Comprehensive car insurance

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Two young women laughing whilst behind the wheel of a new car with fully comprehensive vehicle insurance.

What does comprehensive car insurance cover?

A comprehensive car insurance policy (also known as fully comp or fully comprehensive) provides the best protection on the market for you and your vehicle.

Comprehensive insurance covers:

  • Third-party damage to other cars or people due to a car accident
  • Fire and theft to your car
  • Damage to your vehicle, regardless of who was at fault

The main differences between ‘fully comprehensive’ and ‘comprehensive’ car insurance policies

Fully comp is another way to describe comprehensive car insurance. The product is the same, offering the best road cover on the market. However, you must check for exclusions such as a hire car, breakdown cover or no-claims bonus insurance.

A man sat in his car with his Golden Retriever dog.

What am I covered for with fully comprehensive car insurance?

Comprehensive provides the best cover. The details of each policy differ a little based on the insurer and their terms and conditions.


What is covered?

  • The cost of repairing your car from damage resulting from a road traffic accident
  • Theft insurance
  • Fire damage insurance
  • Damage caused by flooding
  • The cost of repairing third-party vehicles
  • The costs associated with injury caused to others by an accident
  • You must check the terms of your policy for any exclusions and to ensure it suits your circumstances.

What is NOT covered?

  • Driving someone else’s car – however, some policies do include this type of insurance under third-party-only conditions. Check the terms of your policy or read learn more on what is third-party insurance?
  • Theft if your car was not locked and secure
  • Insurance whilst driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving with a valid UK driving licence
  • Wear and tear to your car
Two cars driving over a Pelican crossing with fully comprehensive insurance policies.

Should I buy a comprehensive policy or not?

If you want the highest levels of coverage, comprehensive is your best choice. It offers peace of mind against potential losses and repair costs.

Comprehensive insurance is recommended if you can afford to buy it. Many insurers allow you to pay monthly or annually.

There are more options if you can’t afford fully comp or feel it offers more cover than you need. Either way, you must be insured to drive on the road. You’ll also need to check for car tax and a current MOT if your car is over three years of age.

Other types of insurance:

We have a detailed guide on the different types of car insurance.


Third-party car insurance

  • It is the minimum type of insurance to drive legally on UK roads. It protects you if you damage someone else’s vehicle, or they sustain an injury from a road traffic accident that was or was not your fault.
    It does NOT cover repairing or replacing your car from damage after an accident.
    Learn more about third-party-only insurance

Third-party fire and theft

Telematics car insurance

  • Known as black box insurance, telematics records your driving via a smartphone app installed on your mobile phone or car. It checks your speed, amongst other data points.
    Young drivers often use this insurance type.
    Learn more about telematics car insurance

What’s the average cost of comprehensive car insurance?

Get an instant online quotation from more than 200 insurers

Fully comp car insurance is considered more expensive than third party (including fire and theft). But in recent years, we have seen some reduced cover insurance quotes become more expensive.

Those who buy third-party-only cover tend to be young or new drivers or motorists with driving convictions. These categories of motorists are statistically more likely to make insurance claims as they are more likely to take risks whilst driving on the road.

Despite offering less coverage than fully comprehensive, third-party-only may be more expensive.

You will need an online quote to determine how much each policy type will cost.

Insurance premiums are based on individual circumstances such as the type of car you drive, your age and driving history and if you have any convictions.

The average quote for a fully comprehensive policy:

  • Comprehensive insurance cover: £743
  • Third-party fire and theft: £1,158
  • Third-party only: £1,168
    Quotes provided by Compare the Market

How can I find the cheapest comprehensive car insurance quotes?

Some key factors determine how much or how little your quote will be. Some elements cannot be changed, such as your age, how long you have been driving or the number of convictions you have on your driving licence.

Components that can save you money on car insurance:

  • Paying for your policy annually instead of monthly – here, you can avoid hefty interest charges on your insurance premium compared to monthly instalments.
  • Reduce how many miles you drive – fewer miles equals less risk of making a claim.
  • Add an experienced driver to your policy – someone with years of driving experience, who has a clean licence and who may drive your car from time to time. Ensure your ‘responsible driver’ does indeed drive your vehicle. If not, it may be classed as fraud, known as ‘fronting’.
  • Check out Telematics (also known as black box insurance) – popular with young drivers.

The fastest way to find the cheapest comprehensive car insurance policy is via a comparison tool like Go.Compare, Money Supermarket, or (our favourite for the cheapest quotes.)

What information must I provide to get an online quote?

You can start comparing comprehensive car insurance quotes with the following details:

  • Your vehicle and how you plan to use it:
    Use a car registration check via CarVeto database to get the essential information about your car, then use it on one of the comparison sites listed above. Details including the VRM (vehicle registration mark), make, model, and age.
    Here, include your average annual mileage and where the car is kept overnight, such as a driveway, garage, or street.
  • Personal details:
    Name, age, home address, occupation and additional drivers you should include within your insurance policy.
  • No-claims discounts (NCD)
    Include your years of no-claims, convictions within the last five years or recent insurance claims. Include up-to-date, accurate information to avoid invalidating your policy.

Additional insurance services to accompany any policy

The fundamentals of a comprehensive policy are similar between insurers. But there are a range of additional extras. Some may come as standard, whilst others will be charged separately.

During your online quotation, you are offered one or more of the following extras:

  • Courtesy car insurance
  • Breakdown cover (AA, RAC, Green flag etc)
  • No-claims bonus protection
  • Legal protection insurance
  • Personal injury accident cover
  • Personal belongings insurance
  • Car key insurance
  • Wrong fuel type insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drive someone else’s car on my insurance policy (comprehensive)?

Contrary to a common misconception, having comprehensive car insurance does not allow you driving other cars.

While in the past, some comprehensive policies included third-party coverage for driving other vehicles, this practice has become increasingly rare.

To ascertain your coverage, it’s essential to carefully review your policy details or consult your insurance provider if you need more clarification.

If you require coverage for driving another person’s car or wish to allow someone else to drive your vehicle, consider adding a named driver to your policy. Alternatively, for short-term needs, you can explore temporary car insurance options.


What factors influence the cost of a comprehensive policy?

The price of your comprehensive insurance premium is influenced by various factors, including age, driving history, residential location, and where you typically park your vehicle overnight.

Insurance companies assess these elements and their historical data and risk calculations to determine the likelihood of you filing a claim. The resulting risk assessment plays a pivotal role in determining the cost of your insurance policy.

What is temporary car insurance?

See our complete guide to cheapest temporary car insurance policies.

Composed by Marcus Rockey

Marcus has authored across the automotive sector for more than 30-years – with a focus on private motorists buying or selling a used car.

Read more of his articles here

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