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Compare Northern Ireland third party, fire and theft insurance
Third party, fire and theft insurance is the middle ground between third party car insurance, which is the least comprehensive option and the minimum level required by law in Northern Ireland, and fully-comp, which is the most comprehensive level of cover available.
So if it’s the middle ground that means insurance premiums for third party, fire and theft must fall somewhere in the middle too, right? Costing more than third party but less than fully-comp?
That used to be the case, but nowadays it’s far from guaranteed.
Third party has traditionally been the level of cover favoured by younger drivers and other higher-risk motorists, but a significant number of those drivers have also opted for third party, fire and theft in the past. The end result is that the premiums for both third party and third party, fire and theft have been edging up in recent years as insurance companies began to offset the elevated risk those riskier drivers have represented.
In some cases that means fully-comprehensive car insurance in Northern Ireland can sometimes prove to be the cheapest NI car insurance option, even though it’s also the most comprehensive.
That’s why we always recommend that drivers do a price comparison for fully-comp insurance even if they’re planning to take out third party, fire and theft – and then plump for the policy that offers them the most comprehensive cover at the best price.
Third party, fire and theft – a no-nonsense guide
What does third party, fire and theft insurance actually cover?
The ‘third party’ aspect of this policy means your insurance provider should cover the cost of damage to a third party’s vehicle if you’re involved in an accident and you were at fault.
The ‘fire’ aspect means your insurer should pay out if your own car is damaged in a fire – this could be an arson attack or a building fire, for instance, but it’s worth pointing out that you usually won’t be covered if your engine catches fire due to a mechanical fault.
Finally, the ‘theft’ aspect should be fairly self-explanatory. If your car is stolen your insurance provider should cover the cost of replacing the vehicle at its current market value – provided it wasn’t stolen because of your own negligence, of course, such as if you left it unlocked or left the keys inside.
And what isn’t covered by third party, fire and theft?
The three biggest risks motorists in Northern Ireland won’t be covered against if they opt for this type of insurance are:
- Damage to your own car – you’ll have to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your own car yourself if it’s damaged or written off during an accident that you caused.
- Damage your car sustains during an accident with an uninsured driver – if you’re ever involved in an accident with an uninsured driver your insurer won’t cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle unless you have fully-comp.
- Personal injury – if you suffer personal injury during an accident that you caused you won’t be covered for medical treatment, physiotherapy or loss of earnings if you have third party, fire and theft insurance.
Why would third party, fire and theft ever cost more than fully-comp if it’s less comprehensive?
It might seem counterintuitive for third party, fire and theft to cost more than fully-comprehensive when it insures the driver against a much smaller range of risks, but insurance providers have been hiking their premiums for this level of cover in recent years (a process known as ‘premium loading’) and in some cases it can now cost quite a bit more than a fully-comprehensive insurance policy would cost.
The reason for that is that insurance claims data indicates that drivers with third party, fire and theft (as well as those with third party only cover) are more likely to claim on their insurance than a fully-comp driver, even though they’re insured against a smaller range of risks.
How can I find cheaper car insurance quotes?
Whether you decide to take out third party only, third party, fire and theft or fully-comprehensive insurance, there are a number of things you can do that might help to reduce your premiums.
Firstly, don’t accept your existing provider’s renewal quote – if you use CompareNI.com to compare policies from a wide range of providers each year you’ll usually be able to find a cheaper price.
Beyond that, the following steps could also help to cut the cost of your insurance:
- Opting for a car in a lower insurance group: This will probably only be possible if you’re planning to buy a car, but if you’re insuring a vehicle in a lower insurance group (groups 1, 2, 3 or 4, for instance) you should benefit from cheaper insurance.
- Making use of off-road parking: If you have access to off-road parking (a garage or private driveway, for instance) you could be offered cheaper insurance quotes.
- Installing additional security features: If your car doesn’t have an alarm or an engine immobiliser fitted you might be able to lower your premiums by installing these security features.
- Agreeing to a higher excess: While it needs to be weighed up against the amount you’ll have to fork out if you ever have to claim on your insurance, agreeing to a higher excess could reduce the upfront cost of your policy.
Can you drive other cars if you have third party, fire and theft insurance?
Some drivers that have taken out fully-comprehensive insurance will automatically be insured to driver other cars, but in most cases that policy feature won’t be included on a third party, fire and theft policy.
It’s also less common on fully-comp insurance policies than it used to be, so no matter what level of cover you opt for you should always check your policy documents before you get behind the wheel of someone else’s car.
*51% of consumers could save £490.26 on their Car Insurance. The saving was calculated by comparing the cheapest price found with the average of the next four cheapest prices quoted by insurance providers on Seopa Ltd’s insurance comparison website. This is based on representative cost savings from June 2023 data. The savings you could achieve are dependent on your individual circumstances and how you selected your current insurance supplier.