In this guide, we share everything you need to know about buying car insurance for the first time including what car insurance covers, how to reduce the cost of car insurance and the best way to buy cheap car insurance.
You can jump to relevant sections of the article using the following links:
- What is car insurance?
- What are the different types of car insurance?
- What does car insurance cover?
- Do I need car insurance?
- How much does car insurance cost?
- How to save money on car insurance
- Things to consider before buying car insurance
- How to buy cheap car insurance
1 minute summary
- Car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK for any road-worthy vehicle and if you or anyone driving your car is uninsured you can face a fine and points on your licence.
- There are three main types of car insurance; Fully comprehensive, Third party fire and theft and Third party. Fully comprehensive car insurance is typically the most expensive car insurance policy as it offers the highest level of cover.
- How much you will pay for your car insurance policy will vary depending on numerous factors including your age, where you live and the type of car you drive.
- One of the quickest and easiest ways to get car insurance is via a comparison site as they allow you to compare multiple insurers at once to get the best deal.
- We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare cheap quotes from over 110 UK car insurance providers.
What is car insurance?
Car insurance is an insurance policy designed to protect you if you damage someone else's vehicle or property. The idea is that the other driver is able to claim on your insurance to recover costs of damage caused to their vehicle or if they are injured themself. There are various types of car insurance policy, and depending on the type you choose you may also be covered if your vehicle is damaged, vandalised or stolen.
Car insurance is a legal requirement in the UK for any road-worthy vehicle and if you or anyone driving your car is uninsured you can face a fine and points on your licence. If you have a vehicle that is currently off-road you will have to apply for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).
What are the different types of car insurance?
There are three main types of car insurance; Fully comprehensive, Third party fire and theft and Third party. Fully comprehensive car insurance is typically the most expensive car insurance policy as it offers the highest level of cover. For a complete explanation of the different types of car insurance, read our article ‘What are the different types of car insurance?‘
What does car insurance cover?
How much cover you have on your car insurance policy varies depending on the type of car insurance policy you choose.
Fully comprehensive car insurance is usually the most expensive car insurance policy type because it offers the highest level of cover.
In the below comparison table we highlight some of the cover levels you can expect with the different types of car insurance policy.
|Fully comprehensive||Third party, fire & theft||Third party|
|Damage to other people's car or property|
|Compensation claims for injuries caused by you|
|Vehicle replacement if it is stolen|
|Fire damage to your car|
|Damage to your car or property|
|Personal injury compensation|
|Windscreen repair/replacement||Policy dependant|
|Courtesy car||Policy dependant|
|Belongings replacement||Policy dependant|
Do I need car insurance?
Car insurance is a legal requirement if you own a roadworthy vehicle in the UK and therefore you need to purchase a policy if you own a vehicle. If the vehicle is not roadworthy you will need to apply for it to be SORN. Even if you are not the registered owner of a vehicle you need to ensure you are suitably insured to drive it, either as a main or named driver.
How much does car insurance cost?
According to comparison website GoCompare, the average cost of a fully comprehensive car insurance policy taken out with them in December 2021 was £549.55. For a Third party fire and theft policy, it was £734.20 and a Third party policy was £920.58.
How much you will pay for your car insurance policy will vary depending on numerous factors including your age, where you live and the type of car you drive.
How to save money on car insurance
Before you purchase your car insurance policy check out our car insurance money saving tips below. For more tips read our article, ‘10 tips to save money on your car insurance‘.
- Shop around – shopping around is one of the easiest ways to save money on your car insurance policy as you can compare the cost between numerous providers.
- Pay annually – Paying for your car insurance policy annually can save you money as some insurers add a credit charge to the premium. Damien explains more in this video.
- No claims bonus – Not claiming on your insurance will help you to build a no claims history which can help to reduce your insurance premium when it comes to shopping around or renewing. It is also possible to buy no claims discount protection with some policies to protect it in the event of a claim.
- Reduce mileage – The fewer miles you drive the cheaper your car insurance policy is likely to be. Ensure you estimate the mileage correctly though as underestimating your mileage could invalidate your car insurance policy.
- Increase excess – The excess is the amount of money you are expected to pay towards the cost of a claim. The more you contribute towards a claim the lower your insurance premium is likely to be. Remember there is usually a compulsory and voluntary excess that is payable so you need to ensure the combined amount is affordable should you need to claim.
Things to consider before buying car insurance
Before buying a car insurance policy you should consider the following
- Telematics insurance – If you are a new driver you may wish to consider telematics insurance, also known as ‘black box' car insurance. This insurance policy installs your car with a tracker that records your driving and rewards you with cheaper insurance for good driving.
- Check the right time to renew – leaving it to the last minute to renew your car insurance can mean that you pay more. According to research from GoCompare, customers that bought their car insurance policy up to 27 days prior to the renewal date saved an average of 55% on their policy. The data is based on policies taken out by customers between January 2021 and May 2022.
- Check your occupation – How much you pay for your car insurance can vary depending on your occupation and in some instances you may be able to change your job description in order to save money. For example, you could list yourself as a ‘sales administrator' instead of a ‘salesperson'. For more information, read our article, ‘Does your job title affect the cost of car insurance?‘
- Try not to modify your vehicle – modifying your vehicle can make your insurance premium more expensive as your car could be seen to be more attractive to thieves or it may be more expensive to fix if it breaks.
- Check the main driver – having multiple named drivers on the policy can affect the cost of your policy. If the additional driver you are adding has more experience and few claims it can help to reduce your premium. You need to ensure that the main driver of the policy is correctly named however, otherwise, you could be seen to be ‘fronting'. Fronting is when you have a more experienced driver listed as the main driver on a policy in order to reduce the cost and was common among new and young drivers. Fronting is however illegal and can invalidate your insurance policy.
How to buy car insurance
When looking for car insurance policies you will need to have your personal details handy in order to get a quote. You will also need to notify the insurer if you have had any points on your licence or if your car has any modifications.
If you are looking to purchase a new car insurance policy one of the easiest ways is via a comparison site. Comparison sites allow you to compare the cost of multiple policies at once to find you the best deal. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare cheap quotes from over 110 UK car insurance providers. When comparing car insurance policies online you should read each policy carefully to ensure you are getting the right cover.
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses – Quotezone