Third party motor insurance is the minimum level of coverage needed to drive a vehicle on roads within the United Kingdom. Unless a motorist is operating a vehicle on private land only, it is a criminal offence to drive without insurance and those caught doing so can face penalty points on their driving license, fixed penalty fines or imprisonment.
Third party motor insurance has been in place since 1930 and effectively covers liability costs for bodily injury and property damage in the event of a road traffic accident. It will not cover any injuries sustained by the policyholder or any related damage to their vehicle. Realistically, third party cover is only recommended for those driving older vehicles with a low resale value. Motorists with new or nearly-new cars should always consider comprehensive cover as a first option.
There are actually a couple of little-known alternatives to third party motor insurance although these are not recommended. A driver can opt to post a bond against their name to the value of £500,000 and this figure was originally set in 1991. The bond covers the driver for bodily injury liability, property damage and any injuries sustained by passengers in their vehicle. Bonds must be posted with the Supreme Court Accountant General.
As an alternative, drivers can opt for Road Traffic Act insurance. Established in 1988, Road Traffic Act insurance is set at £1,000,000 which is actually lower than most levels set on third party policies. Although carriers rarely advertise this type of insurance for sale, it is perfectly legal to purchase this level of cover for driving in the UK.