Guide to Third-Party Insurance Cover

An insurance policy purchased by the insured (first party), from an insurance company (second party) for protection against the claims of another (third party).

Get a quote

Young red headed woman driving her new car with third party only car insurance cover.

What is Third Party only road insurance, and should I buy it?

Third-party car insurance is the bare minimum level of road cover needed to drive legally in the UK.

It covers people and their vehicles. You’ll need this essential cover if you’re involved in an accident and must make a claim.

To ensure you drive on the road legally and in a roadworthy car, you must also have road tax and a valid MOT (for vehicles three years and older) alongside your valid insurance policy.

Items included in third-party car insurance:

  • Bodily injury to other people
  • Damage to other people’s vehicles
  • Damage to other people’s property

Items NOT covered by third-party only insurance:

What are the benefits of third-party road insurance?

  • Protects you against financial liabilities
  • Can be low-cost compared to comprehensive insurance*
  • Mandatory by law in many countries
  • Suitable for older vehicles with low-value

*Dependent on personal circumstances such as recorded driving convictions and new drivers.

Remember that selecting appropriate insurance coverage depends on your individual needs and the value of your vehicle.

Keep in mind, you can compare insurance options to find the best policy for your circumstances.

Understanding Third-Party Coverage

Learn more about all the different types of car insurance.

Third-party is the most basic level of car insurance required by law.

It primarily covers damages and injuries you may cause to others in an accident.

Main aspects of third-party cover:

  • Liability for Property Damage: If your vehicle is involved in an accident and damages another person’s property, third-party insurance covers the cost of repairs.
  • Liability for Bodily Injury: In the event of an accident, if another person sustains injuries, this insurance will provide coverage for their medical expenses.
Volkswagen Passat skidding next to a road warning sign.

Understand the Exclusions

  • Damage to your car: If an accident occurs and your vehicle suffers damage, a third-party insurance policy will not cover the cost of repairs or replacements.
  • Theft of your car: If your vehicle is stolen, third-party insurance will not provide compensation or coverage for the loss. Learn more about our DVLA stolen car check.
  • Personal injury: If you sustain physical injuries due to an accident, a third-party insurance policy will not cover the expenses for your medical treatment.
  • Natural disasters: Damages caused by natural disasters, such as floods or earthquakes, are excluded from third-party insurance policies.
  • Acts of war or terrorism: A third-party insurance policy will not cover damages caused by war, civil unrest, or acts of terrorism.
  • Driving under the influence: If an accident occurs while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your third-party insurance policy will not provide coverage.

It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of third-party insurance policies. Consider your needs and preferences to ensure you get the right insurance cover.

Third-Party vs Comprehensive Insurance

Fully comp provides a wide range of insurance benefits, including:

  • Damage to your vehicle due to an accident or vandalism
  • Repair costs after a fire, theft, or flood
  • Personal injury compensation
  • Legal expenses related to your own vehicle damage

While third-party insurance meets the minimum legal requirement, fully comprehensive provides extensive protection for your vehicle and peace of mind in various situations. 

Although comprehensive insurance is generally more expensive, it potentially saves you from costly repairs.

Comprehensive cover is recommended if you can afford it. Quality road insurance is part of the annual running costs of any car, motorcycle or light commercial.

Two middle-aged parents deciding between third-party or comprehensive insurance cover.

Are There Situations When Third-Party Insurance is Beneficial?

Third-party only or third-party fire and theft might suit in certain circumstances.

Suppose you own an older vehicle with a low market value. Insuring it with a comprehensive policy might not be cost-effective, as the annual premium may be similar to car value.

Third-party insurance can provide a more affordable option, covering potential liabilities without the additional cost of protecting your own vehicle.

If you have a clean driving record, third-party insurance could suit you.

Weigh the risks involved and ensure you’re comfortable with the coverage provided.

Some advantages of choosing third-party insurance include:

  • Potentially lower premiums: Basic policies generally have lower premiums, saving you money, especially if you are on a tight budget.
  • Liability coverage: This type of insurance protects you against financial liabilities arising from damage or injury caused to third parties in an accident.
  • Legal assistance: Third-party policies often include legal assistance, ensuring you have help if involved in a legal dispute.

What’s the Typical Cost of a Third Party Insurance Policy?

Numerous factors come into play.

There’s no definitive answer for the typical cost as each driver, driver’s history and vehicle are different.

However, Third-party is generally considered more affordable than comprehensive coverage.

Here are some aspects that can influence the cost of your third-party insurance policy:

  • Vehicle make and model: The type of car you drive impacts the policy cost, as some vehicles are considered a higher risk for accidents or theft.
  • Location/home address: Your location and the area’s crime rate affect the premium, with urban areas often having higher rates than rural ones.
  • Driving history: Insurance companies take note of your driving record – a clean history typically results in lower premiums.
  • Age: Younger drivers are typically considered riskier and usually face higher premiums.

Obtaining quotes from various insurance providers and comparing options can help you find a policy that suits your budget and provides the necessary coverage.

Consider the cost and the quality of service and support offered by the insurer.

What Information Should You Provide for a Third-Party Quote?

  • Personal Information: Your full name, date of birth, address, and contact details will be required. It helps insurers to identify you and assess your risk profile.
  • Driving Experience: Your years of driving experience, driving licence details (including type and any endorsements), and history of any driving courses or training undertaken will be considered.
  • Vehicle Details: The make, model, year, and registration number of your car, as well as any modifications, are necessary for insurers to understand the vehicle you need to cover. Use our free car history check report to obtain the basics.
  • Insurance History: Information about your previous insurance policies, including any claims or accidents, will help insurers evaluate your risk and adjust premiums accordingly.
  • Usage and Mileage: How you use your car (e.g., commuting, leisure, business) and the approximate annual mileage will impact your quote. Insurers need this information to determine the potential risks involved.
  • Security Measures: Details about where your car is parked overnight and any additional security features (such as alarms, immobilisers, or tracking devices) can influence your third-party insurance quote.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my vehicle covered under third-party insurance?

No, third-party insurance only covers damages you cause to other people’s vehicles or property and any injuries sustained by third parties. It does not cover damages to your car.

What’s the claim process like for third-party insurance?

  1. Inform your insurer about the accident as soon as possible.
  2. Provide your insurance company with the necessary documentation and details of the accident.
  3. Your insurer will assess the claim based on the information provided. It includes a final valuation and if the car will become a write-off.
  4. You might need to attend court if the claim goes to a legal dispute.
  5. If the claim is accepted, the insurer will compensate the third party.

Can I enhance my third-party policy with extra cover?

Yes, you can add optional extras to your policy, like fire, theft, and other specific types of damages. It will increase your car insurance quote.

When should I choose third-party insurance over comprehensive?

Third-party insurance is more suitable in situations where:

  • Your vehicle is of low value or an older model;
  • You are on a tight budget and prefer lower premiums;
  • You are confident you can cover repair costs if your vehicle gets damaged.

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

Related guides

Check vehicle insurance – a simple way to see if a car is insured whilst on the road.
SORN my car – notify DVLA that you want to take your vehicle off the road.
Car owner check – the UK’s primary resource for checking the previous owners of a car.