Car insurance can cover you for things like if your car is broken into or stolen, or if you’re involved in a collision.
Exactly what you’re covered for depends on the type of policy you choose. Don’t just pick the cheapest option - compare and choose a policy that has the right level of cover for you.
Everyone has to have third party only (TPO). It’s mandatory, and you can’t legally drive without it. It’ll cover other people and their vehicles (third parties) if you’re responsible for an accident. For example, if you damage their vehicle or they’re injured.
Fully comprehensive car insurance is the most extensive cover you can get. It’ll cover you for repair or replacement costs if your car’s damaged or written off, and also covers you if it’s stolen or catches fire.
As with other types of car insurance, you’ll be covered for claims made against you for people, passengers and their property.
All policies are different, so you’ll need to check you’ve got the cover you want before you buy. And that’s what we’re here to help with.
Third party, fire and theft (TPFT) covers you if you’re responsible for damage to other people, passengers or their property because of a fault with your driving.
Your car’s covered if it gets stolen or damaged by fire too.
But if you’re responsible for an accident you won’t be covered by TPFT for repairs to your vehicle or any medical costs - you’ll have to cover those yourself.
Third party only (TPO) is the most basic level of insurance you can get - and the lowest level of cover required to legally drive your car in the UK. Third party coverage is included in TPFT and fully comp policies, but it’s also available on it’s own.
As a standalone product, it’ll cover you for damage to other people, passengers, or their property if you’re found responsible.
But there’s no cover for you or your car. If your car’s stolen, damaged or catches fire you won’t be able to claim back the cost.
If you drive without insurance, you can be fined and have points added to your licence – you could even be taken to court. You’ll also find it very difficult to get car insurance in the future.
Insurers try and work out how likely you are to make a claim on your car insurance - and that's what sets the price.
On average, car insurance costs about £750. That's according to our data - we checked quotes done with us between January and May 2019.*
But it varies between cover types. The average price of a comprehensive policy was £532. But for third party only (TPO), it was almost double at £956.
These are just averages though - your quotes will depend on a lot more than just the cover type you choose. Your age, the car you drive, mileage and driving history all play a part.
New and young drivers, be prepared to pay more. To insurers, you pose the most risk of having an accident, so your premiums will be higher. The average fully comp quote for 18-24 year olds was £1,042.
Car insurance is expensive, but there are ways to make sure you don’t pay more than you should. See if you can keep your premiums down with these tips and tricks.
Paying upfront always works out cheaper than paying monthly, because there’s no interest or finance arrangement fee
Alarms and immobilisers reduce theft risk. Look for Thatcham-approved devices, they’re more likely to be recognised by insurers
Try not to make too many changes to your car - you’ll end up paying extra to cover the cost of repairs or replacement
It’s what you offer to pay on top of your compulsory. Keep it affordable though, in case you need to claim
Get qualifications like Pass Plus or the advanced driving test under your belt – more experienced and reliable drivers pay less
The lower your mileage the less you’ll pay. But don’t underestimate your mileage - it’ll invalidate your insurance
In a garage or on a driveway overnight is far safer than on a street away from home
Don’t pay for policy extras you don’t need or want, they all add up. And if you pay monthly, you’ll pay interest on them too
You might have to pay just to change your address, so factor these in, and check your details are right before you buy your policy
The wrong insurance almost always costs more in the end. The smallest things can invalidate your cover, leaving you with a hefty bill if you try, and fail, to claim
Aside from you, and your driving history, the car you drive is one of the main things insurers consider when they work out how much your insurance is going to cost.
Every car's in an insurance group ranging from one to 50. Engine size, acceleration, safety and the cost to replace parts all play a part in grouping them.
Generally speaking, the lower the group the cheaper it is to insure. Put simply, if you want cheaper insurance, a run-around hatchback is going to cost less than a premium brand SUV.
You can check your cars insurance group quickly and easily with us. Just tell us the make, model, and year and we’ll tell you what insurance group it’s in. Useful for new drivers, or if you’re thinking about getting a new car.
If you’ve got your renewal offer, don’t just settle for it. It’s almost always more than you paid last year - even when you haven’t made a claim. Shop around. A quarter of customers beat their renewal quote by £55 with us.Matt Oliver - Car insurance expert
Top tip: You’ll usually get your best prices around three weeks before your car insurance is due for renewal.
When you compare quotes with us, you can opt for us to send you a reminder when your annual insurance is up for renewal.
Some insurers will include them as standard, or you can pay extra to add them to your policy - think about which ones you really want or need before you buy.
This gets you and your car home or to the nearest garage if you break down. You can choose from three levels of cover - Roadside assistance, roadside assistance and recovery or roadside, recovery and home start. It’s usually cheaper to buy your breakdown cover separate from your car insurance though. Make sure you’re getting value for money by comparing it separately.
If your car’s damaged because of an accident, your insurer can provide a courtesy car to get you from A to B while it’s being repaired - you’ll have to use their approved repairer. Watch out for exclusions. If your car is stolen or written-off, you might not be offered a courtesy car.
For every year you drive claim-free, you’ll get a discount on your car insurance. It’s valuable and has such an impact on the price of your insurance that you can protect it. That way, if you need to claim, it won’t impact your discount. Some insurers protect it entirely, others only reduce it by a year or two – it varies.
Personal accident compensates you for injuries caused by a car accident. The claim limit varies between insurers, and other drivers and passengers are sometimes covered too. You'd only claim on personal accident cover if the accident is your fault. That’s because if an accident isn’t your fault, the at-fault person’s insurer will pay out for any personal injury claims.
If you’re involved in an accident, and it’s not your fault, legal assistance helps you claim from the person responsible. It’ll also help defending a claim brought against you. Generally, unless the insurer thinks you’ve got more than a 50% chance of success, they won’t cover the cost of legal fees. Claim limits also vary between insurers.
Covers the repair of chips and cracks to your car’s windscreen – sometimes it’s a free extra. It can also cover the replacement of your windscreen if it can’t be repaired, but you might have to pay a small excess.
If you lose your keys, or they get stolen, lost key cover can help cover the cost of replacing them. Getting high-tech keys replaced can easily run to hundreds of pounds these days, and that’s without your vehicle being stranded or needing a hire car in the meantime.
Convenience is going to cost you
Paying monthly for car insurance is costing drivers a collective £544m a year in interest.
If you can afford it, pay annually for your insurance. On average, you’ll save yourself £55.
If you need anything other than standard car insurance, we’ve got lots of different policies for you to pick from.
Telematics insurance policies use a black box or app that tracks your driving to calculate your insurance.
New and young drivers always pay more. But it doesn’t mean you can’t get insurance, or you can’t get a good deal.
Having a wealth of driving experience means car insurance for over 50s is usually cheaper - and there are insurers that offer specialised insurance too.
Multi-car insurance can work out easier and cheaper if you’ve got more than one car to insure.
If you use your car for work, you’ll need the right car insurance to be properly covered. There are three different classes of business use you’ll need to pick from.
For additional cover - like spare parts, salvage retention and agreed value - protect your vintage with classic car insurance.
If you only need to drive every now and again. or for less than a month, short-term car insurance could work out cheaper than being put on a policy.
To drive in Europe, and further afield, you’ll usually need to add cover to your car insurance.
Learner drivers have a few options for getting covered before taking their test – whether that’s in your own car, or someone else’s.
Claiming on your car insurance is stressful enough without the added cost of your excess, and we want to help with that. You pay your excess, then we’ll refund up to £250 after your claim’s settled.
Excess is what you have to pay towards a claim. There are two parts and added together you’ll see them called your ‘total excess’.
Sometimes, you have to pay an additional excess if you have a young or inexperienced driver on your policy.
That’s where your excess cover comes in. If you make a claim, and pay your excess, we’ll refund up to £250 of it.
It might not seem fair, but your job title impacts your car insurance quotes - it’s all about risk. Don’t change your job title to try and reduce the price of your quotes though, unless the new title genuinely describes your job accurately. Always be honest - if you lie you could invalidate your cover.
Always give an honest valuation. A ballpark estimate’s okay because insurer’s usually pay out based on average market value.
When you get a quote, we’ll help you by estimating what your car’s worth based on its age and mileage - but you can change it if it doesn’t seem right.
This means the total mileage for the car, so you need to include miles for all drivers who use it.
You want to get this right - it makes a big difference to the price you’ll pay for your insurance. Overestimate your mileage and you’ll end up paying more. Underestimate and you could invalidate your policy.
If you’ve had your car for over a year and you drive in a pretty regular pattern, you can look at previous MOT certificates or service records to work it out
Use our annual mileage calcuator to help work it out. Use it as a base, then add a bit more if you need to for irregular journeys and extras, like long driving trips for holidays.
Insurers can change their prices at any time. Some use ‘real-time’ pricing and others will honour the price they offer for anywhere between 10 and 30 days. When you get quotes with us, we can’t guarantee you’ll get the same price if you come back later - your quote could go up.
It usually pays to get quotes a few weeks ahead, and lock in a good deal early.
Sometimes, but it depends on what cover you’ve got and how much experience you have driving.
Some insurers offer cover to drive other cars as part of fully comprehensive policies, but its rarely a feature of third party or third party, fire and theft – and is often written out of policies for young or inexperienced drivers.
Check policy docs to be certain. Often, it’s only supposed to be used in emergencies, rather than everyday driving. If you’re in any doubt, just call the insurer and ask.
That depends on if you want to pay for your insurance annually or monthly.
If you choose to pay monthly for your car insurance the insurer will usually do a ‘hard search’, which can leave a mark on your credit score. You’re asking for credit, and basically taking a loan, so they do have to run affordability checks.
Unfortunately, if you claim on your insurance, your premiums usually go up the next year.
If you’ve had, or caused, any accident or damage in the last five years, you need to let insurers know. Even if you didn’t make a claim and regardless of blame.
If you cancel your policy within the cooling-off period you’ll be refunded, less any time you’ve been covered for already. Some insurers will charge an admin fee for this.
When you’re charged for any cover you’ve already had, it’ll be charged pro-rata, so a fair proportion of the entire annual cost of your policy
Cancelling outside of the cooling-off period isn’t much different. Some insurers charge a cancellation fee, others don’t. Any refund you get will be based on the number of days’ cover you’ve already had.
Unless you make changes to your policy, cancel or need replacement documents, you shouldn’t have to pay any fees.
If you do need to change something, like your address, car or adding a driver, most insurers will charge you an adjustment fee. Some might let you make basic changes online without charging you, while others won’t. Expect to pay to cancel your insurance and for duplicate documents too. There’s no standard flat fee, insurers can charge whatever they like.
When you’re comparing policies, look out for admin fees. They add up, so it’s worth factoring them in.
Your insurer will settle the claim if it’s clearly your fault. If it’s not clear, your insurer will look at the evidence, decide who’s at fault and settle the claim.
When both parties are to blame, or if a decision can’t be agreed, your insurers will split the claim between them.
If you weren’t at fault, your insurer will give you your excess back.
Find out more about making a claim on your car insurance in our guide.
Page last reviewed: 23 January 2020
Next review due: 23 April 2020
Up to £250 refunded after claim settled. Car insurance purchases only. Excludes breakdown, windscreen and glass repair/replacement. Full T&Cs apply.
Price savings are based on independent research by Consumer Intelligence, conducted between 1 August to 31 August 2019: It compared 28 insurers from our panel and found 51% could save up to £240.04 with us on their car insurance
Average cost of comprehensive car insurance where the main driver is aged between 18-24 bought through GoCompare in June 2019
Based on www.reviews.co.uk: 92% of customers who left a review recommended us. Our average rating of 4.6 out of 5 is from 10,194 people who left a review for car insurance comparison. Last checked in February 2019.
25% of customers who provided their car insurance renewal price saved up to £55.46 with Gocompare.com (01 Jun 2019 to 31 Aug 2019)
We looked at over 50 different insurance policies and compared the total cost of paying monthly to the cost of the single, annual payment.On average, paying monthly adds 11.83% to the cost of car insurance. The average car insurance premium is £468 according to the ABI (Oct 19). £468 x 11.83% = £55.36 extra for paying monthly. There are currently 31.7m cars on the UK’s roads.31% of people pay monthly for their car insurance. That’s 9.8m insurance policies. £55.36 x 9.827m =£544,022,720 for the total cost to UK drivers of paying monthly.
Last checked 17 September 2019
*Average cost of annual car insurance by policy type purchased in May 2019 via GoCompare