How to buy your own car insurance policy
* Everything you need to know about car insurance * All types of policies explained * How to get the right policy for you...
Car insurance is a legal requirement if you want to drive on the UK's roads.
Although it is important to pay as little as possible for your insurance especially if you are a young driver facing big premiums ensuring that you have the appropriate level of cover for your needs is even more crucial.
You must therefore think carefully before deciding between the three levels of cover Third Party Only, Third Party Fire & Theft and Fully Comprehensive (see below for more details).
How to apply
When you are searching for car insurance, a comparison website such as MoneySupermarket can help you find the right level of cover to meet your specific requirements at the best possible price.
This is because you can compare more than one hundred policies with just a few clicks of your mouse. Independent research suggests that the average motorist can save 400 by purchasing their insurance in this manner.
Information you will need to apply for a policy includes your address, the make, model and year of your vehicle, details of your driving experience and which of the three types of cover you want.
Whichever level of cover you choose, you must ensure that all the information you give in relation to your policy is accurate to the best of your knowledge. Otherwise, you risk having any claims rejected and could even end up in trouble with the law.
Third Party Only (TPO)
This is the minimum level of cover required by UK law and is the most basic type of car insurance available to motorists.
Third party policies only cover the costs incurred by other people and do not offer any protection to you or your car.
Consequently, if you are involved in an accident that is your fault, your policy will pay out for repairs to any other vehicles involved but will not pay for damage to your vehicle.
Often viewed as the cheapest way to insure your car, due to the lower level of cover, it can prove to be more expensive than Fully Comprehensive policies.
So don't commit to TPO cover without comparing all the options.
Third Party, Fire & Theft (TPFT)
TPFT cover offers the same protection as TPO insurance, as well as offering protection against your own vehicle being stolen or damaged as a result of fire or theft.
As with TPO cover, however, the policy only covers liability to any third parties involved in an accident caused by you.
This type of cover can be a good option for cheap vehicles that would not cost much to replace or repair should an incident occur.
However, it is still worth comparing the cost with that of a Fully Comprehensive policy to ensure that you get the best possible value for money from the arrangement.
Fully Comprehensive car insurance offers all of the third party protection of TPFT and also includes cover for you and your vehicle should you cause an accident.
Optional extras such as courtesy car guarantees and breakdown cover are sometimes included in these as standard.
However, these add-ons aren't included as standard with all companies and tend not to be part of the package which is the cheapest available. This means that it is worth while reading the terms and conditions of the policy before committing as the cheapest deal may not offer the greatest value for money.
Money saving tips
Car insurance can be very expensive, particularly if you are a young person with little experience or you have a powerful car.
Ways to keep costs down include keeping your vehicle in a locked garage overnight and agreeing to limit your mileage in return for lower premiums.
You may also be able to reduce your premiums by opting to pay a higher excess towards the cost of any claim.
However, it is important to consider whether it is a figure you would genuinely be able to afford if your car is involved in an incident.
As mentioned above, it is also vital to give accurate information and not be tempted into lying to cut the cost of your cover. For example, it is not acceptable to allow a more experienced motorist to become the main driver on the policy in an attempt to lower premiums if they are not going to be the primary user. This is a tactic known as fronting and has been deemed illegal.
This all-too-common practice is illegal, and could well leave you un-insured in the event of a claim.
Any claims you make are likely to be rejected as a result.
This article has been researched and written by whatcar.com's car insurance partner, MoneySupermarket