What type of car insurance do you really need

Weight the options carefully to choose the best car insurance for you

There was a time where picking your car insurance was simple (and rather inflexible too, mind you). It was pretty much traditional fully comprehensive versus third party. Oh and a little in between by adding theft to your third party policy for more cover. It's all changing and we are loving it. Have you heard about occasional short term car insurance options? Insuring your car by the week? The day? Even the hour? Peer to peer car insurance? 

Insuring your car by the week? the day? even the hour?  it's become possible thanks to a new breed of car insurance solutions. About time.

OK, so there may be a lot of options to explore to determine which type of car insurance is best for you. On the one hand, you might be tempted to think that it makes car insurance more complicated. We think it's brilliant: More choice and more flexibility. Now you can really start to tailor the insurance you buy to what you really need (I mean, who wants to buy an annual policy if you only use your car at the weekend or once in a blue moon when you escape the city? Or borrow a car from a friend for a few days only?)

You probably haven't got a lot of time to look all of this up. Well, you don't have too. We've done the leg work for you. 

In this article:

  • Third party insurance or Third party plus theft
  • Fully comprehensive car insurance
  • New breeds of occasional car insurance solutions
  • Being a named driver on someone else's policy 
  • Insurance on a hire car (and most common exclusions to look out for)

Third party (with or without theft) car insurance

You might think this would be your cheaper option. You are so wrong. Third party car insurance tends to be a lot (and we mean a lot) more expensive than fully comprehensive insurance. Where's the logic in that? Steve Sweeney, moneysupermarket.coms car insurance expert, explained: “In recent years, drivers with a more 'risky' profile, such as younger motorists or those with driving convictions have opted for this cover to keep the cost of motoring down". Moneysupermarket adds: It’s not just that riskier drivers go for these policies, driving up the average cost. By choosing third party cover, experienced drivers fall into a riskier category in insurers’ eyes - the result of which is a higher premium for the individual. Voila. As we've said before, the cost of your insurance is all about the perceived risk

What? Third party car insurance tends to be a lot (and we mean a lot) more expensive than fully comp insurance

Fully comp car insurance

Do you drive everyday? Fully comprehensive insurance is probably best for you in this case. Saying that, all car insurances don't offer the same level of cover, so check out your excess levels, exclusions and practical aspects such as whether you get a courtesy car if your own ends up at the garage, and also how practical it is to log a claim and get it sorted. Sometimes you might be tempted to get cheaper cover, only to be faced with more hassle when something happens to your car. And let's face it, when you come to submitting a claim, you want your insurance provider to come up trumps and make it all as quick and easy as possible. So check how they rate before you buy.

Occasional car insurance 

Cuvva offers very flexible car insurance from 1 hour

With the insurance market undergoing huge changes in the digital, wireless and customer lifestyle focused areas, new exciting insurance businesses are being born. I know, we are saying insurance AND exciting in the same sentence. But it's true. 

Cuvva temporary car insurance

Look at Cuvva for example. We think it's no coincidence that the guys who started it are not insurance veterans. They want to change how you buy insurance to fit you and your lifestyle first, rather than looking at what products are available and getting you to fit the mould. Whether you are staying with friends and want to borrow their car for a morning outing, test driving a car you might buy, or simply sharing a long car journey with friends, you can get insured by the hour on a car with Cuvva, quickly and easily (through their app) as long as you have a valid UK Driving licence. We've tried it and got cover for a car sorted for the next 24 hours, in less than 15 minutes, just using their app. It's really well thought through. It even scans your driving licence for you. Job done. We like that.

ByMiles car insurance ...by the mile

As its name suggests, you can get a car insurance quote for the number of miles you're going to drive in the year on ByMiles.com. Their website is brilliantly easy to use. And your can get a quote in a minute as they cleverly only ask for what's really essential to give you a price: Your car registration (which plugs in your car details), your post code, your number of no claim bonus and how many miles you think you'll be driving in the next 12 months. That's it. No need to register, to hand over your personal details or email address. Totally refreshing. 

Car insurance sharing economy solutions

Other ideas to change how we buy insurance include sharing economy solutions like BoughtByMany and Friendsurance. At Friendsurance, customers with the same insurance type connect. If no claims are made by you or any of your connections, you receive a pre-agreed maximum cashback. Sadly, at the moment it's only available in Germany and Australia. But we hope to see them launching in the UK soon.

Named driver on someone else's policy

For occasional driving, or sharing the family car your parents, this might be a good solution. Only if it's occasional driving. If you are the main driver you should not have a car insured in someone else's name. As explained on the Association of British Insurers' website (ABI), "‘Fronting’ is where a parent or older person pretends that they are the main user of a car when a younger person is actually driving it on a regular basis." It is illegal and could invalidate your policy. 

Insurance on a hire car

Right. If you are an occasional driver in the UK, or even if you live abroad and are only coming back to see friends and relatives for a short period of time, you might not have your own car here or access to one you can share or borrow for a bit. If you go down the route of a hire car, check your policy carefully for exclusions and excess. The excess amount in particular, in case of a collision or damage to the car, might not be covered by your hire car company. You can protect yourself from having to pay that excess with a car hire excess insurance policy. Shop around and compare stand alone offers from specialists insurers, who are generally much cheaper (and better cover) than the policies offered at the counter by the hire car companies. 

RELATED: More ways to pay less: 11 smart tips to save on your car insurance for you

Any questions or tips or feedback on this article?

Leave us a comment to get the conversation going. 

You can also use these useful links to check the cost of your next insurance policy with the providers we have mentioned in this article:




(NOTE: We might receive a small commission from some of these businesses for referring you to them. This is how we can keep our ClaimScore service free of charge to use.)


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