Third party car insurance

Is it still the cheapest option?

 

Is third party car insurance still the bargain it once was?


Many people still think so, and a number of websites actually encourage drivers to apply for third party only cover. We doubted it, so we ran a test with fifty price comparisons for different people, using several popular price comparison sites. In each case we got quotes for comprehensive; third party; and third party, fire and theft cover.


What we discovered

For our test sample we found that:
  • In 42 out of 50 (84%) of cases the third party option was the dearest, or joint dearest;
  • In only three case out of the 50 (6%) was it the cheapest;
  • In 20 cases (40%) the third party fire and theft option was the cheapest;
  • In 27 cases (54%) the comprehensive option was the cheapest, despite it offering much greater benefits.

Why has it fallen from favour?

Before the days of online car insurance, back in the pre-MOT era, a lot of cars on the road were 'old bangers'; worn out, hardly roadworthy, and often with bald tyres. Comprehensive cover was expensive and not worth buying when motorists were much shorter of cash than they are now, and it was quite legal to drive poor quality cars which would be cheap and easy to replace. Successive legislation has put paid to that, prosperity has improved and modern cars are not only much safer than they were, but they also hold their value better. Since motorists now look upon their vehicles as long-term investments, demand for comprehensive cover has increased.

Also; the insurers don't like it; and governments don't like it.

Why don't insurers like it?

The insurance companies are mainly concerned about the risk of future claims. Cars which are old, or poorly maintained, represent a greater risk than a modern family car which is kept in excellent condition regardless of cost. Statistically, people who look for third party insurance are (a) more likely to skimp on maintenance, (b) have less pride of ownership in their cars and (c) drive vehicles of lower value. This has been borne out in accident and claims statistics; motorists with third party insurance tend to cost the insurers more, proportionally, than those with comprehensive cover.

Why don't governments like it?

A major benefit of many comprehensive policies is a clause allowing the policy holder to drive a car, subject to certain conditions, which doesn't belong to him, or her. This is not an option on a standard non-comprehensive policy.

People who drive whilst uninsured are still a major problem on our roads, with around a million still breaking the law, according to the motor insurers burea (www.mib.org.uk). Successive governments have taken the view that increasing the number who are covered to drive other people's vehicles - by making non-comprehensive policies obsolete - will reduce this problem. The proposal has been resisted by the insurance industry in the past, but it still remains a possibility for the future.

What's the conclusion?

If you are still looking for third party cover, you may wish to get a comprehensive quote first. You may be very surprised by the difference.





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