What is comprehensive car insurance?

4 minutes

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Whether you’re an experienced driver or still donning those L plates, insuring your vehicle is part and parcel of the car-owning experience.

There are different types of insurance that cover all eventualities, one of which is comprehensive car insurance. You may have heard of it.

Read on to find out more about what comprehensive car insurance means, and what it covers you for.

What does comprehensive car insurance mean?

Having comprehensive car insurance means you won’t have to pay the full amount for repairs to your car and any third-party property if you’re involved in an accident. With comprehensive car insurance, you’re usually still able to claim back the cost of putting everything right – even if the accident is deemed to be your fault, or if you don’t know (or can’t determine) who caused the damage. You usually just have to pay the claims excess, which can vary from one policy to another (so it’s always good to check).

And that’s why being fully ‘comp’ – or to give it its full name, fully comprehensive car insurance – will save you money compared to other types of insurance if you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident, or have your car stolen.

It’s worth pointing out, though, while you can claim for the costs of repairing property and your car in the event of an accident, it doesn’t usually cover things like roadside assistance as standard, or any fees arising from a legal dispute.

What does comprehensive car insurance cover?

Comprehensive car insurance policies usually protect you from the full costs of:

  • Accidental damage to a car – yours or someone else’s
  • Personal injury or injury to other people involved in a car accident
  • Damage caused to other people’s property in an accident
  • Replacing or repairing personal belongings that are damaged or stolen
  • Windscreen repair

This is where it’s useful to compare comprehensive vs third-party car insurance. Fully ‘comp’ also covers your own repair costs, whereas third-party car insurance only covers the costs due to other drivers, and their vehicle or property.

Fully comprehensive car insurance and driving another vehicle

With fully comprehensive insurance, driving other cars was once the norm. It was a simpler time. As with most things, now it’s not quite so simple. Driving Other Cars (DOC) policies let you drive a vehicle that belongs to someone else, even though you aren’t a named driver on their policy. 

It’s really only for emergency use and wasn't intended to be used as a way to drive other cars on a regular basis. That's why some insurers no longer offer this cover. And those that do often provide only third party cover, so you’d still be out of pocket for the cost of repairing the vehicle you were driving and any medical costs as a result of any injury to yourself.

Can I drive any car with comprehensive insurance?

Your comprehensive car insurance policy may let you drive someone else’s car. But if you’re looking to drive a different car on a regular basis, you’d need to be listed as a named driver on that vehicle’s policy. 

Some policies cover more than one car within the same household – so you might be able to drive your partner’s vehicle if it’s held under that type of policy.

Check the wording of your insurance policy to see if it includes DOC cover. You’ll only be insured to drive the vehicles you’re licensed to use, regardless of what type of insurance you’ve taken out.

How do I find the best car insurance policy?

There are many different aspects to what makes for the best car insurance policy. 

For a start, there are different levels of cover to choose from:
- Fully comprehensive
- Third-party, fire and theft
- Third-party

It can be tempting to go for the least expensive policy but the cheapest comprehensive car insurance might not include everything you need.

Different insurers offer different benefits to their policyholders, which makes life easier in the event they need to make a claim. These can include a courtesy car or a contribution towards travel expenses.

Some drivers choose their provider based on its customer service – keeping you updated during the claims process, or how quickly they can settle a claim.

Flow is all about the flexibility and convenience of your cover. Everything you need is in our app, including the ability to easily edit details and add drivers. Rolling monthly cover features no interest charges, or admin or cancellation fees – just the peace of mind you need with some digital savvy. And if it's flexible, year-round cover you need, take control with Flow annual car insurance - customise your policy at the touch of a button, 24/7.

Get behind the wheel with the future of car insurance from Flow.