Third party can cost more than comprehensive Which? Money research finds basic cover is pricier

25 May 2011

Car in hands

In many cases, comprehensive cover was cheaper than basic options available

Basic third party, fire and theft car insurance policies can be more expensive, or only marginally cheaper, than fully comprehensive cover, according to a new investigation by Which? Money.

Using two price comparison sites to generate online car insurance quotes, our researchers gathered car insurance quotes for two scenarios: a 35-year-old employed, London-based, married couple driving a 1999 Nissan Micra with a five-year no-claims bonus; and a retired, rural Yorkshire-based, 65-year-old married man driving a 2005 Audi A6 with 10 years of no-claims bonus. 

For the Micra, our car insurance comparison found that in many cases the cheapest annual comprehensive policies were only £3 more expensive than the third party, fire and theft policy from the same insurer with the same excess; in spite of the comprehensive policies offering much greater levels of cover.

Basic insurance is costing more

Renew Insurance, Hastings Direct, Insure and Insurepink all quoted just £3 more for comprehensive policies that all included a courtesy car. Even more surprising was the fact that the most basic motor insurance policies, covering third party only, were much more expensive than comprehensive cover. One site, Insure, quoted £247 with an excess of £100 for comprehensive cover for the Micra, but its third-party quote was £349 with no excess.

On one comparison site, the quotes from Hastings Essential were exactly the same for comprehensive as they were for third-party, fire and theft, and third-party only, at £237. And, in other scenarios we tested, the comprehensive policies were occasionally slightly cheaper than third party fire and theft. For the Audi A6, however, the cheapest comprehensive policies were £19 to £74 more expensive than third party, fire and theft. You can learn more about these types of cover in our guide to finding the right car insurance. 

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: ‘The average third-party, fire and theft premium is more expensive than comprehensive because this type of cover tends to be chosen by younger drivers who tend to make larger claims. But it should be cheaper for an individual driver.’

Take action

When you're thinking of buying car insurance, don’t just gather quotes for third party, fire and theft, check comprehensive cover too, as you could end up with a much better deal. Find out more about car insurance and our Which? Recommended Providers

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