Understanding car insurance policies

There are some costs that come part and parcel with owning a car and insurance is one of them. A legal requirement for anyone who’s planning on taking their car out on the road, insurance is an essential buy – but do you really understand how it works? 

With so many different policies out there, it can be hard to know where to start. The better you understand what’s on offer, the easier it will be to find the right cover for your car. Work out whether you’re in need of basic coverage or a specialised policy for an unusual or vintage car and rest assured that you’re appropriately covered.

The basics: looking at insurance options

In the UK, your car must either have continuous insurance cover unless it has been registered as officially off the road. Luckily, fulfilling this legal requirement is relatively easy thanks to the many different options on offer from insurance companies. To get to grips with exactly what is expected from you when it comes to your car insurance, have a look at the vehicle insurance guidelines. Moneysupermarket has also created a useful article that can help you get to grips with car insurance laws and how they affect you.

There are three basic types of car insurance to choose from. The first is Third Party, which is the minimum amount of insurance you’re required to have by law and is designed to cover you if you accidentally damage someone else’s property. However, it doesn’t cover any damage that you might do to your own car.

Third Party, Fire and Theft adds to this basic cover by reimbursing you if your car is stolen or damaged by fire while Comprehensive insurance covers all of these as well as any accidental damage. The Association of British Insurers offer a more comprehensive guide to the various levels of motor insurance and what you can expect from each. Deciding how much cover you need for your car is the first step to understanding your motor insurance options.

Useful car insurance information 

Once you start looking at the various policies out there, you’ll find that you often have to give an insurance company a lot of personal details before they will offer you a quote. This is because vendors calculate your premium depending on a variety of factors, including the length of time you’ve been driving, the kind of car you own and even the area you live in.

They use this information to determine how much of a risk you are and then work out how much you need to pay to offset this risk. has a handy guide to risk calculation to help you get your head around the process. Before you start shopping around for a new policy, you may also want to read up on some common car insurance terms, this list from NFU Mutual will ensure you’re well prepared to understand all of the terms and phrases that might crop up when you’re negotiating your deal.


The contents of this article are for reference purposes only and do not constitute financial or legal advice. Independent financial or legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific matter. Articles are published by us without any knowledge or notice of the circumstances in which you or anyone else may use or rely on articles or any copy of the information, guidance or documents obtained from articles. We operate and publish articles without undertaking or accepting any duty of care or responsibility for articles or their contents, services or facilities. You undertake to rely on them entirely at your own risk, and without recourse to us. No assurance of the quality of articles is given or undertaken (whether as to accuracy, completeness, fitness for any purpose, conformance to any description or sample, or otherwise), or as to the timeliness of the publication.

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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23rd Jun 2016
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