Car insurance is obligatory and rightly so with the number of accidents there are and the fact that you could be involved in an incident that isn’t in any way your fault. However, many motorists pay way over the odds for their insurance, especially if they stay with the same insurer year after year. So, what exactly is car insurance and what else do you need to know?
Car insurance covers you when you’re traveling in your vehicle, insuring you at the very least for ‘third party’ costs associated with damage, injury or death to others in an accident that is judged to be your fault. Then there are other policies which cover your expenses, such as repairs to your vehicle or reimbursement if it is written-off or stolen. If you have an accident while you are driving and you don’t have insurance, not only are you breaking the law but you will also have to cover all the related costs yourself which can include the repairs to any cars or property damaged in the crash and any medical bills.
What sort of car insurance do you need?
There are three levels of car insurance available: third party; third party, fire, and theft; and comprehensive. Third party cover only pays out for damage to other people and their property caused by you and is usually the cheapest option. However, you will have to pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it is involved in an accident, stolen or damaged by vandals or thieves.
Third party, fire, and theft cover also protects you against fire damage and theft and then fully comprehensive insurance also covers damage to your vehicle caused by a crash.
What factors affect the cost of car insurance?
It is crucial to shop around to get the best deal, you should compare the policies available from a wide range of insurance companies. Get quotes, first of all, you can do this online, for example, have a look at a Progressive quote, or you can try comparison sites too.
The car you drive will also have an effect on how much you pay for your insurance as well as engine size, your age, the experience behind the wheel, claims history, occupation and your postcode and where you park your car at night.
What is the policy excess?
Excess is the amount that you agree to pay towards any claim and usually, the higher the excess, the lower the premium. If you are considering making a small claim, it may, therefore, be worth considering paying for any repairs yourself instead – especially if you stand to lose a no-claims discount.
What is a no claims discount?
Insurers reward safe drivers with no claims discounts which can generally be transferred from one insurance company to another. However, you will lose this discount if you claim your policy, but you can ‘insure’ your no claims discount so that you can make one or perhaps two claims in any given 12-month period.