If you drive a car, it’s required by law to have car insurance. But types of insurance, price and levels of cover can vary greatly from one provider to the next, which can make it very confusing when you’re trying to get the best value for your money.
We've put together a comprehensive guide to finding the best car insurance to give you what you need, without making a large dent in your wallet.
Levels of Cover
Insurance generally comes in three levels for you to choose from: Third Party insurance; Third Party, Fire and Theft insurance; and Comprehensive insurance. You should decide on your level of cover based on the value of your car, your budget and any additional extras you need.
Third Party insurance only covers the damages of the other person or people involved in the event of an accident, and does not cover your own damages. If your car isn’t worth a lot and you could afford to repair or replace it on your own, this level of cover may be your best option. It is also a good option if you don’t have a No Claims Bonus, or are struggling to get Fully Comprehensive cover.
But you should keep in mind that Third Party insurance is not always the cheapest car insurance available even though it offers the lowest level of protection.
Third Party, Fire and Theft insurance is the next level up from Third Party insurance. Although it still only covers the damages of the other person or people involved in an accident with you and you will have to pay for your own repairs or vehicle replacement, it does also cover your car if it’s stolen or damaged in a fire.
This level of cover is a good option if you can’t afford Comprehensive insurance but still need an added level of protection.
Fully Comprehensive insurance covers both you and the other people involved in the event of an accident, as well as accidental damage and vandalism. Some providers’ Comprehensive insurance will also cover other people driving your car with your permission.
This is the type of insurance that most people opt for if they can, as it offers the highest level of protection. It is the best option if you wouldn't be able to afford to repair or replace your car on your own after an accident, and most providers will offer both monthly and annual payments to suit your budget.
Most insurance policies will give you a choice of optional extras, and it is crucial that you carefully consider them. You need to decide which would be useful to you and that you might potentially need, and which would just be an unnecessary expense.
For example, additional cover usually includes options such as breakdown cover and cover while travelling abroad. The majority of drivers will need roadside assistance after a breakdown at some point and will commonly opt for this extra, but if you don’t travel abroad often and don’t have any plans to do so, then you would probably choose not to pay for this additional cover.
Factors that can Affect Insurance Prices
Insurance rates and fees are affected by more than just the age, make and model of your car. Insurance providers use statistical data from road accidents to collect information on the factors that affect the likelihood of different demographics of people having an accident, and use these factors to modify your rate of insurance.
These factors include things like where you live, how long you have been driving for, the number of previous claims you've made, your gender, and any previous driving offences you have.
Everybody’s car insurance needs are different, and the price you are quoted will vary depending on a number of different factors. It’s extremely important that you compare several insurance quotes before you buy, so that you can make an informed decision based on the level of cover and extras you need included in your policy.
One of the quickest and easiest way to compare car insurance prices is to enter your basic information on a price comparison site, such as iSelect or Compare the Market. These sites will collate the information from a wide range of insurance providers for you to compare side by side, and give you their quoted price, their level of cover and their optional extras.
It’s important to keep in mind however that not all car insurance providers are listed on these websites, and it might be worth contacting a few providers directly to see what they can offer you. You may even find that you can get a better deal, as insurance providers listed on price comparison sites usually pay a fee or commission to the site in return for their listing, and this fee is then tailored into the prices they quote for insurance.