Motor or car insurance might be one of the only insurance products ever bought by many individuals. According to the Association of British Insurers, around 20 million people in the UK have car insurance.
Every day motor insurers in this country receive almost 3 million claims and pay out more than £17 million. It is no exaggeration to say that motor insurance is extremely big business.
Who might this product be suitable for?
Anyone who intends to drive a car on the roads or use it in any other public space needs car insurance – that is the law. It is not only the owner of a motor vehicle who needs car insurance, therefore, but anyone who intends to drive it.
What does it typically cover?
Although you have a legal obligation to hold a minimum level of insurance to meet claims from third parties whom you might injure or cause loss or damage to their property, there are further levels of insurance also available. Thus, the principal levels are:
Third party – the minimum required by the law and providing unlimited cover to ensure that any claim from a third party suffering loss or damage as a result of your use of a car is met in full;
Third party, fire and theft – whilst third party cover provides just that – cover for third party claims only and no compensation at all for any loss or damage to your own car – this level of insurance cover also offers protection for your vehicle against the potentially total loss of fire or theft;
Comprehensive insurance – if you want indemnity against third party claims and to protect your car not only against fire and theft but also other forms of accidental damage, including incidents for which you are entirely to blame, the level of insurance cover you need is comprehensive.
Although comprehensive insurance offers the fullest kind of protection for your car, not all comprehensive insurance policies are the same – there is a wide variation in the scope and extent of cover, with some policies incorporating additional elements of cover as standard and others as optional extras.
Is there anything I need to know?
When choosing the level of cover you want, it may be worth remembering that a reduced or minimum level of cover – such as third party only or third party, fire and theft – is not necessarily always the cheapest option.
As there are so many products available to choose from, it may make sense to shop around and compare a number of different policy options to see which one meets your needs. Also:
never automatically renew your motor cover, always check that you are still getting the most suitable deal for you. Many people are complacent at renewal time and do the easy thing of automatically renewing their cover. The insurer knows this and so does not need to reward you for your loyalty;
always check what the cover includes to make sure you are not paying for something twice – for example, if you have a standalone breakdown insurance policy, check that your motor insurance policy does not also include this too. If it does, either ask your motor insurer to remove that element (so the cover is cheaper) or cancel your standalone breakdown insurance policy.
If you want to drive a car, you have little choice but to ensure that you have the appropriate level of motor insurance. That said, however, there is an enormous range of choices still to be made before settling on the cover most likely to meet your particular, individual needs – at a competitive market price.
Whether it is something you prefer to do entirely off your own bat or through the advice and guidance of a broker, therefore, it is likely to pay you to shop around carefully to ensure you get the most cost-effective and appropriate deal for you.