What does third party car insurance cover? - TPO Explained

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If you’re taking out car insurance for the first time, you are very young or have criminal convictions, you may be considering taking out third party insurance cover perhaps because you think it provides the cheapest type of cover for your circumstances.

But do you know what 3rd party insurance covers and is this really the best option for you?

To help answer these questions and more, below are answers to commonly asked questions about third party car insurance. 

Compare third party quotes against fully comp cover here:

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What is third party insurance?

Third-party insurance is the most basic level of car insurance cover you are legally obliged to take out to drive a vehicle on any public road in the UK. The ‘third party’ element of third party insurance means ‘another person’ and only they are covered by the insurance policy, not you.

What does third party insurance cover?

Third party insurance covers costs you could have to pay if you have an accident and cause damage to another person, their vehicle and/or their property, and it also covers losses sustained by passengers travelling in another person’s car or your own vehicle.

Third-party only (TPO) car insurance does not provide cover for:

  • damage to you
  • damage to your own vehicle
  • damage to your personal belongings
  • damage to your windscreen
  • your vehicle being on fire
  • your vehicle being stolen
  • driving someone else’s car

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Which is better third party only or fully comprehensive?

Fully comp is a much better policy than third party only insurance because not only does it provide comprehensive cover for the following, but it is also usually cheaper than third party insurance!

  • you, your vehicle and property
  • third parties, their vehicles and property
  • fire and theft of your vehicle

Third party only provides cover for ‘third parties’, so a driver and passengers of another car or passengers in your own car, but not you.

If you are a mechanic or know your way around an engine and can fix your own car and/or your car isn’t worth a great deal, it could be cheaper to take out third party insurance, but very often this is no longer the case, so always check fully comp quotes too.

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Why is comprehensive car insurance cheaper?

Comprehensive car insurance is generally cheaper because insurers have realised, after researching past car insurance data, that the majority of drivers who take out comprehensive insurance cover make fewer claims than drivers who take out third party insurance.

Drivers who know they will be expensive to insure because they are deemed ‘high risk’ (i.e. young drivers, new drivers or convicted drivers) will mistakenly take out third party insurance believing this to be the cheapest option for them.

Because so many of these types of high-risk drivers have done this for quite some time and many of them have gone on to make a claim on their policy, insurers reacted by increasing the cost of third party insurance and lowering the cost of fully comp as a way of rewarding more sensible drivers.

You might like: Fully comprehensive cover VS third party only insurance

How to get cheap car insurance

The best way to get cheap car insurance is to shop around online and compare quotes from a variety of insurance companies for all types of cover including third party, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive.

Other ways you could reduce your insurance costs are:

So, to sum up, third party insurance cover is not always the cheapest option and it doesn’t cover costly damage to you or your car. So when you compare car insurance quotes online, you should always compare quotes for all three types of insurance cover, namely third party only, third party, fire and theft, and fully comprehensive.

Compare quotes now by tapping the button below - alternatively, take a look at our related guides for further car insurance tips!

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