Everyone remembers the joy and relief they felt at hearing the words 'Congratulations, you've passed!' from their driving examiner. Sadly for motorists today this fleeting thrill soon gives way to the reality that you'll need to fund a car, petrol, road tax and insurance before you can get out on the road. With motoring costs spiraling out of control it is worth shopping around and carefully thinking about what type of cover you will need.
There are three types of car insurance: third party only, third party, fire and theft and fully comprehensive. Third party is the minimum legal level insurance that a motorist must have for their vehicle. It only covers damage to other people's vehicles and property and injuries sustained to those outside of your own car. Third party, fire and theft also covers your vehicle from being stolen (and possibly damage resulting from attempted theft) and any kind of fire damage.The third option is fully comprehensive. As the most popular option it is also the most expensive, but offers all of the features of the previous two, plus covers the cost of repairs to the owner's vehicle when involved in an accident. The insurer will pay out no matter which party is responsible.
The price of your premium will be significantly affected by your age (under 25's pay the most), how long you have held a driving license (a provisional is recognised), where you live, where you keep your vehicle overnight (keeping it garaged can reduce premiums by up to 10%) and what type of car it is. Brand new, expensive cars that are particularly attractive to thieves will raise the cost of a premium the most, whereas older car generally cost less to insure unless they are vintage.
Another key factor that affects the price of a premium is the driver's history. People with a clean driving license have lower premiums then those with points on their license or convictions for drink-driving. The 'no claims discount' is an incentive by insurance providers to reduce claims made by customers. Generally speaking, the longer you haven't made a claim the bigger the discount is on your premium. After five years no claims you can protect your bonus at an additional cost. The advantage of this is that if you then need to make a claim your five year bonus will remain intact.
With all of these factors in mind, your final decision on which type of cover to go for is going to be down to how much you are prepared to pay. Ideally, everyone would like fully comprehensive insurance, but if you are subject to unavoidable detrimental factors (such as age) that will increase your premium then you may weigh up the risk to cost ratio and take a cheaper option. Third party, fire and theft may be enough, particularly if you're driving an older car that will not cost much to repair. Luckily the internet and in particular the many comparison websites have made the search for a competitive car insurance policy significantly less daunting. There are also plenty of internet-only bargains to be found. Kwik Fit insurance for instance offer a 20% discount on their car insurance to online customers* so it's well worth a quick spot of online bargain hunting.
*Offer available at time of writing. Visit the Kwik fit Insurance website for further car insurance details.