This is an interesting question that we are often asked so let us do our best to answer it to your satisfaction.
The first thing to say is that, here in the UK, it is a legal requirement that if you own a car and it is driven or even kept on the public road system and has not been declared SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification), then you must have it insured. That insurance cover must be for a minimum of third party.
This level of car insurance is the most basic of cover here in the UK with the other two types being third party, fire and theft and fully comprehensive. So what is covered under third party?
Well, the first thing to be aware of is that it only provides cover for damage to other vehicles and property should you be involved in an accident as well as injury or death to other people including any passengers in your car. It does not cover you for any damage to your own car nor any injury or death to yourself.
For example, should you be responsible for an accident and the other car is damaged and your car is written off, your insurance company will pay for the repairs to the other vehicle but will not pay anything for your car. Therefore, you need to ask yourself where the funds are going to come from if you want to get a new or second hand car for yourself. Do you have savings or will you need to borrow the money?
If you had fully comprehensive car insurance your policy would also have covered you for your car being written off and would have made a contribution towards the cost of a replacement car. As a general rule, although not always the case, you can expect to pay more for fully comprehensive cover.
We hope that the above has been helpful.