Car insurance is a legal requirement for everyone within the UK. You cannot drive on the roads if you don’t hold a valid insurance policy. Remember, it is not just protecting you, it is there for the benefit of other road users too, if you were to have an accident with another vehicle your insurance is there to pay for the repair costs to the other persons vehicle.
Now, when talking insurance you will sometimes discover (when you read your policy booklet, you should always read these, they detail what you are and are not covered for), if you don’t understand some of the terms included visit an insurance glossary.
There are many different levels of cover, but all policies will cover you for “Third party” cover, which just means that it is covering anyone/thing that you hit with your vehicle. This is usually the cheapest of all the policies, and is recommended if you have a very old vehicle that would cost too much to repair, or you simply just buy a cheap vehicle to get you to work and back and would simply buy another in the event of an accident.
Next up from this is Third Party Fire and Theft, this is another basic cover but gives you the added benefit of being able to claim for your vehicle if stolen or if it is in a fire. Used again by people wanting to insure older vehicles or those with low value vehicles, young drivers and those without any No Claims Bonus.
No Claims Bonus is something you will not start off with when you first get your car insured. You will earn this per vehicle and it cannot be transferred between vehicles (unless you change the policy).
Finally, there are different levels within the three cover options. For example if you drive to work, but only drive to one office (and this office never changes) you will be using “social, domestic & pleasure including commuting” – however if you travel to different places of work, or carry anything work related (generally excluding paperwork, but best to check with your insurer) then you must have the business-use extension on the policy.
The most important thing to know about insurance, apart from the fact you must have some, is that if you are involved in an accident or claim and you have the incorrect insurance (i.e. just commuting and you needed business use) the insurer can refuse the claim – you may find that they will allow the claim providing you pay the additional premium to give you the cover you should have had, but you may find that they won’t, it is down to your insurer how they handle this situation. Always double check you have the cover you need.