By Eamon Moran
When deciding what level of car insurance cover to choose, it’s important to make sure you first understand what each level of cover will provide you along with understanding what best suits your needs.
There are three levels of car insurance typically available in Ireland:
- Third Party Fire and Theft
- Third Party Only
The majority of users will choose either Comprehensive or Third Party, Fire and Theft insurance. Third Party only would usually apply in situations where an insurer is unable to offer any other level of cover on a particular risk.
Third Party, Fire and Theft provide you with legal cover to drive on the road and indemnifies you for any damage or injury you cause to a third party or a third parties property in the event of an incident or accident.
Comprehensive car insurance will cover all the above along with providing cover for the costs of any damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident.
1. When Should I Get Comprehensive Cover?
In most cases, Third Party, Fire and Theft will work out cheaper than Comprehensive cover. However, for peace of mind, you should always look at the additional covers included under the policy. Some Third Party, Fire and Theft cover will not include windscreen cover as standard. When added to a policy it can sometimes bring the Third Party, Fire and Theft cost up to the same as a Comprehensive policy. When this happens, it is typically better to choose Comprehensive cover for two main reasons:
- Replacing a windscreen is the most common claim that you are likely to encounter. Even for older vehicles, replacing a windscreen can be expensive starting at anywhere from €200 up to €1,000 for specialist windscreens.
- Along with having windscreen by choosing Comprehensive insurance, most insurance companies will also include a 24-hour breakdown service that may not have been included with Third Party, Fire and Theft. There are various benefits of having a breakdown assistance cover, so you get immediate help on road. For this, you will only need your registration & breakdown number.
2. When Should I Get Third Party, Fire and Theft Cover?
There are some scenarios where you aren’t going to get the full value of a Comprehensive policy and are better off getting Third Party, Fire and Theft cover:
- When the Car is Older and Less Valuable -
For example, if your car is valued at €1,000 and you have an excess of €250 on your policy, the most you can get for any claim is €750- that would be for a total loss of the vehicle. If you have minor damage done to a car valued at €1,000, the cost of the damage will typically not be greater than your excess, so you can’t claim.
- For First Time Drivers -
The difference in cost of Third Party, Fire and Theft and Third Party cover may be significant enough for you to choose the cheaper option. It’s important to remember that if you are at fault for an accident and your car is damaged that you will not be able to claim if you only have Third Party, Fire and Theft. If there is damage to your car and another party is at fault, it doesn’t matter what level of car insurance cover you have as it will be paid by the other driver’s insurance.