What is Third Party Car Insurance and Do I Need It?

Caeva O'Callaghan | May 4th, 2023

When you’re shopping around for car insurance, you’ll hear different terms like comprehensive, fire and theft, and third party only. But what is third party car insurance, and do you need it?

Third party car insurance is the minimum legal level of cover needed to drive a car in Ireland. It covers you if you damage someone else’s property or injure them while driving. It will also cover your passengers.

Basically speaking, third party car insurance covers anyone involved except you. It will help pay for the costs of repairing damage and mitigating injuries.

In this article, we’ll cover questions such as:

  • What is third party car insurance?
  • Do I need third party car insurance?
  • What happens if I hit another car and I have third party only car insurance?

Third party car insurance does exactly what it says on the tin. It’ll cover the third party, and the third party only. If you want to protect yourself and your own car, you’ll need to add extra cover to your policy.

About Third Party Only Car Insurance

Third party car insurance covers you if somebody else makes a claim against you. So, if you cause an accident or any damage to a person or other vehicle while driving, your third party cover will pay for ensuing costs.

Third party, or third party only car insurance, is the minimum level of car insurance you need to legally drive in Ireland and in the UK. This means that every driver on the road has, at a minimum, third party cover, and if they do not then they are committing an offence.

Buying third party only car insurance is ideal for drivers who can afford to pay repair costs for their own car without needing to claim on their insurance. The other party will be taken care of by the insurance claim, but you will need to pay for any damage to your car or costs arising from personal injuries yourself.

If you have an accident while driving the car that is listed on your policy, third-party insurance will cover you for:

  • Third party injury to a passenger or a person in another car
  • Damage to another person’s car
  • Damage to another person’s property, including driving into their wall

What does third party insurance not cover?

As third party car insurance is the minimum insurance cover you need to get on the road, it doesn’t actually cover all that much. As previously stated, third party cover is for the benefit of the other driver, not for yourself. Its purpose is to minimise the damage you may cause when you have an accident.

But if you cause damage to another person or their property while you’re driving, your car insurance provider may not pay out in some circumstances. For example, if you’re driving a car other to the one that’s on your policy. Third party insurance applies to the vehicle, not to the driver. So, you need to make sure you’re driving the car you mention in your policy documents.

Third party car insurance will not pay you for damage to your car in an accident. It also won’t pay for any medical or legal costs for your own injuries, including physiotherapy.

Third party car insurance also won’t pay out for:

  • Damage to your car if it’s stolen, damaged or destroyed by fire
  • Damage to your personal belongings
  • Your windscreen

Adding on extra cover

Depending on your policy provider, you might be able to add extra levels of cover like personal injury to your third-party policy. It’s worth reading the policy documents carefully to make sure you know what you will and won’t have cover for.

Third party, fire and theft cover offers the same level of protection as third party insurance, but with the added bonus of covering you in the case someone steals it or it catches on fire.

But third party, fire and theft won’t cover damage your car suffers during a traffic collision or an accident. If you want protection for yourself and your car, you’ll need comprehensive car insurance.

If you just need the basics, third party only is a cheaper insurance that will get you on the road. But it offers nowhere near the kind of cover that will give you total peace of mind.

Give us a call today with any of your car insurance questions?

If you need advice on the different types of car insurance available or if have any queries about an upcoming renewal, give us a call and we can help you out. We are available to talk anytime Mon-Fri between 8.30am and 5.30pm on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

If you need an instant car insurance quote, you can use our car insurance quote system which compares car insurance from 13 leading insurance providers in Ireland. We look forward to helping you today!

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.