Auto insurance in the UK

Can someone explain to this yankee boy how auto insurance in the UK works? Full coverage, just Liability. What’s the minimum?

You are legally required to have third party liability cover. Generally referred to as ‘third party’ insurance.
‘Fully comprehensive’ covers your own vehicle too. There is always a range of add-ons too, so you need to decide which of these extras you want to pay for.
There is also an intermediate level ‘third party fire & theft’ which in addition gives you a more limited level of cover for your own vehicle in addition to third party cover.

You will need to specify the vehicle you want to be covered. You may also get third party cover included for other vehicles, but read the small print.


Thanks Chris. So as an example if I was driving along in my fully insured car and someone smashed into me and they were uninsured my insurance would cover me but the other driver would be sued by my insurance company and probably fined and more?

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Some insurers offer protection of your no-claims bonus against uninsured drivers but not all do so again read the small print. What Chris says is right but most insurers only offer fully comprehensive cover now and if you can find the intermediate third party fire and theft cover there’s usually little difference in the price compared with full cover.
I lived in the US for a couple of years and was shocked at how much more car insurance cost over there compared with the UK.

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Thanks fellows trying to help a friend.

It’s a criminal offence to drive uninsured, the law would lead the process, not the insurance company, they just pay up.
The uninsured car is seized by the police & not released until it was ensured, it can end up being destroyed.
The driver will get a minimum fixed penalty of £300 & 6 penalty points (12 accumulated points means you loose your driving licence)
If it goes to court the driver could face an unlimited fine & loose their driving licence, plus court costs & compensation costs which don’t necessarily meet the actual damage.

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Thanks Mike, very helpful.

Some policies have additional cover to give you more protection against uninsured drivers. They also offer legal cover as an extra which covers your legal costs etc. if you have problems with an uninsured driver amongst other things.

Not sure what you are trying to help a friend with here opus, a bit more detail might help…

What you have just said is however both conceptually and practically not entirely correct.

If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you need to involve the MIB. If no other means of recompense is in place, it will pick up the tab.

If you had cover which obligated your own insurer to pay, they may, in theory, pursue the offending driver via a subrogated claim. This would be to recover the losses they had incurred in compensating you.

The concept of being fined is not one which involves an insurer-this, in UK-speak anyway, seems to refer to criminal proceedings.

Hope that helps!

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