Third party v fully comp

  • Fully comprehensive insurance cheaper than third party cover
  • Parker's quoted £102k for third party on comparison site
  • AA predicts end of the road for third party insurance

Fully comprehensive insurance policies are often cheaper than third-party policies, a Parker's investigation has revealed.

For many years drivers have sought to cut their premiums by trying to decrease their level of cover - seeking out third-party-only policies to cut costs.

However, our research has revealed that there is no value in going for anything other than fully comprehensive insurance. The premium will be no higher and will be, in some instances, much cheaper than third party fire and theft and third-party-only policies.

During a quote-gathering exercise we received a staggering £102,000 for a 50-year-old Parker's employee with eight years' no claims bonus wanting third party cover for a Mercedes-Benz E-Class 220 CDI worth £29,840. The quote from Insure came through the comparison site but Insure is not alone with the sky-high quotes. There were a number of other insurance companies quoting premiums around the £80-90k mark on's menu of insurers.

Parker's obtained quotes for a number of drivers using comparison sites Go Compare,, Parker's Compare and also from the AA. See attached table below for full results.

AA spokesperson Ian Crowder explained: "Insurance companies tend to find that people who want such policies are a higher risk profile - young or much older drivers or those with a bad driving history - and so when processing a policy and assessing the risk the insurance companies will take that fact into account. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if third-party insurance doesn't exist in three or four years' time."


So why are insurance companies giving sky-high quotes for third party cover?

For every £100 paid in UK insurance companies are currently paying out £120 in claims and although the actual number of accidents is falling in the UK, cars are becoming more and more expensive to fix.

Liability also plays a large part. If a driver puts his best friend in a wheelchair for life as a result of an accident, the resulting claim could be up to £20 million.

That means younger drivers are liable for higher premiums, and even more so when coupled with asking for third-party-only or third party fire and theft cover. The weak Pound against the Euro and the parlous state of the UK economy creates uncertainty so insurance companies are trying to reduce their risk by generating more income as a buffer.

How are the risk profiles calculated?
Malcolm Tarling, spokesman for the Association of British Insurers, explains: "It's a U-shaped graph. At either end of the scale we find the higher-risk drivers. They are the younger drivers, who are generally less experienced and can display what I like to call ‘youthful bravado' - and drivers over 70 who typically experience deterioration of reflexes and eyesight."

ABI studies have shown that people over 70 are 73% more likely to be killed or seriously injured than those aged 65-69. Plus, people over 80 who claim on insurance generally claim for 50% more.

In the middle of the U-curve are people aged 40-50, meaning those people are more likely to see lower premiums. For this reason, 40-50 year-olds are most likely to be able to get cheaper third-party fire and theft as they represent the lowest risk, but that does not explain why our 50-year-old received such a high quote.

When asked why the quote was so high, a spokesperson from Insure told us that, in general, insurance companies want any car worth over £5,000 insured on a fully comprehensive basis.

*The government's Transport Committee has agreed to hold an inquiry into the cost of motor insurance to determine the reasons for high premiums and what the effects have been on young drivers. The Committee's inquiry will also investigate the prevalence of road accidents, insurance fraud, legal costs and the number of uninsured drivers. The inquiry will be held in November and the results will be published in the new year.


Customer to insure Type of cover AA Confused  Direct Line      Go Compare  Parker's Compare
Male, 26, Honda Civic R-Type, £19,995, 5 years no claims, Journalist, 9 years driving, car parked in locked garage, living: Basingstoke


£1,982 £698 £865 £698 £742
T P No quote £817 No quote £774 No quote
T P F T No quote £728 No quote £783 No quote
Female, 24, Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 Club, £1,400, 4 years no claims, Admin assistant, 6 years driving, car parked on drive, living: Sheffield


£697 £490 £750 £497 £511
T P £860 £502 No quote £605 No quote
T P F T £549 £402 £690 £407 £416
Male, 50, Merc E-Class 220 CDI, £29,840, 8 years no claims, Production manager, 25 years driving, car parked on road, living: Peterborough


£460 £292 £261 £327 £287
T P £1,410 £433 £346 No quote No quote
T P F T No quote £432 £346 No quote No quote
Female, 51, Merc C240 Elegance, £1,500, 6 years no claims, Housewife, 25 years driving, car parked on drive, living: Milton keynes


£325 £206 £331 £215 £245
T P £603 £225 No quote £237 No quote
T P F T £372 £175 £305 £179 £188

Male, 44, MG ZT 1.8, £2,500, zero no claims, Editor, 25 years driving, car parked on road, living: London


£2,307 £1,104 No quote £1,088 £970
T P £12,690 £933 No quote £1,164 No quote
T P F T £2,920 £1,183 No quote £977 £852
Female, 35, Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX, £3,500, 2 years no claims, Cleaner, 15 years driving, car parked on drive, living: Glasgow


£563 £520 £876 £505 £520
T P £1,202 £534 No quote No quote No quote
T P F T £653 £396 £779 £410 £523

* F C = Fully comprehensive

T P = Third party

T P F T = Third party fire and theft