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19 November 2019

What Does Third Party, Fire and Theft Car Insurance Cover?

by James James

Third party, fire and theft car insurance (TPFT) is a policy that you can choose when insuring a car and it is typically thought to be the middle-ground between third party and comprehensive car insurance, as it provides more protection than third party but is cheaper than comprehensive.

TPFT is a step-up from third-party only insurance, which will only cover other vehicles or people involved in an accident that was your fault. Your car or medical bills are never covered with third-party only.

However, TPFT insurance doesn’t cover as much as comprehensive does.

What does third party, fire and theft cover?

If you have an accident and you were at fault, then TPFT insurance covers you for the following:

  • Damage to another person’s car
  • Damage to another person’s property, such as driving into their wall
  • Injury to a passenger in your car, or anyone in another car

The fire and theft part of the policy covers:

  • The event of your car being stolen
  • Damage made to the car that was the cause of an attempted theft
  • A car that is damaged or destroyed by a fire – regardless of whether the fire was an accident or started purposefully by a third party

TPFT insurance policies will often provide a temporary replacement car if your vehicle is destroyed by a fire or stolen and never recovered. If your car is damaged by a fire but is repairable, third party, fire and theft insurance will cover the price of repairs and cover any courtesy car loaned to you by the repairer whilst yours is being repaired.

It’s important to always thoroughly read your policy before taking out third party, fire and theft insurance. Sometimes, certain circumstances might affect your claim or there may be limits to what you claim for. Ensuring that you understand your policy fully can help avoid any potential disappointment or conflict in the future.

What doesn’t third party, fire and theft insurance cover?

There are some circumstances when TPFT insurance will not cover your claim. Scenarios where TPFT insurance will not cover you include:

  • If your car is damaged in a fire that is caused by a mechanical, electrical, electronic failure, breakdown or breakage
  • If your car is stolen but wasn’t secured properly to begin with
  • If you’ve had to pay any medical or legal costs for any personal injuries
  • If your car is damaged in an accident that was your fault
  • If you had an accident but were driving a different car to the one that’s on your policy
  • If your personal belongings are damaged or destroyed
  • If your windscreen needs repairing

When you take out your third party, fire and theft insurance, it may be the case that you add on extra levels of cover for protection in a wider range of scenarios, such as windscreen cover, personal accident insurance or gap insurance. Again, it’s worth reading your policy documents thoroughly to ensure you are clear on what is and isn’t included on your specific policy.

The difference between comprehensive and third party, fire and theft

The simplest way of explaining the difference between comprehensive and third party, fire and theft insurance is that comprehensive insurance means both you and your vehicle are covered in the event of an incident.

Whereas the ‘fire and theft’ part of TPFT insurance means that your policy will cover you if your car is stolen or involved in a fire, the ‘third party’ part will only cover damage to the vehicles of third parties.

Comprehensive cover means that if you are involved in an accident that you caused, damage to your car is also covered as opposed to only that of the third party (or third parties). Comprehensive insurance (a.k.a. fully comprehensive cover) is the highest level of protection you can get for your vehicle, and as such also includes the ‘fire and theft’ parts of TPFT.

Should I get third party, fire and theft insurance?

Many people choose third party, fire and theft insurance policies because it is considered a more affordable option to comprehensive cover. Basic third-party insurance is usually cheaper; however, some people upgrade to fire and theft because:

  • They may live in an area with a higher crime rate and are therefore more likely to experience a car theft or arson attack
  • It provides peace of mind that they will be covered in the event of damage to another car or person

Some people also choose third-party, fire and theft insurance rather than full comprehensive cover because:

  • Their car is cheap to repair, and spare parts are easy to get hold of
  • They are confident they can do the repairs themselves
  • Their car has a low market value and it wouldn’t be a huge financial loss if it was involved in a serious collision
  • They can afford to replace their car if necessary
  • Their car isn’t driven very often

In what situations may you need third party fire and theft insurance?

There are many situations where third party, fire and theft insurance will save you from forking out lots of money compared to third-party-only insurance.

If your car is involved in a fire, whether it was done on purpose or accidentally, third-party-only insurance will not cover you for this.

If your car is stolen or damaged in the process of an attempted theft, third party, fire and theft insurance will cover the costs whereas third-party-only policies will not.

It’s important to remember that if you’re involved in an accident that isn’t your fault, then you should not be covering any costs. This is down to the person at fault to cover, and their insurance provider should cover your repair costs, inconvenience and provide compensation for any injuries. This might seem like a daunting experience, which is why we have teamed up with Slater and Gordon. As our accident management experts, Slater and Gordon will ensure you receive everything you are entitled to.

To summarise, if you decide to take out a third party, fire and theft insurance policy then make sure you are 100% aware of what you are covered for and what you aren’t. Every insurance company has slightly different policies so it’s important that you are informed.

If you have any questions or want tailored car insurance, our experts are at hand to assist you. We provide great rates for third party, fire and theft insurance, check out our car insurance guide.