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What’s comprehensive car insurance?
Comprehensive – sometimes referred to as fully comprehensive – is the highest level of car insurance you can buy. It covers more eventualities than the other two cover levels: third-party only(TPO) and third party fire and theft (TPFT).
It’ll cover the cost of repairing or replacing your own car if you’re in an accident where you’re found to be at fault, as well as compensating other people for damage or losses caused by you.
It’ll also cover everything included in TPFT cover – losses caused by fire, vandalism or theft.
Don’t assume comprehensive insurance will be more expensive, just because it offers better cover. Sometimes it’s cheaper than both third party only and third party fire and theft policies.
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Do I need comprehensive insurance?
By law, you only need to have third-party only insurance as a minimum.
But our data shows that third party insurance costs as much as 63% more than comprehensive insurance.
So you might be able to get a higher level of cover for less money – compare quotes to find out.
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What’s not covered by comprehensive insurance?
‘Comprehensive’ doesn’t mean absolutely everything’s included in the policy as standard.
Your policy documents will list some exclusions, which you won’t be covered for.
Some typical exclusions are:
- Negligence – for example, theft when your car’s left unlocked or you’ve left valuables on show.
- Wear and tear – your policy won’t include cover for claims relating to the general wear and tear of your car (e.g. worn tyres, brake pads and rust).
- Invalid driving licence – you’ll need to have passed your driving test and kept your licence up to date.
Check policy documents to find out exactly what is and isn’t included on your policy.
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What’s the difference between fully comprehensive and third-party only car insurance?
A comprehensive car insurance policy will cover you for a wide range of damages, injuries, and loss to your passengers, your vehicle, and other property.
Third party car insurance is much more limited, covering damage to other vehicles and their passengers, but not much else.
This covers you if your car is stolen or catches fire. But this won’t cover damages to your car for any other reason.
Find out more about third party, fire and theft insurance >
Also known as TPO, third party only covers other people and their property, but not you or your vehicle.
Find out more about third party only car insurance >
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£4 million refunded to customers with free excess cover^^
If you need to claim, we’ll pay £250 towards your excess^. Just another reason to make your life choices on Go.Compare.
^Up to £250 refunded after claim settled. Car insurance purchases only. Excludes breakdown, windscreen and glass repair/replacement. Full T&Cs apply.
^^Based on Go.Compare analysis of successful claims, August 2019 – June 2022.
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Is comprehensive cover more expensive?
You might expect comprehensive car insurance to be the most expensive cover option. It offers the most cover after all. But it’s often cheaper than third party only and third party, fire and theft policies.
Our customers paid £516.28 on average for comprehensive cover last year – which is a little cheaper than in 2018 and 2019.*
But we also discovered that third party only cover is actually 60% more expensive than fully comp.
That’s because third party options tend to attract drivers at a higher risk of accidents, meaning that insurers can class these policyholders as more likely to make a claim.
Things like your age, your vehicle, your annual mileage, claims history and previous convictions will all affect the amount you’ll pay.
So even if you’re trying to find ways to save money on your car insurance, make sure you check comprehensive quotes alongside other options. See if you could get comprehensive cover for the same cost, or less, than third party.*The average price paid for annual comprehensive car insurance cover bought through GoCompare in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Average cost of annual car insurance bought through GoCompare in April 2021. For comprehensive cover it was £458.65. For third party only cover it was £857.19.
Frequently asked questions
Don’t assume that just because you have comprehensive car insurance that you’ll be insured to drive other cars.
It doesn’t come as standard on all policies. Even when it does, it’s usually reserved for emergency situations or one-offs only. Situations like test-driving a car you’re interested in buying from a private seller. It’s not uncommon for the level of cover to drop to third party only too.
Check the terms and conditions of your policy before driving someone else’s car.
Yes, you can. Although some insurers might have a minimum age limit on their policies – for example, you might have to be over 21 – so you might have a slightly more limited choice across all policy levels if you’re a younger driver.
The value of an older car reduces over time, so the amount an insurer refunds you could be less than the actual cost of repairs or replacement. This means you might end up paying more for a comprehensive policy than would be paid out.
However, a lower level of insurance cover might end up costing more than a fully comp policy. And you’d need to consider whether your older car would be considered a valuable ‘classic’ – if so, a fully comp classic car insurance policy might be more worthwhile. It’s also worth thinking about whether you could afford the full cost or repairs or replacement yourself.
It’s worth comparing your options to see what works out best for you.
What do I need to get a quote?
When you compare quotes, you’ll need to tell us a few things like:
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Your personal info
Including your name, date of birth, address and job
Details about your car
Such as it’s make, model and year (or it’s reg number) and whether it’s ever been modified
What cover you want
Let us know your car’s mileage and how you’re going to be using it, then pick the level of cover and any add-ons you need
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