What is third-party, fire and theft?

When you’re applying for a car insurance quote, you will probably be presented with three choices for level of cover:

  • third-party only
  • third-party, fire and theft
  • comprehensive.

But what are the differences between them?

Third-party only

This is the basic level of car insurance cover required by law. In the event of an accident that is deemed to be your fault, it covers the cost of repairing the other person’s car or property, and medical expenses if he or she sustains an injury.

Third-party, fire and theft

This is the next level up. In addition to the third-party cover listed above, it also covers your own car in the event of theft, damage caused by attempted theft, and damage caused by fire.


This is the highest level of cover. Comprehensive insurance allows you to claim for damage to your own car in the event of an accident that is deemed to be your fault, as well as possibly some medical expenses for injuries you receive during the accident.

Is third-party, fire and theft right for me?

Here are the key points to consider:

  • If you’re involved in an accident that’s deemed to be the other person’s fault, then his or her insurance provider should pay for damage to your vehicle regardless of which level of insurance cover you have.
  • If you’re involved in an accident that’s deemed to be your fault, then your policy would cover damage to the other person’s car, and his or her medical expenses. But can you afford to foot the bill for repairs to your own car?
  • Many people opt for this level of cover for financial reasons. Less cover = less cost, right? Not necessarily. It’s worth requesting a quote for comprehensive cover from each insurer you contact, so you can compare the prices.
  • You can still add other drivers to your insurance policy if you wish – they would receive the same ‘third-party, fire and theft’ cover as you.
  • Windscreens are not covered under ‘third-party, fire and theft’ policies, although cover can usually be bought separately for a small cost/li>
  • Some insurers offer optional extras – such as breakdown cover – to this type of policy, so shop around for the insurer that will be able to meet your needs.

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