What is comprehensive car insurance?

Published on 30 May 2024
Have you ever noticed there are different types of insurance with different names that cover different things? For example, you may have heard the term comprehensive car insurance. But what does it mean?

Let’s take a look at what we mean by comprehensive car insurance and what it covers.
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 include things like breakdown cover as standard, or any fees arising from a legal dispute.

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.

With fully comprehensive insurance, driving just about any car was once the norm. As with most things these days, now it’s not always quite so simple. Driving Other Cars (DOC) policies let you drive someone else’s vehicle, even when you’re not 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. Any that do often provide Third Party Only (TPO) 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.

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 from 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.

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 can make 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.

Now you know what comprehensive car insurance means, why not check out what you get with an Allianz Car Insurance policy? We're a digital insurer so you manage your policy yourself online, but we’re only a phone call away if you need to claim. You can trust us to keep things simple.

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