answered truthfully if the insurance cover is to be valid.
Basically, the younger and less experienced the driver, the more expensive the policy. A 17 year old boy living in an inner city area may find insuring even an ‘old banger' can cost in the region of £3000 for comprehensive insurance cover, and even the basic third party only insurance cover will be over £1000. If however the car is only worth £500, is comprehensive cover an economical proposition? A 45 year old executive office worker with a ‘clean' driving history, living in a quiet, low crime rural area may on the other hand be considered somewhat foolish if he does not obtain comprehensive insurance cover on his £35,000 BMW.
The options are enormous. Each Insurance Company offers a different level of cover and services. The costs vary enormously between companies but please take care to read the ever important ‘small print'.